Hinduism & JainismJudaism
Deep Ecology
Animal Rights & LiberationNeoPaganism



Biospirituality and the World's Religions and Philosophies

All religions relate stories that have resonated with a group of people for centuries. These stories have helped people make sense of the world, given meaning to their lives, and taught them how to survive in an often hostile universe. Because many aspects of human lives are universal, religious stories have common themes. Because peoples' histories and geographies differ, each religion has unique stories and insights. All religions have considered humankind's relationship to nature and the living world. As we review the world's religions, a common theme emerges -- nearly all religions endorse respect for nature and compassion for living beings. This is probably because caring and compassionate people who have become revered as religious leaders have consistently recognized that a loving and compassionate God would care about beings who desire to live and are able to experience pleasure and pain. Only a cruel god would wish that such creatures suffer and die at human hands. Nearly all religions, it appears, recognize the inherent value of human and nonhuman life and encourage empathy for all who can suffer. Furthermore, religions uniformly acknowledge that humankind depends on nature for its own survival.
All great spiritual leaders have encouraged courage and compassion with their words, actions, and, often, their willingness to die for their beliefs. Nearly all realized that the principles of compassion and justice must be universal, because it is easy to move arbitrary boundaries that protect the rights of selected individuals while unjustifiably ignoring the rights of others. Thus, as the Rev. Martin Luther King rightly observed, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."