Environment vs Religion
There is a difficult truth we must face as environmentalists. That is that religiosity -- the extent to which a society holds strong religious feelings or beliefs -- is intrinsically incompatible with a sustainable civilization.
There are several reasons for this. The underlying precepts of many religions involve exploiting nature for humanity’s purposes. There is a strong tendency towards anthropocentrism where the interests of humankind are paramount and we are given the right to exploit animals and plants for our advancement. Another factor is the representation common among almost all religions that death is but a doorway to another world. That is to say, it is the next life that really matters. Therefore taking care of our natural world as if it is all we have (all that we will ever have) takes a back seat to the considerations of the forever after.
Christians have long ignored animal suffering. Strong adherents have few if any moral obligations towards animals. This has been tempered somewhat in modern times but this is arguably due to the influence of secularism and the enlightenment along with cultural pressures brought along as a result.
Another consideration is that it is taught animals have no souls whereas people do. Therefore, there are no durable consequences to their mistreatment. They are simply interior.
Another factor is the emphasis on awaiting the End Times. Armageddon will bring along the death of this world anyway with sinners to be punished and the righteous to be saved. This will be the end of everything terrestrial. So how much difference can the well-being of our biosphere truly make? Protecting and preserving biodiversity how can this matter if the clock is running down inexorably to our imminent judgement Day.
Without reason, without an emphasis on science and the assumption that the fundamental integrity of this world is what matters, we may well be doomed to the extent to which religion dominates our decision making and government policies.
Science tells us that animals are sentient. Though debate continues, it seems there is a relationship with intelligence, consciousness and the potential for suffering. In the most heart-wrenching of ways, we know that chickens, cows, pigs, goats and so forth are capable of immense suffering, yet this doesn’t stop us from inflicting said torment to billions every year. Yet many of us disregard this. Why? Out of sight out of mind? It is all too easy to ignore.
Imagine that the ‘Creator’, however you may define IT, had said do not afflict unnecessary suffering on your fellow creators. That would have made a world of difference. Yet, this is not to be found in any holy text/revelation supposedly offered by the divine. If anything, carte blanche is given; do what you will, as long as it serves your purposes.
Is this the disposition of a God that condones destruction and suffering? Or simply one that doesn’t care? In any case, those that in their heart of hearts truly believe, can be no friend to the environmental movement.
Those that follow the religious precepts we've discussed, stand opposed to reason, science, sustainability and, by extension, a viable future for mankind. They must be dispossessed from any position of power and influence. And there's no time to lose.
A friendly reminder: the views expressed are solely those of the author.