Sunday, April 22, 2007

Put Your Hands Together for 'Eco-Faith'

The looming threats to our natural world – global warming, resource depletion, etc. – demand a unified voice.

Perhaps a new religious ideology isn’t such a bad idea.

Enter ‘Eco-Faith,’ a green religion that “discusses different religions and their perspectives on the importance of the environment.”

Right now, there are various fellowships, groups and congregations attempting to unify “different people with different religious backgrounds to discuss the importance of the environment and what they can do to protect it.”

The idea is to take the values associated with environmentalism and sustainability and apply them to religious ideologies.

Eco-Faith is in the developing stages, but already you can find examples of a widespread movement gaining force.

Carleton University student, Kristina Mellway, established ‘Faith and the Common Good.’ The group explores how “faith can play a role in correcting the damage that a consumption based lifestyle has done to nature.”

Faith and the Common Good plans to bring together as many as 20 local faith communities – including Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh - to follow in the path of praying and caring for environmental wellbeing.

After all, religions have the power to shape social and political values.

Just look at the ‘Eco-Faith Worship Community,’ led by Reverend Dr. Jason John.

According to John, “many religions have adopted an extremely human-centered view of our relationship with the Earth.”

In contrast, John’s fellowship has adopted a 'bio-centric' approach: a belief that humans are stewards, not dominators, of the Earth. Following this approach, humanity is only one piece of this complicated puzzle called life.

And Reverend John doesn’t need to think up a religious holiday to honour this new found faith.

Eco-Faith has its own religious holiday: Earth Day. And, some groups are already using Earth Day to reaffirm “a commitment to protecting the environment.”

The fight against global warming will demand a unified voice and unified action. Perhaps Eco-Faith will be the common ideological thread which ties many different religions together in the spirit and pursuit of co-operation.

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