There are two questions here which are imporrtant
1. Are the religious traditions practiced by the vast majority
of human kind in their current forms able to recognize the change
in the dramatic nature of life conditions we are in? Are they
in a condition to be ready, able and willing to respond to them?
Most of the monotheistic religions were formed when the world
population was 1/2 billion or less. The religions formed in tribal
communities or Early Empires were responding to social and Human
scenarios vastly different to the societal and ecological milieu
we exist in today I believe that Religious traditions are not
focused and not able to recognize the crisis as it is. They weren't
designed for this crisis.
There is however within all esoteric and mystic knowledge found
in the Great religions and Great Spiritual paths resources essential
for dealing with human crisis in terms of insight and activity.
2. What are the spiritual, ethical and consciousness dimensions
of the responses to the dramatic change that are occurring in
life as we know it?
The problems are many spelled out as either ecological, spiritual
and do not encompass the creation of a new world model of reality
equivalent to a paradigm shift.
There are literally thousands of organizations round the world
devoted to peace and who wish to make a difference.
A person searching through the vast range of references for a
solution or a master plan is likely to go into information overload
unless we ask the right questions and perceive the basic principles
underlying the complex change occurring.
We all know complexity theory as for example
within the dissipative theory of Pribogine. A new higher order
of complexity can occur as a system becomes more disordered and
chaotic. This systemic change is evidently occurring at the moment
and will include and impact all the many political, environmental
educational, economic and spiritual institutions on the planet.
The Harvard forum of religion and ecology
further elaborates on these points Ten religions are referenced
to including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism.etc
This Forum on Religion and Ecology is the largest international
multireligious project of its kind. With its conferences, publications,
and website it is engaged in exploring religious worldviews, texts,
and ethics in order to broaden understanding of the complex nature
of current environmental concerns.
It is, however, with some encouragement that we note the growing
call for the world's religions to participate in these changes
toward a more sustainable planetary future. There have been various
appeals from environmental groups and from scientists and parliamentarians
for religious leaders to respond to the environmental crisis.
In addition, there has been a striking growth in monographs and
journal articles in the area of religion and ecology. Several
national and international meetings have also been held on this
subject. For example, environmental groups such as World Wildlife
Fund (WWF) have sponsored interreligious meetings, such as the
one in Assisi in 1986. The United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) in North America has established an annual Environmental
Sabbath and distributes thousands of packets of materials for
uses in congregations throughout the United States and Canada.
The Parliament of World Religions, held in Chicago in 1993 and
attended by some 8,000 people from all over the globe, issued
a Global Ethics of Cooperation of Religions on Human and Environmental
Issues statement. International meetings on the environment such
as the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders have
been held in Oxford (1988), Moscow (1990), Rio (1992), and Kyoto
(1993). These included religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama
as well as diplomats and heads of state such as Mikhail Gorbachev,
who hosted the Moscow conference and attended the Kyoto conference
to set up an International Green Cross for environmental emergencies.
Since 1995 a critical Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC)
has been convening conferences and publishing books on this topic
in England. In the United States, the National Religious Partnership
for the Environment (NRP) has organized the Jewish and Christian
communities on this issue. The time is thus propitious for a broad
investigation of the contributions of particular religions to
solving the ecological crisis, especially by developing a more
comprehensive environmental ethic.
We need to find a common ground to all religion
not reject but transcend and include all the various doctrines
and ideologies especially determining the essential focus of equality
in spirituality. in this respect a spiritual community can play
a major role. An example is Wolfgang Fischer`s Global Resonance
The new creativity occurring on the planet comes
from social intelligence and is engendered by the internet. This
is associated with what appears to be a grassroots movement in
spirituality which is not aligned with conventional institutions
or religions. In the States there are about 50,000,000 cultural
creatives. This increase in knowledge and exchange of knowledge
would appear to be enabling people to question old dogma and institutions
which make up the old paradigm. The old paradigm is of course
linear, logical, reductive and based on a distinction between
the external observable environment and subjective experience.
However, the new way of looking at things has
been developing since the theory of Relativity in the early 20th
Century. So many technological devices now run on quantum principles
and the basis of physics is no longer Newtonian physics but Quantum
Mechanics in which the observer influences the observed.
What we are seeing here is an understanding
that there is a spiritual interiority, a basic noesis or inner
wisdom which is now being tapped particularly by those people
in the developed world who are not desperately surviving from
hand to mouth as half the world is.