Religion

RELIGION:

Main stream religion for the most part has the following view, that is bible based.

  Genesis 1:26-28 (English-NIV) Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27.So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.


Alternative Religions and Beliefs are completely different.

      I really would rather not get into this, however since it is become a issue then we must address it.   What I have leaned and experienced by being in debate with some environmentalist reflects some of these beliefs.   Probably the most important underlying philosophy is that they believe in earth first and want to return the earth to the way it was before man set foot upon it.  They believe in the created above the creator and they want to do this at any cost and there are no alternatives that they will consider.   It is like they were in effect brainwashed into this position, there is no reasoning or common sense, just tight jaws and stare downs.   Most true working environmentalist will look at all sides of the issue and weigh the pro's and con's.   In some cased I have been successful in changing environmentalist position on breaching dams or removing dams for salmon restoration, when we address the pollution alternatives, global warming, and present then with the real facts about fish mortality and dams.  There are  allot of people that are believers in the " New Age Religion ", which has allot of these beliefs and is growing very fast and focuses on " Earth First " teachings and beliefs.


Is Environmentalism a Religion?


National Religious Partnership for the Environment


Columbia River Pastoral Letter



     Indigenous peoples had no word for " religion " because spirituality imbued every facet of their lives.  Similar , contemporary Pantheists don't confine religion to Sundays and certain holidays, but instead embrace the tenets of their religion as a way of life.  The famous Dutch Philospher Benedict Spioza and others have take Panteism to sophisticated heights, yet the essence of the religion remains straightforward and down to earth.  As a Native American Lakota elder put it:

"  The truth can only be held to  your heart; Nature is God.  That is very simple. We have know it from before time "

     With this primary belief as a springboard, PAN shares seven additional commonly help precepts, showing some of the ways Pantheism permeates and exhilarates our lives.  How many of these of the tenets resonate with your own?


Pantheist are one of the major growing groups that believe:


Many Pantheists believe in:

1The Sacredness of the Earth.

     The work " religion " comes from the Latin " religare " which means " to bind together. "  Pantheism creates a quintessential religious bond between Nature and humanity,  With god immanent in Nature, the Earth is sacred and the Universe divine.  The sacredness evokes a reverence for creation.  Pantheism restores a radiant sense of the sacred to everyday life.


     Given the sacredness of the Earth, our church is all outdoors!  Communion with Nature brings us in touch with divinity.  Union with the divine links us to the source of our being and brings serenity to our lives. The Earth’s natural beauty further couples us to divinity. As John Muir observed, "No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty." The loveliness of wildflowers, the majesty of mountains, the delicacy of butterflies, the allure of seashores, and the artistry of snowflakes gladdens our hearts and elevates our spirits.
 

2. The Oneness of Nature.

     Pantheists perceive the wholeness of  Life, the unity of body and mind, the singularity of visible matter and invisible energy. Nature’s creative force, embodied in evolutionary processes, affirms our oneness with everything in existence. We arose from star dust, as basic elements of the Universe--carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen--combined in a primordial sea to form living matter. We retain a proportion of salts in our body that resembles seawater, reminding us of our intimate connection to the Earth.

    The science of Ecology underscores the oneness of Nature, revealing myriad interdependencies between life forms and their environments.  This is the way the world works; ecology provides us with the closest approximation of reality that we can hope to obtain.


3.  The Pantheization of Life

     Pantheism adds meaning and joy to virtually every facet of our lives. A profound relationship with Nature simultaneously takes us deeper into ourselves and further outside ourselves. Inwardly, we gain a sense of personal identity and self-understanding by viewing ourselves as a part of Nature. Outwardly, we gain a sense of responsibility and selflessness by caring for creation. From a pantheistic perspective, communion with Nature and warm human relations are ultimate sources of happiness--family and friends, simple pleasures and Nature’s treasures--these things bring  us the best of life.

     Each minute of life is an unrepeatable miracle. Pantheists live in the present moment, immersed in the world, as fully, as consciously, and as imaginatively as possible. Everyday wonders --a bee’s sweet honey, a friend's warm smile, a rainbow's iridescent colors--heighten our happiness. We glory in Nature, and joyful amazement fills our days. From the vagaries of sub-atomic particles to the vastness of space, we stand slack-jawed before a universe filled with unfathomable mystery. Science reveals objective facts, but many questions science cannot answer. Non-rational modes of thinking, intuition, and imagination help us, as William Blake expressed it, "...to hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour."

4. Mother Earth and Gaia Visualizations

     The Earth is our mother in a very real sense; she bore us through evolution and she sustains us with air, water, plants and animals. Extending the metaphor, we strive to be good offspring, showing her honor, respect, and gratitude. And as children of the Earth, we feel at home in the world. Other forms of life are also progeny of the Earth. We have a kinship with all living things. We marvel at fellow creatures and admire how they adapt to their environments. With plant and animal ‘relatives,’ all around us, we find the world full of fascinating companionship.

     Indigenous peoples have long held that the Earth is alive. Today’s Gaia Hypothesis affirms that the Earth carries on self-regulating processes as a lifelike entity. To visualize the Earth as an animated organism fosters protective feelings for our surroundings; rather than dealing with ‘dead’ matter, we are interacting with a living world.  Such primordial wisdom has deep roots.  As a species, we have spent 99 percent of our time as hunters and gatherers. To feel relaxed and healthy often entails simply attuning our behavior to the way a hundred million years of evolution has equipped us to behave. We surround ourselves with warm air, green plants, and animal companions, mimicking the tropical savanna from which we evolved. We have a biological need for the sights and sounds of Nature. By spending more time outdoors and by learning about the native plants, wildlife, and natural cycles in close by areas, we can restore a "sense of place" to our lives. We can also glean insight from our forebears sacramental approach to Nature and their perception of dependency upon the Earth.

5.  Ecological and Social Consciousness

     The findings of ecology lift ecological consciousness to a paramount position. We try to "examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right as well as what is economically expedient," as Aldo Leopold phrased it. "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Everything, from figworts to flamingos, has intrinsic value and a right to exist, whether or not it has utility to humans. We advance a biocentric or life-centered outlook, rather than an anthropocentric or man-centered view. The world doesn't belong to Man; we share the planet with millions of species. And we have a responsibility, because of our power, to care for the welfare of other life, as well as for our own.

     Human problems such as poverty, malnourishment, labor exploitation, and religious intolerance command our attention. Ultimately, ecological problems reflect human problems, for example, locating environmentally hazardous factories in low income minority communities endangers human health. We support human values over machine values, fairer distribution of resources, respect for different cultures and religions, and the protection of remaining tribal peoples.

6. Working to Protect the Planet

     Pantheists strive to educate others to appreciate and respect the natural processes that sustain life. Volunteering in conservation organizations, writing letters, and supporting vital ecological causes allows us to give back something to the Earth for all that the Earth gives to us. As Edward Abbey observed, " It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it."

     We aim to reduce our impact on the Earth, realizing the connection between resource consumption and environmental decline. Simplicity, frugality, recycling, conserving water and energy, in these ways we can help make the world a better place. "Be the change that you want to see in the world!" (Gandhi) A spark of divinity lies within us and we need to do our best to keep it aglow. Life is motion. To stay physically strong and mentally alert requires daily exercise, which can be done without harming the environment. Good food fortifies both body and mind. We help Nature and ourselves by eating lower on the food chain and by purchasing pesticide-free organically grown items when possible.
 

7. Placing Ultimate Trust in Nature

     Civilizations come and go, but Nature abides. The sun rises, the seasons flow; Nature works. Nothing in human society is so dependable. Nature’s steadfast rhythms foster hope with the promise of each new day. We believe in Nature.

     "Faith in wildness, or in Nature as a creative force," observed writer Joseph Wood Krutch,  "puts our ultimate trust, not in human intelligence, but in whatever it is that created human intelligence, and is, in the long run, more likely than we to solve our problems." By aligning ourselves with Nature, by having faith and trust in its creative forces, we join hands with infinite power and find our greatest peace.

Pantheist Net

     
Pantheist Net was founded to provide a coalition, bringing groups dedicated  to Pantheist  life-ways and philosophy together with individuals practicing or exploring pantheism.  Our goal is to provide Pantheism with a unified worldwide presence -- bringing Pantheists of all varieties together to share in our commonality while providing a continually growing source of information.


A portion of an article " Battle for Sustainable Freedom "     April 29 1996, The New American.  In her address to the conference, Representative Helen Chenoweth pointed out that the concept of "sustainable development" is inspired by a religious worldview -- "a cloudy mixture of earth worship, pagan mysticism, and folklore.  " That worldview was endorsed by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt during a November 21st address to the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, in which he condemned traditional Christianity and exalted pagan nature worship as the basis for a new social "covenant." Chenoweth noted that Babbitt "really believes nature and the natural landscape are literally holy and that anything we do on the landscape is sacrilegious -- that we're disturbing his temple."

Babbitt is not unique in his devotion to eco-paganism. Vice President Al Gore's soporific opus Earth in the Balance dismisses Christianity and other monotheistic religions as inadequate for the needs of contemporary society and urges the enshrinement of a "pan- religious perspective" as the basis of a world spiritual tradition. Furthermore, the UN Environmental Programme's Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), a 1,140-page document which provides the theoretical and conceptual basis for the world body's environmental agenda, maintains that sustainable development will require the abolition of biblical civilization and the adoption of the values of pre-Christian pagan societies.

In a chapter entitled "The Economic Value of Biodiversity," the GBA describes the pre- Christian world as a primitive utopia in which people perceived themselves to belong to "a community of beings -- living and non-living" joined in "relationships with other community members, be they trees, birds, or mountain peaks...." Inhabitants of such societies often worshiped "certain species as sacred, with elaborate myths and folk tales about how humans originated from such species, or how such species are incarnations of, or in some way associated with, gods and deities, or how they have magical powers."

The triumph of biblical monotheism led to the emergence of "a new worldview, and a new value system":

This perspective, especially as elaborated in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, set humans not as part of a wider community of beings, but apart.... Societies dominated by Islam, and especially by Christianity, have gone the farthest in setting humans apart from nature and in embracing a value system that has converted the world into a warehouse of commodities for human enjoyment.

 


Theologians turns to faith to save salmon,  Sept 11, 1999, Tri Cities Herald.

In the mountains of rhetoric about the lower Snake River dams, Catholic theologian John Hart is seeking uncommon answers.

"If we think creatively - if we get beyond looking at one or two possible alternatives -then maybe we can meet the needs of both my farm neighbors and my fish neighbors," said Hart, visiting the Tri-Cities from Helena, Mont.

Searching for religious answers to physical problems, Northwest Lutherans - and a sprinkling of Catholics, Episcopalians and other peoples of faith -assembled at Richland Lutheran Church on Saturday for moral reckoning about fish death on the Columbia River.

"We are a place for elevating the discussion to a higher ground, a moral ground," said David Leslie, executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon in Portland.

About 70 pastors and lay people tried to move away from regional battle lines while the U.S. government nears the end of studies about removing the four lower Snake dams to let more fish reach spawning streams.

"It helps us all move back a step or two from the day-to-day struggle and ... acknowledge each others' needs as human beings," said Glen Spain of Eugene, regional director of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "The church has a very important mediator role to play."

Russell Shjerven of Toppenish said it's about time that the church step up the challenge, which Catholics and Lutherans have now formally addressed. "I think churches need to be more decisive," he said. "Can you imagine Christ as a morally neutral person?"

Norene Goplen, with Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Oregon, said the church is trying to lead where relatively few in the region seem ready to follow -into an no-holds-barred discussion about what's right for the Columbia River basin and its people.

"It is only through exploring this together that we can find justice in society," said Goplen. "People in the pews reflect every one of these issues, so we seek a way to find a direction together."

That, Lutheran leaders hope, will spur some kind of creative solution to the salmon crisis.

"When you listen to somebody eyeball to eyeball, you might give a little," Leslie said. "These kinds of days give us a chance to come a little bit closer to the truth."

By the end of the session, many participants weren't willing to accept a solution that killed fish or farmers.

"There is a third way," said Lutheran pastor Matt Goodrich of Endicott, a small Palouse farm town, who came to defend farmers. "There has to be."

Hart encouraged the faithful to look for ways fish could be saved, farmers could be repaid for their lost land and workers could get jobs in new industries that will enter the region as the dams go down. "We can all pay for some of the negative impacts so people are not at a disadvantage because they are in agriculture," he said.

Farmers stand to lose more than 30,000 acres of irrigated land in Franklin and Walla Walla counties if the Snake dams are breached. They will also pay more - some almost double current rates - to ship wheat to Portland. Goodrich fears that will drive good farm families under. "Without an agricultural base, there is no country that can stand," he said.

But the rivers must survive too, said Hart. "If we destroy the environment in which we live, we can't live off it," he said.


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