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Nature_and_Environment.42

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Ecology and Spiritualilty

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.1}: ... {wren1111} Wed, 02 Mar 2005 14:27:27 CST (HTML)

New group addresses our ecology

"http://www.vanderbilthustler.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/03/02/42254 bc87e16a"

A new faculty-based research group has been created to address environmental and spiritual issues surrounding not only the Vanderbilt community and Nashville, but the world. The group, called the Ecology and Spirituality Research Group, is a part of the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, one of Vanderbilt's Interdisciplinary Research Centers.

According to Co-Director David Wood, "We are committed to understanding the full extent of the global environmental situation, what are the priorities for change, how to help people appreciate both the scale and urgency of the problem, and what they can do about it."

A cornerstone of the group's philosophy is the relationship between ecology and spirituality, a relationship that is neither obvious nor often talked about, but still very important.

The group finds many resources in the Christian tradition, as well as core American values, that may help steer people "in a greener direction," says Wood.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.2}: full text of article above {wren1111} Wed, 02 Mar 2005 14:27:50 CST (90 lines)
{hidden}

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.3}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:05:56 CST (6 lines)

When I first heard that some of the fundamentalist groups (Christian)
were going "green" I was amazed. Aren't they usually the ones who
think we're all going to meet our maker so soon that the Earth
doesn't really matter any more? Or some such drivel. So this is
fascinating. I wonder if the Republicans will now admit that global
warming is actually happening.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.4}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 10 Mar 2006 19:07:22 CST (HTML)

Probably not, they'll treat these folks as traitors to the cause, which is their standard MO.

There are actually a lot of Republicans who agree global warming is happening, just not the major politicians in their party.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.5}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Fri, 10 Mar 2006 20:54:56 CST (1 line)

So these religious groups are apostates to the right-wing or what?

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.6}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 10 Mar 2006 21:24:07 CST (HTML)

There have always been fundamentalist groups who aren't as political and who have been under the radar because of that. But many of them firmly believe this is God's Earth and they ought to treat it with respect and not exploit it.

Remember, conflating religious fundamentalism with right wing political agendas is not always accurate. You cannot automatically claim that anyone who considers themselves a religious fundamentalist (not necessarily evangelicals who I think are more likely to be political) is a follower of right wing political (especially corporatist) ideology.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.7}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Fri, 10 Mar 2006 23:03:03 CST (2 lines)

That may be true, but I've never known one who wasn't. That's why
these suddenly 'green' Christians seem such an anomaly.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.8}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Sat, 11 Mar 2006 00:33:04 CST (HTML)

They are certainly in the minority among fundamentalists but remember that not all the people identified as "green Christians" are fundamentalists. Groups like the more mainstream Lutheran and Methodist synods and the UCC (Congregationalists) have had large green and liberal constituencies and churches for decades.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.9}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sat, 11 Mar 2006 08:33:48 CST (17 lines)

It makes a lot of sense for Christians to be environmentalists, even
as fundamentalists.

The notion of "rapture" is not actually a fundamentalist movement,
but started as a cultish interpretation of a few phrases in the
mystical books of the New Testament.

Most fundamentalists rely more on the writings of Paul and the
apostles than of the mystical books like Revelations.

The attitude that there is only ONE planet that God has blessed with
life, human life, and spiritual human life, is far more compelling
than the fantasy of rapture.

Those Christians that rely on scripture for guidance, derive an
obligation to husband the earth (to care for it intentionally), not
to dominate it (a prior interpretation/misinterpretation).

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.10}: Nancy Davison {nmdavison} Sat, 11 Mar 2006 11:57:54 CST (2 lines)

So is this a fairly new trend, an "awakening" on their part, or has
it just been buried beneath all the fundy ranting and raving?

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.11}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sat, 11 Mar 2006 12:53:15 CST (31 lines)

The conspicuous "fundies" are a small portion of the fundamentalists.
They are often regarded as distractions from the Bible and from
spirituality.

Even politically, the right has had a difficult time getting grass-
roots fundamentalists to be loyal enough to be interested in politics
at all.

The button issues are not as buttony as the left perceives. MANY
Christians regard the Christian message to be one of forgiveness,
while the prohibitions against homosexuality for example are mostly
in the Old Testament.

Many of the prominent environmentalists have been self-identified
Christian, as many of the civil rights movement were Christian, and
the anti-war movements.

I like that the movement is expanding, and on the ground, not so much
in the media. It confuses it for many on the left, as they must then
rethink their reactions to the people.

It is unlikely that the neo-fundie loudmouths and opportunists will
adopt it, as there is not a lot of money, fame, nor self-
advertisement in environmentalist concerns.

It is new that many are getting involved in the hot-button issues
(global warming in particular).

I personally am not enamored of the issue myself. I think it is
partially a hopeless distraction from the responsibility to care for
what one can effect.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.12}: Lihidheb Mohsen {boughmiga} Wed, 22 Mar 2006 15:28:35 CST (4 lines)

The fundamentalist are all the same everywhere. They prefer to see
people interested in the afterlife.
Why dont they go to heaven leting the earth klean and safe for future
generations.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.13}: Richard Witty {gisland} Wed, 22 Mar 2006 17:56:29 CST (3 lines)

Those that regard life as sacred don't harm the earth.

Only those that have abstracted themselves from life do.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.14}: Tonu Aun {tonu} Wed, 22 Mar 2006 23:28:47 CST (HTML)

Noble thought Richard but never does it work that way -- the noble savage sounds benign but there never was a *noble savage*.. the evidence from everywhere man has trod is a litany of extinction and altered ecology ... some actions appear less intrusive but even domesticated honeybees change the earth.

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{Nature_and_Environment.42.15}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 23 Mar 2006 07:29:52 CST (19 lines)

It takes a holistic view, respect for others, and respect for the
whole, to design and then live in an actually sustainable way.

Those that assert that it is permanently relevant to do so, whether
from religious perspective that this is the unique creation, or from
reasoning only, or from deep intimacy, make that happen.

Those that pursue their own goals without harming others, are likely
to live in a sustainable way only if the laws and norms favor
sustainability, requiring good law and/or widely held social norms.
(Again if the 30% of the population that attends religious services
regularly, are urged to love the earth tangibly, and they do, that is
real.)

Those that pursue their own goals willing to harm others, are then
criminals, and held accountable.

It doesn't happen when sustainability is solely a self-righteous
movement. It happens when sustainability is the norm.

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