Can We Save The World Without Religion?

I came across this post by one of my favourite bloggers, John Beckett, today discussing things we value. He has recently been writing posts about developing a sacred relationship with nature and writes the following:

“There are practical reasons why we should live sustainably and respect other species and ecosystems, but no intellectual argument is strong enough to override the basic evolutionary instinct to do what’s easiest and most satisfying for me and mine, here and now. Overriding that instinct requires valuing what we preserve more than what we exploit, and developing that requires a relationship with what we would value.

This is not an intellectual matter, it is a religious matter. Only by developing a sacred relationship with Nature will we find the inspiration to change the way we live and build a society that is both compassionate for the present and sustainable for the future.”

I think he speaks a lot of truth. If we are going to really live in harmony with the world around us then it requires deep and major change in our lifestyles. Most people will do small things to help the environment, but few will make the necessary sacrifices just because they are told they need to. If there’s one thing the last decade of religious fundamentalism has taught us, its how vital it is to win the hearts and minds of people. Intellect is not enough – the heart must be involved too. And that’s what religion does. When we truly see Nature as something sacred, deep within our very being, only then will we truly be able to override the instinct for ease and make the sacrifices necessary for a life in harmony with the earth. Religion doesn’t have to mean a belief in god, but it does have to mean that we see some things as more important, more sacred, than ourselves and our own self interest. When we develop a sacred relationship with Nature, then we will have the motivation, the inspiration that will save our land. When everyone has it, we will save the earth!



4 thoughts on “Can We Save The World Without Religion?

  1. I’m not sure if I agree or disagree – it’s something I’ve been trying to untangle in my mind over the past week – but this does make a lot of sense. Well said.

  2. Many religions incorporate respect for environmental action within them, for instance the argument that humanity is given the role of looking after creation.

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