Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Rabbi David Rosen and Professor Dr M Din Syamsuddin write: On Thursday, Pope Francis issued a powerful and timely encyclical on the environment, urging humanity to come to its senses and cease its reckless onslaught against God’s creation. He addressed this letter not only to his fellow Catholics, but to all people of the world, asking people of different religious traditions to unite in common purpose to save our planet.
As religious figures, we too accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming comes from human activity, as we see no conflict between faith and reason.
And, coming from the three great Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – we stand together on the need to be good stewards of the earth. All of our traditions affirm the inherent goodness of all creation, and the binding obligation on human beings to protect our common home, the planet that sustains us. The Hebrew Scriptures state clearly that the Earth belongs to God alone, and that we are merely sojourners – we do not have ownership on a permanent basis: the fruits of the earth belong to all, including the poor. This ancient teaching is affirmed by both Christianity and Islam. Christians also view the world through a sacramental lenses, believing that the redemption of Christ has in turn redeemed all of creation. And Islam can be thought of as a religion of nature, with 750 verses in the holy Qur’an speaking about our responsibility to the environment and our relationship with all creatures. Islam too recognizes that everything in the heavens and the earth belong to God, and that we are mere trustees and vice-regents.
We must agree with Pope Francis that we have violated this most sacred trust. This is evident with the scandal of climate change, which comes predominantly from the relentless burning of fossil fuels to power our global economy. The path we are on is a path of destruction. [Continue reading…]