Title

Nature Religion and Cultural Identity: The Religious Environmentalist Paradigm

Authors

Poul Pedersen

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

1995

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Asian Perceptions of Nature: A Critical Approach

Publisher

RoutledgeCurzon

First Page

258

Last Page

273

Editor

Ole Bruun & Arne Kalland

Abstract

In the global concern about the environment, appeals to traditional, religious values play a significant role. Throughout the world, people turn to their ancient scriptures or myths in search of ideas and values which can encourage a protective attitude towards nature.1 It is interesting to note that these efforts to recover an ancient, ecological wisdom very often have a remarkable similarity to the teachings of modern environmentalism.

How should we understand this? why is concern about the environment so often expressed in religious terms? Why do people link nature and ecology to religion when they could just as well invoke ecological science or common environmentalist recommendations? This is what I shall discuss here. I argue that the appeal to traditional, religious ideas and values - which I shall call 'the religious environmentalist paradigm' - signifies other concerns than just those about the environment and that these are concerns about cultural identity in the modern world. From this perspective, the religious environmentalist paradigm represents an example of forceful cultural creativity.

Comments

Originally published by RoutledgeCurzon. Limited preview available through remote link. Book can be purchased through the publisher.

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