Religions are ancient social institutions, designed to perform several tasks at once. One of the main goals is the formation of the worldview and behavior of people, which determines the belief in the existence of some supernatural force. There are four types of ancient religions that have existed for many centuries: totemism, shamanism, fetishism, animism. However, as a result of the evolution of religion, monotheistic and polytheistic beliefs are now the most relevant. It is necessary to analyze some of the most common religions in order to identify their role in the life of society.
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In Buddhism, there are many thoughts about ecology that deserve attention. Buddhism is a religion that deeply respects life and nature. This idea has developed and has been widely practiced since the creation of the teaching through its dogmas and vows. From the point of view of Buddhism, the world is divided into two types: units that reflect emotions and are deprived of them. People and animals belong to emotional units, and plants, space, mountains, planets – to units without emotion (Analayo, 2018). In Buddhism, the presence of six kinds of living beings is emphasized: gods, warlike rivals of the gods, people, animals, prets – eternally hungry creatures and inhabitants of hell (Analayo, 2018). It is obvious that Buddhism is categorically against the deprivation of anyone’s life, it is impossible to kill not only a person, but also the emotional units of the other five worlds.
The Muslim concept of nature and man is sacred, for both man and nature are the great sacred creations of God. In Islam, a person is responsible before God for the preservation of the purity and beauty of nature (Graham, 2017). If the harmony in the attitude of people to nature is violated, an environmental threat arises. Nature is defenseless against the soulless and careless activities of people. The sinfulness of private ownership of natural resources is fixed in Sharia law. Prophet Muhammad said that water, pasture and salt are common. The Qur’an states that God created the heavens, the earth, and animals so that they would benefit people (Graham, 2017). For a Muslim, everything related to nature has both moral and moral significance (Graham, 2017). The centuries-old history of our ancestors testifies to their reverent attitude towards their environment. Muslim law condemns owners who, for whatever reason, do not cultivate their land and at the same time do not concede it to anyone.
One of the main principles of the position of Christian churches in environmental issues is the principle of the unity and integrity of the world created by God. Christianity does not consider the surrounding nature in isolation, the plant, animal and human world are mutually connected. But there is a fairly powerful wave of criticism of Christianity precisely from an ecological standpoint. Christianity is accused of the fact that the civilization it created turned out to be the most cruel and the people of the Christian civilization, unjustly in relation to nature, was exalted by themselves. (Graham, 2017) The assertion that only Christianity is to blame for the ecological collapse is not entirely true, since many reasons have influenced the ecological situation. The Christian Church as a social organization cannot remain aloof from the problem that worries modern society (Graham, 2017). Each of the Christian denominations has developed its own social position, its own view of the modern environmental problem. However, it is worth emphasizing that prior to modern Christianity did not pay much attention to environmental issues.
One of the most important functions of religions is spiritual ecology, aimed at fostering a respectful attitude towards nature. This example shows that beliefs encourage people to value and respect not only God or themselves, but the whole world. It is important to emphasize that ecology is only one of many aspects affected by religion. However, this social institution has a positive impact on the relationship between a person and nature in a narrow sense, and in a broad sense, on the education of the individual as a whole.
Analayo, B. (2018). Rebirth in early Buddhism and current research. Wisdom Publications.
Graham, W. A. (2017). Islamic and comparative religious studies. Selected writings. Taylor & Francis.
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