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A Common Earth Religion: World Religions from an Ecological Perspective



On the basis of a critical analysis of the place of world religions in an era of globalization, and drawing on the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock, this paper argues for the need for a shift in perspective from a world economy to an earth economy, and for world religions to become earth religions. Here the anthropocentrism of the modern world is overcome and humanity is viewed as an integrated element in planet earth as a whole. This view implies that the world religions need to give back to the earth the virtues they have projected onto the world beyond, and abandon their denial of life and their capacity for violence. In secular terms, this means that world religions need to engage with the ecological perspective and start by applying it to themselves. For if the earth can no longer support life, that means the end of the human world, and the end of world religions.