[Air-L] Religious Dimension of Sustainable Development

Alexis Turner subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
Tue Jan 8 06:05:22 PST 2008

While no doubt a fascinating topic of conversation, I am not able to see 
that this directly relates to Internet research and would like to politely 
suggest we nip this conversation in the bud immediately.  There are more 
appropriate forums.

On Mon, 7 Jan 2008, Luis Gutierrez wrote:

::The Vol. 4, No. 1, January 2008 issue of the Solidarity, Sustainability,
::and Non-Violence (SSNV) Research Newsletter has been posted.  The theme
::this month is: "Religious Dimension of Sustainable Development."
::The link is: http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv04n01.html
::The summary (abstract) is pasted below.  I would be grateful for any
::feedback (positive/negative/in-between). Please let me hear from you.
::With best wishes for a good 2008,
::The theme of the month is "religious dimension of sustainable
::development." There is a religious dimension to the United Nations'
::"Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs), and there is a religious
::dimension to human nature and everything we do. Religion is both
::indispensable and dangerous. It is indispensable to attain full human
::development beyond the physical, biological, and intellectual levels. It
::is dangerous when it degenerates into fanatical delusions about the
::absolute superiority of any particular religion, and then leads to
::religious intolerance and religious violence.
::Many consider religion to be a controversial topic. But, after millennia
::of misconceptions about religion, we now have scientific evidence
::(initially via the Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung) that religion is
::essential for human beings to become fully human. This being the case,
::our 2007 analyses of the MDGs is incomplete as long as some insight of
::the religious influences on the implementation of the MDGs is not
::provided. A difficult subject, but it cannot be avoided.
::In particular, religion is often an incentive (positive or negative) for
::the transition from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and human
::development. Granted that financial gain (or loss) will probably remain
::as the key incentive for people to change behavior during our lifetime,
::futures research entails considering all conceivable possibilities. For
::instance, Abraham Lincoln once stated: "When I do good, I feel good;
::when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." Lincoln's "religion"
::many not qualify as religion in some quarters, but it points to the fact
::that, deep in the human psyche, there is the voice of conscience; the
::voice of God who abides in us but is bigger than us.
::After a brief summary of the MDGs (or "MDGs+1" when religious
::development is considered), evidence is presented that a cultural
::transition is needed to support both social justice and environmental
::justice at all levels. This cultural transition will entail changes in
::human behavior that often cannot be accomplished even when there are
::financial incentives. Indeed, it is hard to imagine any such transition
::happening without incentives that are stronger than financial gain
::and/or resources for domination. Since the power of religion as
::incentive for changing human behavior (for good or bad) is pervasive, it
::seems reasonable to research this angle next. This religious dimension
::has not been absent from any of the previous issues of this newsletter,
::but now it will become central.
::Incentives from a religious perspective are discussed for overcoming
::patriarchy and fostering social solidarity, environmental
::sustainability, and human development. In considering this material, it
::is essential to distinguish between "religion" and "religious
::institutions." Authentic religion is the expression of our relationship
::with God, and it is "good, good, good." Institutionalized religion can
::be "good, bad, or some mix of good and bad." Some specific religious
::institutions are mentioned. The intent is never to deny the significant
::amount of good done by those institutions. However, nothing human is
::above criticism. Religious institutions often need reformations, just
::like all other human institutions often need reformations. Some
::religious persons may feel uncomfortable. As always, we shall adhere to
::the principle of analysis based on objective evidence. Updates of the
::SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database continue as time permits.
::The current version shows the links sorted by mega-disciplines, and
::within each mega-discipline by MDGs. This is "work in progress" but you
::are cordially invited to take a look at this resource and download it
::(free) for your own use (two options: HTML Web Page or EXCEL Spreadsheet).
::This month's invited paper is "Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of
::Women and Men," a reflection by the National Spiritual Assembly of the
::Baha'is of the United States, published in 1997. The Baha'i religious
::tradition emerged in Persia (now Iran) in the 18th century. It is the
::first major religious movement that explicitly includes gender equality
::as a core belief.
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