Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mirror of God


The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has some interesting data on the views of various religious groups on climate change:

Earth Day takes place on April 22 each year. One issue at the center of public discussions about the environment is global warming: whether it is occurring and what its causes might be. An analysis by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life of a 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press examines views on global warming among major religious traditions in the U.S.

Global warming

Data from a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 23-27, 2008, among 1,502 American adults. Results for other religious groups are not reported due to small sample sizes. Question wording: From what you've read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not? [If "yes," ask]: Do you believe that the earth is getting warmer... 1 - Mostly because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, OR 2 - Mostly because of natural patterns in the earth's environment?

I'm reminded of some of the beautiful statements of Baha'u'llah about the natural world:

"Look at the world and ponder a while upon it. It unveileth the book of its own self before thine eyes and revealeth that which the Pen of thy Lord, the Fashioner, the All-Informed, hath inscribed therein. It will acquaint thee with that which is within it and upon it and will give thee such clear explanations as to make thee independent of every eloquent expounder. Say: Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God's Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. Were anyone to affirm that it is the Will of God as manifested in the world of being, no one should question this assertion. It is endowed with a power whose reality men of learning fail to grasp. Indeed a man of insight can perceive naught therein save the effulgent splendour of Our Name, the Creator. Say: This is an existence which knoweth no decay, and Nature itself is lost in bewilderment before its revelations, its compelling evidences and its effulgent glory which have encompassed the universe." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 141) "By Thy glory! Every time I lift up mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and Thy loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine omnipotence." (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 272) The natural world can be imagined as a kind of mirror reflecting that has the potential to reflect the beauty, glory, and love of its Almighty Creator, "The third is the love of God towards the Self or Identity of God. This is the transfiguration of His Beauty, the reflection of Himself in the mirror of His Creation. This is the reality of love, the Ancient Love, the Eternal Love. Through one ray of this Love all other love exists." (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 179)

Our efforts to live on this planet in a way that reflects a consciousness of Creation as God's mirror represents a kind of polishing of this mirror so that it can reflect God's glory as brightly as possible. This is our inestimable privilege as human beings and a means of experiencing the Divine in our daily lives.

1 comment:

  1. I don't get it. Global warming over the last few decades was clearly caused by the decline of the sheep-farming industry in New Zealand.

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