Ecological and mystical spirituality from an interfaith perspective

King, Ursula (2009) Ecological and mystical spirituality from an interfaith perspective. Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre. ISBN 9780906165690

Available under License CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (178kB) | Preview


More than ten years ago, the Club of Rome published its much discussed report The First Global Revolution which stressed that our world possesses a promising opportunity, one unlikely to be provided again, to shape a new understanding and new attitudes towards the world as a whole. Whilst contemporary societies are much confused about morals and ethics, whilst we experience much social, educational, personal and environmental chaos, the Club of Rome report argued that it is essential for humanity to respond to this unique opportunity for a global revolution and find the wisdom needed to deal with it in the right way. But how can we find such wisdom? How can we deal with our personal, social and ecological predicaments? Traditionally, religions have fostered wisdom and morality, have shaped individuals and groups, yet their teachings have shown few outward signs of success because their loftiest ideals have rarely been put fully into practice. For the Club of Rome to appeal to inherited wisdom was a momentous step; it was an appeal to our global religious and philosophical heritage, but also to the task of analysing the powers of spirituality for contemporary society and culture, and to discern the different cultural and historical expressions of spirituality whilst assessing their significance for contemporary ecological thinking and concerns. More recently, the American ecological thinker Thomas Berry, much shaped by his deep knowledge of American native traditions, of eastern religions, and the work of the French thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, also spoke about the need to draw on the resources of wisdom in his seminal book The Great Work. Our Way into the Future. The great work, which is the work of all the people, is “to create a mutually enhancing mode of human dwelling on the planet Earth”. Thomas Berry speaks of the need to rediscover the spiritual sense of the universe and the need “to reinvent the human”. To create a viable earth community, to develop the new world vision required for building a viable human future, the politics, education and financial arrangements around the globe – or governance, universities and corporations – need fundamental restructuring. This task is impossible to achieve if humankind does not creatively draw on what Berry calls the “four wisdoms”: 1. the wisdom of the classical traditions, that is to say the wisdom of traditional religions and philosophies; 2. the wisdom of native peoples; 3. the wisdom of women; 4. the much more recent and newer wisdom of science. This is a profound insight, for we have so far little explored the spiritual resources of science and nature. The convergence of traditional spiritual perspectives of a religious consciousness with some of the spiritual insights that modern science yields is a truly exciting development for human consciousness and community. So how can we relate ecology, spirituality and our global religious heritage?

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Series: RERC Second Series Occasional Papers;48.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Experience (Religion)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre > Second Series of Occasional Papers
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2014 09:24
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 13:10

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only