Similar to progressive political movements, the programs of many religious and spiritual groups today are converging around a shared commitment to address the impending global ecological crisis. The paper explores this convergence by looking at the impact of environmentalist thought on religious discourses in modern Indonesia, the author’s primary research area, and comparing the findings to similar trends elsewhere. The research shows that the environmental movement is causing a transformation in how people understand the character and practical relevance of religion and spirituality today, in Indonesia and beyond. For some eco-spiritual groups, a heightened environmental awareness has become the central tenet of their monistic religious cosmology. The more significant phenomenon, however, is a socially much broader shift toward more science-friendly and contemporary religious cosmologies within the mainstream of major world religions. Islam and Christianity now officially accept that other forms of life have a right to exist and that humanity has a custodial obligation to protect nature. This new outlook rectifies the previous tendency within dualist religions to view nature as vastly inferior and servile to human interests. It simultaneously is a rejection of materialist-scientific cosmologies widely prevalent in late modern consumer societies, which deny any notion of the sacred. This trend in the world’s religions toward a re-evaluation of the cosmological status of humanity in relation to nature and the sacred, I argue, will enhance the prospects of the global environmental movement’s campaign for environmental sustainability.
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