Like many religions, Christianity has views on the care of the planet.
Care of the Planet
Many people have different views on how humans should care for the environment, and religions also usually have some opinion over the way we treat the planet. Despite all the actions we take to try to help, are we doing enough to help?
Today we are faced with many different problems, such as resource depletion. People are using too many resources and because of our modern lifestyle, it is predicted that resources such as fossil fuels will run out very soon. Fossil fuels are also polluting, and damage the environment by causing global warming. This leads on other problems, toxic chemicals, acid rain and pesticide use. All these also contribute to pollution. Habitat destruction is also a huge issue, and many animals often become endangered because of this. Destruction of habitats usually means clearing woodland, which is also damaging to the planet as trees are important in the process of turning carbon dioxide to oxygen, which humans need to survive.
Like many religions, Christianity has views on the care of the planet. In Christianity, God created the animals, plants, humans and world, and gave humans the responsibility of looking after the world for God: ‘And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it’ (Genesis 2:15). This is called stewardship, out of all the living things God made he chose us to look after the planet; we should try to be responsible and care for the planet. We can help look after the planet by not overusing the resources that are already limited, such as fossil fuels which also pollute the planet as well as draining our resources, damaging the planet even more. Everyday tasks that are easy to do such as by simply reusing or recycling something can contribute to helping the planet. Pollution would be one of the things that goes against the teachings that you should ‘love one’s neighbour’ as pollution harms God’s creations such as life.
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Judaism is extremely similar to Christianity, as many teachings are from the same scriptures (e.g. Genesis, which is also in the beginning of the Bible). Under Jewish teachings, God also gave humans the responsibility of stewardship and have a duty to God to help look after the planet. Both Jews and Christians can help by joining environmental groups to help. The responsibility of stewardship is considered important as both religions believe that God will judge humans for what deeds they have done, and to live a good life after death we would want to try to do as many good deeds as possible.
Hinduism teaches that we should respect all life, and if we are harming the environment we will also harm life around us. In the Hindu creation story, it is said that Brahma created the world and all living creatures out of his own body, and also gave humans the responsibility to look after the earth and the living creatures. If someone were to harm the planet, they would also be harming Brahma, which is not good. Harming the environment would also affect other living things living on the planet, which would be against the teaching of Ahimsa, non-violence towards other living things. Also, Hindus believe in reincarnation, so helping the planet now would mean that when they return to earth it will be a better place to live in.
The Hindu views are similar to Christianity and Judaism as humans are given the responsibility to look after the planet, and that we should do our best to care for it. Everyone should care for the planet because it is also a universal lesson to be taught. Helping the planet, even for non-religious people is good as harming the planet also harms life living on the planet, and many people would consider this morally incorrect. Non-religious people can use some teachings from religions such as Hinduism, where the teaching of Ahimsa teaches people not to harm other life and not show any forms of violence to other life. Anyone can easily help protect the planet by just doing a few simple tasks everyday whether it is just turning off the lights when not being used, recycling or reusing things rather than throwing them away.
However, many religious teachings are extremely old, and because we have advanced so much in technological terms they often do not link to what the world is like today, such as global warming and new types of transport that did not exist when the teachings were taught. However, teachings such as loving your neighbours can still be linked back to today as the general basis behind the teaching remains the same.
My view is that everyone is capable of doing their own bit to help protect the environment, and it should be done as it will help in the future. As a Christian, I believe that as we are given the responsibility to look after the planet we should all do our best to protect and care for it, and that doing something small such as recycling can still help contribute to caring for the environment.