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

Friday, 23 September 2011

Judaism and Creation

So now we come to the Judaism views on God's creation:

Jews believe that the entire universe is the work of the Creator, and therefore to love God must mean to love everything He has created, including the inanimate, plants, animals and man. This core belief is behind the Jewish attitude to environmental issues. They also believe that nature in all its beauty has been created for man, and it is, therefore, wrong for man to spoil it. Moreover, man’s connection to nature can restore him to his original character, to a natural state of happiness and joy.
In the current environmental crisis, Jewish values and laws are seen to be paramount. ‘If the proper course is followed, man will not forfeit his opportunity to live a life of comfort in his environment, nor will the environment be uncomfortable with man.’
Judaism teaches that it is wrong to over exploit the earth’s resources, or behave in such a way as to destroy any species, since all have been created for some purpose. Jews understand the vital importance of preserving the natural balance of creation.

So in the three great Abrahamic religions we see a common theme as regards their relationship with the environment, in the need to preserve it; although the Jewish teaching seems a little more materialistic and dare I say a little egocentric when compared with the Christian ideal? Is that fair comment I wonder? Although I do like the way the writer here quoted has expressed the relationship between man and the environment as symbiotic. It truly is, and the sooner man really and deeply realizes this truth the better it will be for this mother earth that we ravage and wound so deeply in so many ways.Note also the expressed need to love the inanimate as well as the animate amongst God's creations, meaning I guess the mountains, the streams and the oceans. They are inextricably linked of course with the animate life around and within them. And I certainly agree with the idea that nature is restorative and healing. I'm sure many of us can relate to that and I've written quite a bit more about that in my book.

Professor Nahum Rakover, an Orthodox legalist and Torah/Talmud scholar, was appointed by the World Jewish Congress to write a very extensive and comprehensive statement on ecology in Judaism for Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment 2003, Palmer, Martin with Victoria Finlay, from which the above information and short extract have been taken.

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