Appendix G Ethics in the Protection of the Environment

Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi

Ensuring the soundness and protection of the natural environment constitutes one of the most fundamental teachings in the history of religions. The faithful believe that on the eve of creation the Lord commanded humans not to bring corruption and ruin to the earth for which he had for-saken the Heaven. Man was sworn not to betray this trust, that is, a pristine and pure earth. He was forewarned sufficiently against the dire repercussions of not upholding this command. Yet, the fact is that human inattention to this matter and the insidious calamity that has befallen it seems to be an entirely modern issue. The natural environment crisis is one of the main issues that preoccupy contemporary humanity. The ferocious and cruel approach towards nature in recent centuries that stemmed from expansionist motives and has led to relentless exploitation of raw materials—sea pollution by oil spills, jungle slashing and burning, global warming, and depletion of the ozone layer—has finally roused man from the stupor of dereliction. The innocent crying of the birds because of hunting, the extinction of forests, and the death of beautiful, colorful fish and whales have opened the eyes and ears of human beings so much that many are dedicating themselves to environmental protection. It has moved man’s hard heart and made him consider solutions to the repercussions of this untenable style of living. He seeks alternatives to the consequences of this dominating and monopolistic way of life that seemingly considers any other life form on the face of the earth insignificant.

Many people have passed in human history. The call of divine messengers and religious leaders fell on the deaf ears of aggressive and domineering human beings. They failed to turn squandering eyes, or tame



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Appendix G Ethics in the Protection of the Environment Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi Ensuring the soundness and protection of the natural environment con- stitutes one of the most fundamental teachings in the history of religions. The faithful believe that on the eve of creation the Lord commanded hu- mans not to bring corruption and ruin to the earth for which he had for- saken the Heaven. Man was sworn not to betray this trust, that is, a pristine and pure earth. He was forewarned sufficiently against the dire repercus- sions of not upholding this command. Yet, the fact is that human inatten- tion to this matter and the insidious calamity that has befallen it seems to be an entirely modern issue. The natural environment crisis is one of the main issues that preoccupy contemporary humanity. The ferocious and cruel approach towards nature in recent centuries that stemmed from expan- sionist motives and has led to relentless exploitation of raw materials—sea pollution by oil spills, jungle slashing and burning, global warming, and depletion of the ozone layer—has finally roused man from the stupor of dereliction. The innocent crying of the birds because of hunting, the extinc- tion of forests, and the death of beautiful, colorful fish and whales have opened the eyes and ears of human beings so much that many are dedicat- ing themselves to environmental protection. It has moved man’s hard heart and made him consider solutions to the repercussions of this untenable style of living. He seeks alternatives to the consequences of this dominating and monopolistic way of life that seemingly considers any other life form on the face of the earth insignificant. Many people have passed in human history. The call of divine mes- sengers and religious leaders fell on the deaf ears of aggressive and domi- neering human beings. They failed to turn squandering eyes, or tame 58

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59 APPENDIX G their cruel hearts, while they continued to satiate their instincts like ani- mals, seeking pleasures, joys, and exploitations. Just as the Holy Koran draws the picture of humanity at the time of Its Revelation: “…They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle…”1 Man finally was caught in the painful infliction resulting from his own misdeeds; the horrible perversion that he fomented himself had made his life miserable. “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of that which man’s hands have wrought…”2 Now it seems as if humanity is going through the first moments of awakening at the dawn of consciousness, rubbing drowsy eyes, the very eyes that had been closed in the deep slumber of heedlessness in the dark- ness of centuries. Fortunately today, environmental scientists and experts are not the only ones to recognize the enormity of the situation. There is a kind of rising public reaction and popular protest in all inhabited parts of the planet earth. This is a promising trend; for I believe that until this impor- tant issue is understood by all, and the jeopardy threatening humanity is publicly discernible, the cries of handfuls of people in “Green” parties will not result in the ultimate solution; a popular mobilization of human- ity. Without public understanding, the issue shall remain buried within conference proceedings and academic papers. Having the masses of hu- manity understand the problem is of paramount importance, and is the basis upon which everything else depends. Then all that remains is to find the root causes that conform and comply with the sound, natural, and pure disposition of human beings so that a proper solution and a logical strategy can be devised. Our time is replete with cautionary saviors in the form of individuals or groups. Green parties have a significant presence everywhere. Thou- sands of articles and books are being written, and numerous screenplays and films are being made. Yet the sheer enormity and gravity of the situ- ation is such that it is as if all these efforts have no efficacy, and they serve only as placebo for an illness. What is the mystery behind this? It seems that the riddle of the failure lies in ignoring the causes and pursuing the results. Should we not confront the issue in a fundamental way, and reach its roots? Every effort is like giving placebo to a patient suffering from a festering infectious cyst within him. An unknown Ira- nian poet best illustrates his condition: 1 Al A’raf, verse 179 (Translator’s note: Al A’raf in Arabic means the elevated places. It is the seventh chapter in the Bounteous Koran.) 2 Al-Rum, verse 41 (Translator’s note: Al-Rum means the Romans. It is the thirtieth chap- ter in the Holy Koran.)

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60 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS “Alaji Nama Kaz Delam Khoon Nayayad, Sereshk az rokham pak kardan Che Hasel?” [Find me a cure; for no blood comes forth from my heart, what is the use of cleaning tears from my face?] A major portion of the efforts exerted by environmental activists is merely in the form of environmental engineering. Instead of solving the problem, they are erasing the statement of the problem. One group claims that if we could completely transform our means of transportation and eliminate fossil fuel as a source of energy, the problem would be totally solved. Another group also states that there are parts of the earth that are still untouched and man must abandon the polluted areas and move into virgin and sound areas to be free of corruption and pollution. While we appreciate all the efforts exerted toward better care of the inhabited earth using more rational means of production, transportation, and similar matters, and while we acknowledge the fact that there should be a constant drive toward achieving more appropriate forms of technol- ogy, we believe that these accomplishments alone do not hold the key to the final solution to the problem and release from the crisis. The question that still remains is why has the habitat of humanity become so unsightly and unpleasant? Why has the situation reached a point that a group of men, now that they have polluted a part of planet earth, wish to leave that place and go somewhere else so that they can once again afflict that place with the same adversity? What is the primary solution? Could an alterna- tive be conceived that could reconcile man with his natural environment, so that he would refrain from merciless exploitation and infringement and live peacefully embracing nature? Could there be clean, pure air? Could we listen to the refreshing murmurs of doves and fish? The reality is that the root cause of the crisis in the modern time should be sought in man’s view and interpretation of his natural environment. In other words, the main problem is in man’s epistemology and worldview. We hold the view that fanatical scientism, or a rigid and inflexible scientific view lacking any spiritual support and interpretation and de- scription of the world through the narrow portal of empirical science that itself is the major gift and achievement of industrial development in re- cent centuries, is the main factor of destruction, pollution, and ruin of humanity’s natural environment. In the modern lexicon, science has re- placed “faith.” It was the French scientist Auguste Comte who first stated that the course of human knowledge has three stages: (1) divine or godly, (2) philo- sophical or dialectic, and (3) scientific. At the divine stage, human beings attributed all affairs to the will of God and the supernatural. At the philo-

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61 APPENDIX G sophical stage, the human mind became capable of experimentation and abstraction and thus attributed natural affairs to the powers that were unseen but whose effects were visible. At this stage, man sought an ac- tual cause or final cause for natural events. In the third stage or the scien- tific or investigative stage, imagination and rationality become functions of observation and experience. Something is valid when it can be sensed and observed. Comte believed that humanity had passed through the first two stages and had now reached the third stage. No longer would man fruitlessly clamor for things that are of no use to him, and he would only deal with matters that would benefit life and would be of use. In the later days of his life, Auguste Comte yearned for tenderness, and upon the basis of his philosophical convictions established a creed called Religion de l’Humanite,3 and he built a house of worship and established a series of rites of worship. He maintained that no creed would be acceptable and followed unless the scientists of the age accepted it. Since scientists have passed through the divine and metaphysical stage, any creed that they could accept on the basis of conviction and faith inevitably must agree with empirical science. In another words, science is the future religion of human beings. Comte then added that modern science could only accept and worship a unified being. That being is a humanity that is above all things and persons, with all individuals, both past and future, being mem- bers and having sought progress and prosperity of the human kind. This entity must be worshiped. Auguste Comte called it Le Grand Etre4 and he appointed himself as Le Grande Pretre5 of this creed. Of course under this religion of humanity, supplication does not mean worship; rather it means nurturing and nursing.6 Comte stated decisively that the future religion of human beings should adapt itself to science. His prediction was not far off the mark, for in recent centuries, science has become the great icon and the absolute object of ven- eration for human beings. No, not even an object of veneration, but an exclusionist god that was intolerant of any rival or partner. A lifeless, soul- less icon that, without hearing any conceptions of meaning, spirituality, and soul, cut down that which did not bow before it in utter submission. 3 Religion of Humanity. 4 The Great Entity. 5 The Great Preacher. 6 See Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Edward editor-in-chief. New York: Macmillan, 1976, c1967. See also Sair-e Hekmat dar Europa (Course of Philosophy in Europe), Mohammad Ali Forooghi, p. 113, Tehran, Safi Alishah Publications, 1927.

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62 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS Spirituality, ethics, and philosophy, whether natural or metaphysical, have no place unless they are given the seal of approval by science. Modern science is not a peculiar method of knowledge about nature, but rather a thorough and encompassing philosophy that reduces all re- alities to the material level of functions and phenomena, and under no condition is it willing to acknowledge the existence of “unscientific” view- points. Other views derived from seasoned doctrines do not deny the legitimacy of science as a limited matter confined and encompassed by the material dimension of realities, but maintain constantly the existence of a web of inner relationships that links the material nature to the realm of the divine, and the outward appearances of visible objects to an inner reality. Exclusive confinement of the realities of the universe to their ma- terial scope by modern scholars, especially in the West, is to ignore the inner causes and means of the environmental crisis. Humanity sought refuge in science in order to escape from hardships and to attain a more comfortable life, but the very science that came to interpret the world surrounding man, devoid of life, spirit, and meaning, led man to make his world more constrictive and painful under the shadow of ignorance and neglect of inner and spiritual concepts of the natural world. Science that was supposed to be man’s companion and sympathizer, be- came his nemesis and according to Saadi, a poet from Shiraz: “Shod Gholami ke Ab-e Jouy Arad; Ab-e Jouy Amad o Gholam Bebord.” [A servant went to fetch water from the stream. The water of the stream took the servant away.] For the urban man, modern science has made the realm of nature into an object devoid of meaning. It has secularized the cosmos and made it asunder from Divine splendor. It is not a mirror whose beauties reflect the beauty of righteousness. Moreover, the natural cosmos lacks any kind of unity and oneness with human beings. Man considers himself apart from nature and is estranged from it, a stranger that lacks any kind of sanctity. If there is any sanctity, the modern man maintains it solely for himself. Thus modern man does not look compassionately on nature. He simply has a material, exploitative, and applied view. Nature is not his beloved, nor does he love it. It is not seen as his life companion to whom he feels responsible while enjoying its company. Rather to the modern man, Nature has become like a lady of the night being there merely to be taken advantage of, to whom he does not feel any responsibility or duty. The outcome of such notion was that of a woman of the night; nature has gradually fallen into decay, as if spending its final days. It has become so old and impaired that it has fallen from man’s grace and can no longer be of service in his dominion.

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63 APPENDIX G It should be noted here that through its interpretation of nature, mod- ern science has helped to unlock the secrets and the mystery buried within the nature and character of man. By nature, human beings are an entity determined to dominate and control all that is outside them. Accord- ingly, he wants to dominate and transgress upon nature. Many Western philosophers, and even a few Islamic philosophers, are of the opinion that man is unlike the ancient Greeks’ idea that Human is civilized by nature; rather, man is an aggressor and exploiter by nature. The seventeenth-century English philosopher Hobbes7 was convinced that man is by nature always at war and that he maintains the right of preservation only for his own.8 He said: “By nature man is selfish and egotistical. He is motivated by selfish desires that need to be satiated and fulfilled. In its natural state, man’s life is ugly, horrid, cruel, savage, and short.” Among present day Islamic philosophers, Allameh Seyyed Muhammad Hussein Tabatabaie believes: “Man has a relationship with his own faculties and parts. This relationship was brought into existence and is real. Hands, feet, eyes, and other parts of his body are undeniably controlled and used by him. Man has the very same relationship with nature outside his being; essentially considering all external objects and even other human beings for his own. He considers them as his tools. He looks at all external matters, whether inanimate, animals and even plants, with a view towards their use.” Allameh believes that man is by nature created as an aggressor and exploiter, and that ethics is a secondary tenet for him. In other words, man is not civilized by nature, rather he is civi- lized by consequence and exhibition. The Aristotle quotation that man is by nature civilized, really means that civilized is secondary nature and not primary nature. Briefly, human beings are naturally disposed to engage nature and overcome it as much as it is within their power and to employ it toward their goals and enjoyment. Modern science has totally theorized this con- cept for him by desanctifying nature. There remains no longer any mean- ing for man within the high mountain ranges, boundless oceans, and the heavens. It seems rather that their majesty and grandeur annoys his domi- nating and arrogant disposition. By scaling and conquering them, he wanted to deprive them of their natural majesty and make them lie pros- trate at his feet. No longer is the spiritual experience of flight toward the kingdom of heavens as illustrated in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” for 7 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). 8McDonald, M. “Natural Rights.” pp. 21-40, Theories on Rights, Ed. J. Waldron, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1984.

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64 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS Christianity and nightly flights to heaven as in the Ascent of the Holy Prophet of Islam, the aspiration of modern man. Conquering of the mountain peaks, flying in spacecraft, and traveling to the planets in the solar system have made him proud. He sang the hymn of victory over nature and celebrated over the destroyed ruins. So successful was modern science in its attempt at desanctifying nature that regrettably even the religious persons lost their di- vine and sublime feeling toward nature and its importance. Eliade wrote: The cosmic praise and the mystery of nature’s participation as in Chris- tian drama has become unattainable for the Christians living in a mod- ern city. Religious experience is no longer available to existence. In the final analysis, this experience is totally private and personal. Salvation is an issue concerning only man and his god. At most, man might recog- nize that he is responsible not only in relation to God, but also before history. However, in this man-God-history association there remains no place for the universe and the creatures within. From this perspective, even to a true Christian, it appears that the world is no longer felt as the work of God.9 We must confess the fact that there is a striking neglect observed among custodians of religions in general, including Christian philoso- phers, especially Protestants. The majority of important trends in phi- losophy of religion in recent centuries had dealt with the subject of man and history and had focused on the issue of salvation and emancipation of man as a separate and single entity. For instance what is seen in the works of the famous contemporary theologian P. Tilich is merely appre- hension about human beings as individuals, separate and disconnected from the world before God. Works by Barth and Bruner suggest an Iron Curtain has been laid around the natural world. They believe that nature cannot teach man anything about God, and therefore nature offers no theosophical or spiritual gain. R. Bultman’s works have generally ignored the importance of the spiritual and divine dimension of nature, and they have brought it to the level of a synthesized construct introduced for sus- tained life of progressive man. Unfortunately, Western churches, religious institutes, and the Islamic seminaries in Muslim countries have not shown much reaction until re- cently. In spite of the existing resources originating from the depth of Christianity and Islam, they did not embark on compiling separate books 9 Eliade, M. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, Harvest/HBJ, New York: 1959, p. 179.

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65 APPENDIX G entitled Environmental Divinity or theology to direct man toward the spiritual aspect of the natural world around him. Due to a silence of religious centers and lack of serious scholarly works, the learning and teachings of divine religions, instead of demand- ing, have assumed the debtor status and are being reprimanded as an accused party. Some of the scholars who are preoccupied with the envi- ronmental crisis have produced works in which it seems as if unitarian religions shoulder a major portion of the culpability for the ruin of nature instead of pinning it on the internal developments within Western civili- zation that began during medieval ages, and continued through the Re- naissance and seventeenth century. For instance, Arnold Toynbee, the great English historian and phi- losopher of the twentieth century, expressed unique and controversial hy- potheses about the philosophy of history and about the periodic rise and fall of civilizations. He believed that the unitarian religions have unwarrantedly spoiled man more than he deserves. They taught humans that God created the world for them, that everything belongs to them, that all the mountains, seas, and plains were created for humans’ life and use, and that they can do whatever they desire. This way of thought led humans to unbridled exploitation.10 Such thinkers ignore the fact that the unitary religion of Islam, which belongs to the very same succession of the unitary, Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Judaism, has never lost its mindfulness toward the sacred character of nature. This paper will later point out how Koranic quotations express the sanctity of nature. It will show how Christianity and Judaism in the East, unlike what we see in the West, have neither taught nor promulgated the attitude of dominating nature and laying it to waste. The teachings of unitary religions are not the cause of this crisis, but rather they are the only solution for the dilemma that has come to grip modern man. In the later decades of the twentieth century, amid the rapture of con- quering and commanding nature, man awakened from the intoxication of victory over nature. He recognized what was devastated as the value of victory—humanity. Fortunately, the majority of today’s thinkers believe that the very essence of man’s existence is threatened. Instead of deciding that the merit of science and technology overcomes that of nature, man’s own constructs have been transformed to recognize it is now time for him to revise the general view of the world. According to Schoen: “Is it no 10 Mohaghegh Damad, Seyyed Mostafa. A Discourse on Nature and Environment from an Islamic Perspective, Department of Environment, Tehran, Iran: 2000.

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66 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS longer human reason that determines what is man? What is reason? What is Truth? Rather it is the machine that determines these subjects using physics, chemistry, and biology. Under these conditions, man’s mind and thoughts are more than ever dependent upon the ‘space’ that has been created and established by his knowledge. From then on it is science and machines that create man.”11 Yet, in spite of the mindfulness of the world’s scientific centers, the note of protest does not go beyond the confines of environmental sup- porters and authorities who have understood the depth of tragedy. The general conscience of human community has not been alerted. The ulti- mate solution requires unanimous efforts and dedication of humanity. The environmental crisis will not subside as long as the feeling of kind- ness and compassion toward the outer world has not replaced the sense of domination in every corner of the hearts of all humans. In our opinion, the true alternative at this juncture is to return to the perception of religions. More than the in past, today’s man has much readiness to accept teachings of religions. Inasmuch as man’s understand- ing and intelligence has grown, he better understands and accepts reli- gious concepts. This is especially so given that modern man has experi- enced the bitter outcomes of atheistic perceptions and removal of spirituality from his natural environment. Contemporary man has be- come repentant of sin and penitent before the Lord and has sought for- giveness for past transgressions. This is a critical and invaluable opportu- nity for religious institutions and clerics to have religion presented in a way appropriate to the march of time, so as to embrace with kindness the modern man who has confessed to his sin. Certainly, if man were to look at the world around him through religious beliefs, no such ravage would take place. What we mean by religion in its widest and most universal sense in- cludes all the beliefs and worldviews that have been studied and investi- gated under this subject. Thus, our view here is not solely confined to religion defined as “submission of man before a superior force” that would inevitably lead to the Lord and the unitary religions. Official reli- gion is a collection of principle precepts and deeds that are undertaken with an aim of linking man to a sublime power particular to a society or a community. Our intent in the present discussion, however, is linked to all tenets, words, and deeds that are directly or indirectly effective with re- spect to the preservation of the environment. Religion in this context ap- plies to any system of beliefs that imparts meaning to the world, trans- 11 Schoun, Frithjof. Understanding Islam. Translated by D.M. Matheson. Mandala Books, London: 1967, pp. 32-33.

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67 APPENDIX G forms one’s view, and calls for application of conscience and ethics. It is an inner strength and a manner of the physical way of life based on en- joining good and abstaining from evil. A worldview coupled with spiri- tuality and uprightness is the original core of all beliefs that we mean by religion. The proof is that all religions play this role in this general sense; this is not something particular only to Abrahamic religions. When we look up the Hindu tradition, we meet a metaphysical belief about nature. It is thus that we see the growth and blossoming of many sciences within the embrace of Hinduism, some of which have come to influence the West through Islam. In the Hindu tradition, our attention is drawn to the Vedantic belief of Atman or Maya, a belief where existence is considered not an absolute reality, but rather a veil that covers the transcendental self.12 This view is very similar to the theory of Names and Attributes in the Islamic gnosticism. In Islamic gnosticism, the world and whatever it holds are manifestation of the Names and Attributes of the Righteous, which we will come to later. In Eastern Religions, especially in Taoism and in Confucian doctrine, we observe a form of devotion toward nature and an understanding of its metaphysical significance, which is of utmost importance. This respectful attitude towards nature, coupled with a strong sense of symbolism and an awareness of the clarity and focus of the universe and its transparency from the standpoint of metaphysical truths, can also be found in Japan. Shintoism strongly reinforces this perception. In Far Eastern art, most notably in Taoist and Zen traditions, drawings of natural landscapes are true portraits of nature. They do not cause a sensual delight in the specta- tor, but rather convey benefaction, compassion, and beauty, and serve as the means of union with transcendental truth.13 This is the very essence that a Muslim gnostic Saadi Shirazi expresses: “Tang Cheshman Nazar be miveh konnand; Ma Tamashagar Bostanim.” [Narrow-sighted niggards look at the fruit, [while] we behold the or- chard.] Within divine religions, if we examined the history of Christianity in the light of Eastern metaphysical and cosmological principle, we would 12 Guenon, Rene. Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines. Translated by Marco Pallis. Vedams, New Delhi: 2000. Also see his other book, Man and His Becoming to Vedanta. Translated by Reynolds Nicholson, Vedams, New Delhi: 1999. 13 Matgioni, La Voie Metaphysic, Paris: 1956.

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68 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS succeed in discovering a tradition for studying nature that could serve as a record for evaluating Christianity’s new theosophy toward nature. In the Old Testament, there are certain references made to nature’s participation in the context of a religious view of life. In the Book of Joshua, there is mention of the Lord’s vow to maintain peace with animals and plants. Noah is commanded to preserve all animals, whether hal- lowed or not, regardless of their benefit to human beings.14 In the same manner, the untouched nature or desert is visualized as a place of trial and punishment, as a refuge for contemplation, or even as a reflection of paradise. This very tradition of contemplative view of nature lives later on in Judaism in the “Kabala” and “Hasidim” schools of thought. In the New Testament, the death and assignation of Jesus is accompa- nied by the wilting and blossoming of nature that bespeak Jesus’s cosmic quality. Saint Paul, too, believes that all creation partakes in the redemp- tion of sin. In the West, due to the concern about polytheism and idolatry and in reaction to them, the original church gradually distanced itself from the surrounding world until it was severed from it. Even words such as para- dise and desert, in their positive sense, were recognized by the Church and later monasteries as separate and distinct institutions.15 In the East- ern Church, in contrast, reflection in nature was still accepted and became more pivotal. Nature was included as a support for spiritual life. The belief was formed that all nature partakes in deliverance and salvation and that the world would be revived and restored with the second com- ing of Jesus. For the author, Origen16 and Irnaus, the early fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church who created “Divinity of Nature,” are very important. They did not restrict the term Logos, or the Word or Expression of Allah, 14 Williams, George Huntston. Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought; the Biblical Experience of the Desert in the History of Christianity & the Paradise Theme in the Theological Idea of the University. [1st ed.] New York, Harper [1962]. Prologue, p. 10. 15 Ibid. 16 Translator’s Note: Oregenes Adamantius, or Origen the most important theologian and biblical scholar of the early Greek church. His greatest work is the Hexapla, which is a synop- sis of six versions of the Old Testament. Born c. 185, probably Alexandria, Egypt, died c. 254, Tyre, Phoenicia [now Sur, Lebanon]. 17 Hexaemeron or Hexaëmeron (“Six Days”), nine Lenten sermons on the days of creation, signify a term of six days, or, technically, the history of the six days’ work of creation, as contained in the first chapter of Genesis. 18 Born AD 329, Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia; died January 1, 379, Caesarea; was Latin Basilius early Church Father who defended the orthodox faith against the heretical Arians. As bishop of Caesarea, he wrote several works on monasticism, theology, and canon law.

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69 APPENDIX G to man and religion only, but they have also used it for the whole of na- ture and all creatures. In his book, Hexaemeron,17 Saint Basil,18 a follower of Origen, wrote: “When you think about grass or a herb-yielding seed…that seed is the word that would come to occupy your whole mind.”19 This view completely complies with the Islamic perception. In the Majestic Koran, the whole universe and its every component are Kalimatullah [Word of Allah], just as Jesus and the Koran that was re- vealed to the Prophet are the Word of Allah. “And if all the trees in the earth were pens and the sea with seven more seas added to it were inks, the word of Allah would not be ex- hausted. Surely Allah is mighty and wise.”20 “Then the angels said: O Mary, surely Allah gives good news of one whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary.”21 Gradually as Christianity expanded into Eastern Europe, new groups embraced it. These groups had a deep insight about the spiritual value of nature devoid of any signs of Mediterranean polytheism. A perfect ex- ample of this was the Celts who had a strong cognizance and awareness about the balance and harmony of man and nature. The Celtic monks were always seeking Divine epiphany, and they went on quests hoping to discover the harmony of the Lord’s Creation.22 They sought the Lord in the mysterious cosmos. Pilgrimage, quest, and visiting creation have been repeatedly mentioned in Koranic monotheism. Please take note of the following verses: “Say O Messenger: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation…”23 “And we made between them and the towns which we had blessed, 19 Raven, Charles E. Natural Religion and ChristianTheology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England: 1953. 20 Luqman, verse 27 [Translator’s note: Luqman is the 31st chapter of the Holy Koran. The title of the chapter is taken from that of a sage to whose story it refers]. 21 Al-Amran, verse 44 [Translator’s note: Al-Imran or Family of Amran is the 3rd chapter of Holy Koran]. 22 Williams, George Huntston, Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought; the Biblical Experience of the Desert in the History of Christianity & the Paradise Theme in the Theological Idea of the University. [1st ed.] New York, Harper [1962], p. 46. 23 Ankabut, verse 20. [Translator’s note: Ankabut or Spider is the 29th Chapter of Holy Koran.] 24 Saba, verse 18. [Translator’s note: Al-Saba or Saba is the 34th Chapter of Holy Koran. The title of this chapter is taken from that of the city of the same name, i.e., Saba or Shaba, which was situated in Yaman and was destroyed by flood.] 25 John Scotus Eriugena; An Irish teacher, theologian, philosopher, and poet, who lived in the ninth century.

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70 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS other towns easy to be seen, and we apportioned the journey therein. Travel through them night and day, secure.”24 In the ninth century, an Irish thinker named Johannes Scotus Eriugena25 wrote a commentary on the Holy Bible in which he tried to establish an intimate link between the Lord, the Cosmos, and human be- ings. In this respect, he strongly defied some of the theologians and phi- losophers who, due to lack of precise understanding of metaphysical and cosmological concepts of nature, were inclined to classify any such specu- lation as pantheism, naturalism, and polytheism. Eriugena thus stated, “The Cosmos has a transcendental origin, and all creatures are from the Lord, but created through Jesus.”26 Finally in the person of Saint Francis of Assisi27 we behold the most fantastic, respective attitude towards nature within the framework of a Christian saintly life. His life among the birds and animals is a firm ex- ample of this Christian conviction that human beings cannot relate to na- ture through consecration. In his Canticle of the Sun and his many other canticles, he displays a deep, penetrating insight free of any human gain- fulness. In his conversation with animals, he displays the sincerity that a saint attains by connecting with the divine essence that has breathed into nature.28 Dante’s Divine Comedy teaches that human beings must trek throughout the universe so that they would recognize that the force that surrounds all beings is, “love and kindness that moves the sun and stars.”29 While this way of observing nature based on post-medieval teachings was confronted with fluctuations and challenges, it continued until the end of the nineteenth century. People like John Ray still searched nature for signs and indications of the Lord. In his work, Unsere Farbenlehre, Goethe30 dealt with the existing symmetry in nature and called people to recover a perception of this pure and eternal nature. Following Christianity and Judaism are Islamic teachings. The Ma- jestic Koran has a very interesting and penetrating view of nature. It does not allow man to lay prostrate before nature as his lord because of its 26 Bett, Henry. Johannes Scotus Eriugena. A Study in Mediaeval Philosophy. pp. 204. Univer- sity Press: Cambridge, 1925. 27 Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181 or 1182 — the exact year is uncertain; died there, 3 October, 1226. 28 Williams, George Huntston, Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought; the Biblical Experience of the Desert in the History of Christianity & the Paradise Theme in the Theological Idea of the University. [1st ed.] New York, Harper [1962], p. 42. 29 The New Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 16, pp. 971-976, 15th Edition, 1989. 30 German poet, novelist, playwright, and natural philospoher, the greatest figure of the German Romantic period and of German literature as a whole. The New Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 20, pp. 133-140, 15th Edition, 1989.

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71 APPENDIX G greatness and magnificence, nor does it consider nature as an entity with- out any sanctity, meaning, or essence. The Koran presents natural mani- festations as the Lord’s creations, and directs man that instead of wor- shiping these manifestations to worship their Creator: “And of His signs are the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Adore neither the sun nor the moon, but adore Allah who created them.”31 Although the Lord creates the living beings in nature, in the Koran’s view, nature itself is not a soulless and lifeless entity. It is living. Human beings could become intimate with nature, talk with it, and express love for it. Due to their manner of relationship to the Lord, the Koran views the beings in nature as sacred. Their sanctity and essence are inseparable. From the Koran’s viewpoint, all parts of nature always are glorifying the truth. They all pray before god and conduct supplication: “Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth glorifies Allah, the Ruler, the Holy, the Mighty, the Wise. ”32 It is interesting to note that according to the Koran, the glorification of the Lord by creatures could be understood, perceived, and recognized by human beings. In a verse revealed to a Messenger of Allah, it announces: “Seest thou not that Allah is He, Whom does glorify all those who are in the heavens and the earth and the birds with wings outspread? Each one knows its prayer and its glorification. And Allah is Knower of what they do.”33 As you notice, the above verse expects human beings to discern the glorification and invocations made by all the beings of the world, even the birds in the sky. In the lives of Muslim sages, it is a simple feat to hear the sound of invocations of nature. Saadi says: “Last night a bird was singing a dirge that robbed me of rea- son, patience, stamina and conscious; Unless hearing my chant, one of my true friends said: I could not believe that the sound of a bird could make one so senseless, I answered: I would have not been human to remain silent while the bird glorified the Lord.” 31 Fussilat, verse 37. [Translator’s note: Fussilat means a thing made plain. It is the 41st Chapter of the Holy Koran.] 32 Jummu’ah, verse 1. [Translator’s note: Jummu’ah receives its name from the exhortation to gather together on the day of Congregation, or Friday. It is the 62nd chapter of the Holy Koran.] 33 Al-Nur, verse 41. [Translator’s note: Al-Nur means The Light. It is the 24th chapter of the Holy Koran.]

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72 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS According to Sadrul-Motu’alehin Shirazi, every being is understand- ing to the extent of its essence, thus all beings in nature have understand- ing and awareness inasmuch as they are entitled to: “All beings, even the solids, while seemingly inanimate, are in reality alive, aware and glorify the truth. They gaze upon the majesty and magnificence of truth; having total awareness about their Creator and Maker.” The magnificent Koran points to the very same thing when it says that “…And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification.”34 Sadra has not interpreted the passage “you do not understand” in an active form, rather he considered it passive, suggesting that the beings themselves are not aware of their glorification although they are con- sciously glorifying. To provide further reasoning, he adds: “Meaning that because this manner of knowledge, that is knowledge about knowledge, which the Islamic philosophy calls compound knowledge, is particular to beings that are purely abstract who transcend the physical state.”35 According to the Koran, all parts of nature share salvation and deliv- erance with human beings. Therefore, just like them, entities in nature, whether animate or inanimate, would gather in the Day of Gathering, or Day of Resurrection. About animals, the Koran says: “And when the wild animals are gathered together, the earthly beings gather along with hu- mans, and everything is eloquent and articulate.”36 “When the earth is shaken, and the earth brings forth her burdens, and man says: ‘What has befallen her?’ On that day she will tell her news, as if the Lord had revealed it to her.”37 In Islamic teachings, the link between man and nature in deliverance and salvation, as well as in corruption and annihilation, is so strong that a human being’s devotion or negligence toward God, observance, or viola- tion of divine precepts directly affects nature. As a part of the manifesta- tion of truth, nature is kind and compassionate toward upright and de- vout human beings, but it is contemptuous and uncompromising against wrongdoing and cruel human beings. The glorious Koran says: “And if 34 Bani Isra’il, verse 44. [Translator’s note: Bani Isra’il or the Israelites is the 17th chapter in the Holy Koran.] 35 Sadr-e-din Muhammad Shirazi (Mollah Sadra), Al Asfar Al Arba’a, fel Hekmatul Mote’aliya [The Four Unveiling on Transcendental Philosophy], vol. 6, Chapter 12, Tehran. 36 Al Takwir, verse 5. [Translator’s note: Al Takwir or folding up derives its name from the mention of the folding up of the sun in the first verse. It is the 81st chapter in the Holy Koran.] 37 Al Zilzal, verses 1-4 [Translator’s note: Al-Zilzal means the shaking. It is the 99th chap- ter in the Holy Koran.]

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73 APPENDIX G people of the town had believed and kept their duty, we would certainly have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth.”38 In another verse, it quotes Noah appealing to those who sin: “…Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely He is ever forgiving. He will send down upon you rain, pouring in abundance.”39 In the Hadith or accounts dealing with religious leaders, the wrath of nature has been recognized as the very wrath of the Lord against the deeds and actions of human beings. “When the rulers tell lies to people, no rain shall fall.”40 The glorious Koran presents an account of a past group of people, who because they committed sin and transgressed against divine precepts, were subjected to divine punishment through the wrath of nature. The people of Noah (Aad) and people of Lot (Thumud),41 each had been anni- hilated through natural punishments. In Islamic teachings, all beings in the world are signs and indications of the Lord. Within Islamic mysticism, they are all the names and at- tributes of the Lord. What is meant here by names and attributes is that the Lord is manifest in natural entities, and all nature is a demonstration of truth. Wherever human beings look, they will see the Lord. The Koran says: “And Allah’s is the East and the West, so whither you turn thither is Allah’s purpose.”42 A portent-based view of nature would bestow it such sanctity that would make it totally immune against any transgression committed in the course of scientific explorations. Along with this perception, there is the conception of Divine Vice- Regency that has been quoted in the Koran. It is explicit in presenting human beings as Vice-Regents of the Lord: “And when thy Lord said to the angels, I am going to place a ruler in the earth.”43 In the conversation between the Lord and the Angel in the beginning of the genesis, the angels were worried about the annihilation and defile- ment of earth, and discussed this with the Lord. But the Lord indicated knowledge when responding to them. “The angels said: Wilt Thou place in it such as make mischief in it…?”44 38 Al Araf, verse 96. 39 Nuh, verses 10-11. [Translator’s note: Nuh or Noah is the 71st Chapter in the Holy Koran.] 40 Bahar, V. 73, p. 373 ; see also V. 96 p. 14. 41 Translator’s note: Refers also to the people of Sodom. 42 Al Baqarah, verse 115 [Translator’s note: Al-Baqarah means the Cow and is the 2nd Chapter in Holy Koran.] 43 Al Baqarah, verse 30. 44 Ibid.

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74 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS In reply to them, the Lord said: “Surely I know what you know not.”45 That is, you shall discover the secret of this later. The Lord announces: “And He taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels. He said: ‘Tell Me the names of those if you are right.’ They said: ‘Glory be to Thee! We have no knowledge but that which thou hast taught us. Surely Thou are the Knowing, the Wise.’ He said: ‘O Adam, inform them of their names.’ So when he informed them of their names, He said: ‘Did I not say to you that I know what is unseen in the heavens and the earth? And I know what you manifest and what you hide.’”46 From this conversation it appears that upon seeing the knowledge and science of Adam, the angels were convinced that such a being merits divine Vice-Regency and as a sign of humbleness they bowed to him. What kind of science is this knowledge? Could the very science that has in recent centuries devastated the environment and ruined the earth be the demonstration of the knowledge taught by the Lord? Indeed not. The science taught by the Lord is a sacred knowledge that sees the world as a revelation of the Lord and a reflection of the essence of truth. The best rendition of this is in the Koran where it mentions that He had taught man His names and attributes—the world. To know the world is to know the Lord, and to transgress upon the world, is to transgress and violate the truth. Attar, a Persian poet, says: “When we sent out Adam, We bequeathed our splendor on the desert.” A devout human being will use the gifts of nature toward evolvement and development, for the Lord has announced: “The Lord created you from the earth and called for you to prosper on it.” A devout person would not take any step other than thriving on the earth, otherwise they would be known as a profligate. According to the Koran, Satan suggests squandering and profligacy; and those who execute such deeds, are Satan’s brethren: “Surely the squanderers are the devil’s brethren. And the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.”47 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION In past centuries, by distancing itself from the spiritual perception of nature, modern science had given man insight that has led to a dominat- ing and transgressing ego in humans. This ego has brought about ruin and crisis while it confronted nature to satiate its inner desires. Unfortu- 45 Ibid. 46 Al Baqarah verses 31-33. 47 Bani Isra’il, verse 27.

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75 APPENDIX G nately, the theologians and philosophers are most often responsible for, and have even contributed to, the secularization of nature. By not focus- ing and making efforts toward writing in the field of environmental theol- ogy and presenting it to the literary scene of their time, they left the field open for the total secularization of nature by the industrial revolution and by endless application of modern science. Many theologians and reli- gious thinkers completely laid aside the issue of nature and pursued man’s salvation, with utter disregard to the rest of the Lord’s creation. Due to this hard-hearted indifference to the right of nature and other liv- ing beings, the continued existence of human beings on planet earth has become a hazard. The time has now come for all those who are truly concerned with the human condition and seek an alternative solution to this crisis to once again recourse to the long and historical traditions of religions. There is a need to teach the study and exploration of nature using religious texts and sources within metaphysical teachings, to attest that it is only through the revival of a spiritual and divine conception and cognition of nature that humanity can neutralize the ruination of nature caused by applica- tion of modern science. It is through such revival that we might be as- sured that future humanity would make the earth prosperous and flour- ishing instead of mercilessly exploiting nature’s blessings and defiling the earth. Not only the religious values, but also the cultural beliefs of people could be generally used as rules and guidelines, as they are grown from within people following careful study, modification, reform, and exten- sion. Such rules could be better accepted. They could lead to practical answers in environmental preservation and in achieving a sustainable development not only in one region or country, but throughout the world. As one of the practical and tangible strategies in the dialogue of civili- zations, the universalization of religious values and teaching and expan- sion of cultural beliefs could be used as practical blueprints toward the protection and development of the environment throughout this diverse world. The existing practical methods in religious convictions and cultural beliefs include the knowledge that one could contemplate the beliefs that have been expanded and proven in the course of history, to preserve the environment and finally achieve sustainable development. It is thus pos- sible to draft solutions and act on them so that along with other method- ologies, these could, without being imposed by an outside agency or any governing body, reach their destined goals. By their nature, these solu-

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76 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS tions would become the hallmark of existing practical methods, especially in developing societies that have an ancient culture and history that are more dependent on religious culture and principles. Thus the author wishes to make the following suggestions to the present scholars. Now that human thinkers are concerned about the depth of the catas- trophe that has befallen the human environment, are worried about the future life of humanity, and confess to the role of public beliefs and con- victions in resolving this crisis, the cultural figures and religious clergy shoulder a heavy responsibility. It is now time for this group of people to seriously and sincerely concentrate on this issue, and reintroduce genuine cultures, teachings, and traditions of religions towards educating the pub- lic in dealing with nature. Resolving the environmental crisis demands general mobilization of humanity. The only way to achieve this sacred goal is to follow the guidelines offered by men of culture and religious authorities. I propose that an association of scholars and authorities of various religions of the world as its members be formed for protecting the envi- ronment. Its secretariat should constantly work for coordination in con- vening scientific conferences and meetings. The manner of introducing the traditions of religions to the present generation for an immaculate and spiritually better life calls for a rela- tively deep study, since using the old methods could not answer the present era and would be ineffective. There should be an exchange of experience among religious figures in order to update the methods and tools suitable for the new situation. The proposed association could at- tain this goal through bilateral talks and discussions.