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RES 240 The World Religions and the Natural Environment

Course Description: This course will examine the teachings of the world's major religious traditions about the natural environment and the place of human beings within it. This will include consideration of Eastern and Western beliefs about cosmology (the question of what the universe is and, from a religious perspective, what relationship it may have to God), as well as of beliefs and practices regarding the natural environment of indigenous and aboriginal religious traditions. We will consider different religious discussions about human moral responsibility toward nature, including responsibilities toward other people, toward other species, and toward the universe in general. We will also examine the response of contemporary religious thinkers and institutions to the environmental concerns that have arisen in recent decades. The purpose will be twofold: to develop a better understanding of the religious traditions by studying them from an environmental perspective, and to develop a better understanding of environmental attitudes and ideas by studying them from the perspective of their relation to religious teaching.


3 credits