My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

God's Creation and the world's faiths

All the world’s faiths share a concern for Creation. Whether or not we believe that our world is God’s Creation, it is instructive to look at the beliefs of some of the main faiths regarding our relationship with the environment. We should be aware of the substantial work they are all doing, often in collaboration or cooperation with others, towards ensuring the earth’s future protection. In an age when we so often seem to focus on differences between our faiths, and when we are urged to celebrate these differences, it is I think instructive to remember first just how much we all share in common. Our similar views on Creation are a very good case in point.

First a story, taken from Palmer, Martin with Victoria Finlay, Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment, The World Bank Washington DC 2003, p. 3.:
The Tanzanian island of Misali on the East African coast is an important nesting site for turtles and has wonderful corals reefs to support the fish population. The local fishermen were unwittingly beginning to destroy this ecosystem by the indiscriminate use of dynamite to literally blow their fishing catch out of the water. This made their fishing so much easier, and the catch so much more certain. But of course this was not only killing young fish that were too small to catch, and would have escaped through more traditional nets. It was also destroying the coral habitat on which the fish population depends. In the long term this would seriously threaten the livelihood of the fishing community. Attempts to educate the fishermen through leaflets had no effect, and neither did the imposition of a law banning this method of fishing. The law was simply flouted, a sadly common human reaction. Scientists even suggested that there should be armed patrols to apprehend the culprits to put an end to this devastation of their environment. But by appealing to the Muslim faith of the majority involved, through the community sheik leaders, the fishermen were persuaded that what they were doing was wrong, that dynamite fishing is illegal according to the laws of Islam. In particular the Qur’an teaches ‘O children of Adam! and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters.’(The Qur’an 007.031).

Over the next few postings I shall write more about the different great faiths of the world and how they each view their place and role within Creation and their responsibility to the environment.

The pictures were taken in Madeira. A beautiful island.

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