The humanities can play a much-needed, and as yet unfulfilled, role in communicating climate science.
If it be Your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice…
~ Leonard Cohen
Religion is what you do in church.
His/her definition was an aspirational and pragmatic one. Aspirational in that it was a plea for how we might choose to define religion and pragmatic in that, if I understand his/her intent, the purpose of such a narrow circumscribing of “religion” is to clarify the appropriate bounds of political debates about freedom of religion.
I’m suggesting that we adopt a narrow definition of religion as cult, as churchiness, not as ethics or “values.” And understood in that way we can make the cut between acceptable appeals to freedom of religion and those that are unacceptable, like the claim of conservative religious groups that the provision of contraceptives, or gay marriage, or whatever violates their religious freedom.
If your religion is only what you do in church, you have no conception of what religion means and your religion is a complete waste of time.
I am mindful of a definition of religion I shared earlier, from Christopher Queen. Queen wrote of “orientation, meaning, and motivation as ultimate frames of reference,” of “understand[ing] our place in society and the natural world,” and of “shap[ing] the personal, social, and political realms.”
I think Queen would side with Websterglobe.
But I think Baber and Websterglobe, because they have different projects, are talking about different things.
“Religion” is not something “out there” that we can objectively define. Our definitions are tied to the particular project at hand.
I’m aware I’ve yet to define my project here. And my definition of religion for that purpose.
Joyful encounter! (Source unknown, unfortunately. Feel free to enlighten me, so that I can give due credit.)
Re the Religion and Ecology Group of the American Academy of Religion:
This Group critically and constructively explores how human-Earth relations are shaped by religions, cultures, and understandings of nature and the environment. We are self-consciously inter- and multidisciplinary and include methods such as those found in the work of theologians, philosophers, religionists, ethicists, scientists, and anthropologists, among others.
Re Yale’s Forum on Religion and Ecology:
The 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.
The Forum recognizes that religions need to be in dialogue with other disciplines (e.g., science, ethics, economics, education, public policy, gender) in seeking comprehensive solutions to both global and local environmental problems.
The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC) is a community of scholars engaged in critical inquiry into the relationships among human beings and their diverse cultures, environments, religious beliefs and practices. The ISSRNC facilitates scholarly collaboration and research, and disseminates research findings through regular conferences and the affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.