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A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future Hardcover – May 30, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The argument of Gottlieb's hopeful, surprising book is that today, religious people and organizations are among the most committed, and most persuasive, environmental activists. Gottlieb's view is global, principally examining religious green activism in the U.S., but also looking at Zimbabwe, Taiwan and the Vatican. And his approach is ecumenical, encompassing Jewish and Christian theologians who have found a powerful biblical call to stewardship of God's creation, and Buddhist teachers who are prompted by their belief in compassion to extend care to the natural world. Church groups have participated in peaceful demonstrations against the Bush administration's energy policy; Jews, inspired by the holiday of Tu B'Shvat, the birthday of the trees, have planted redwoods in denuded stream banks owned by grasping corporations; and interfaith groups have petitioned lawmakers to address global warming. Sometimes religious groups cooperate with secular organizers, as when the Sierra Club and the National Council of Churches co-sponsored a proconservation TV ad. Not only have religious activists helped energize the environmental movement, but environmentalism has reinvigorated religious practice: Lay people and clerics alike have crafted new religious rituals that celebrate the Earth, such as Buddhist gathas (short verbal formulas) for recycling and Christian liturgies for Earth Day. Gottlieb keeps academic jargon to a minimum, so this timely book should have crossover appeal. (May)
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"Roger S. Gottlieb has written a seminal book examining the emerging debate on environmental ethics among the world's great faith traditions and what that means for the future of environmental stewardship."
--Carl Pope, Executive Director, The Sierra Club

"This should be vital reading for anyone who thinks they know what the future of the environmental movement is. Gottlieb will show many people worlds they didn't even think existed! A timely book; a wonderful collection of stories; and some hard questions. Excellent."
--Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation

"Roger S. Gottlieb presents a comprehensive view of the nexus of religion and the environment. The specific stories of faith-based environmentalism provide a bright picture of the faith community's capacity for caring for God's creation. If we actively follow his lead, we will go a long way toward being more effective stewards of our fragile planet."--Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

"Gottlieb's depiction of globalization as a non-democratic system of commodification of humans and environment is incisive. ...Religious environmentalism needs to face both its profound diversity and the inequality which globalization produces. Eminently readable, this book would make student discussions far more knowlegable and sophisticated. It provides insights to religious environmentalists and helps broaden the views of the despirers of religion. Above all, this is a hopeful and wise book." --Environmental Ethics

"Roger S. Gottlieb is the foremost voice in joining spirituality, environmentalism, and progressive politics. In this critically important book, he creates a needed sense of community, engenders hope, gives us direction, and impels us to act on behalf of the earth and all its beings."--David Landis Barnhill, editor of At Home on the Earth: Becoming Native to Our Place

"Roger S. Gottlieb's A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future offers a superb insight into the larger issues of an integral Earth-human survival...a most needed guide."--Father Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work: Our Way into the Future

"Beautifully written, carefully researched, and insightful...A stunning achievement and must read for students and scholars interested in religiously inflected sustainable living in the face of eco-injustice and the loss of hope in our time."--Mark I. Wallace, author of Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature

"A Greener Gaith does an excellent job of detailing the vast, diverse facets of contemporary religious environmentalism, drawing on the author's extensive knowledge and familiarity of the movement. In so doing, Gottlieb provides some impassioned and well-argued reasons for why religion (of a certain type) should play a prominent role in environmental politics."--H-Environment


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195176480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195176483
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roger S. Gottlieb is professor of philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the author or editor of seventeen books and more than 150 articles on environmentalism, religious life, contmporary spirituality, political philosophy, ethics, the Holocaust, feminism, and disability. He is internationally known for his work as a leading analyst and ex-ponent of religious environmentalism, for his passionate and moving account of spiri-tuality in an age of environmental crisis, and for his innovative and humane description of the role of religion in a democratic society. He is editor of six academic book series, on the editorial boards of several journals, contributing editor to Tikkun Magazine and a frequent internet presence on Huffington, Patheos, Tikkun Daily and other sites.

His two most recent books are both recipients of Nautilus Book Awards: for fiction, __Engaging Voices__ and for spirituality, __Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters__, which was also listed as one of Spirituality and Practice websites 'Best Books of the Year.'

Gottlieb's writings have appeared in top academic journals such as the Journal of Philosophy, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Conservation Biology, and Ethics; in popular publications such as E Magazine online, The Boston Globe, and Orion Afield; and in anthologies celebrating the best of Jewish writing, environmental ethics, religious life, spirituality, the Holocaust, and disability. Widely respected for his unique range of interests, combination of personal and political passion, clarity of writing, and originality, he is probably the only American intellectual to be reviewed or interviewed in publications as disparate as San Francisco Chronicle, Environmental Ethics, the Boston Globe, Christianity Today, Philosophical Review, Journal of Harvard Divinity School, New Age Journal, Socialism and Democracy, Discover, Chronicle of Higher Education, Sierra Club Magazine, Shambhala Sun, and The American Prospect.

For the last fifteen years Gottlieb has concentrated on the religious, spiritual, and eth-ical dimensions of the environmental crisis and on the place of religion in a democratic society. His anthology This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment is known inter-nationally as the first comprehensive collection on the topic. His 1999 book, A Spirituali-ty of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth was called by Prot-estant theologian John Cobb "a true spiritual guide for our day," and excerpted in Tikkun and Orion Afield. His 2002 book Joining Hands: Politics and Religion Together for Social Change received advance praise from Harvey Cox and Bill McKibben.

Gottlieb's recent work on religious environmentalism, A Greener Faith: Religious En-vironmentalism and our Planet's Future and The Oxford Handbook on Religion and Ecology establishes him as the leading commentator and exponent of this unprece-dented political, environmental, and religious movement. Bob Edgar, head of the Na-tional Council of Churches, said A Greener Faith provided "a bright picture of the faith community's capacity for caring for God's creation" and that following Gottlieb's lead would help us "go a long way toward being more effective stewards of our fragile pla-net." Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, called it a "seminal book examin-ing the emerging debate on environmental ethics among the world's great faith tradi-tions." Thomas Berry, one of the world's leading ecotheologians said it offers "superb insight and is a "most needed guide."

Gottlieb recent work includes __Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming__, a collection of related but distinct short stories which explore the moral, political, emotional, and spiritual dilemmas provoked by the environmen-tal crisis; and asks how, in the face of powerful emotions and deeply contested views, we can live and talk to each other.

In January 2013 Oxford University Press published __Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters__. This book is a unique account of spirituality from traditional religion to the present that reveals the common thread that joins Mahayana Buddhism and Hasidic Judaism, the Sufi Rumi and the Catholic St. Thomas a Kempis, people of all faiths and those who are "spiritual but not religious." Roger S. Gottlieb argues that spirituality is the simple but extraordinarily difficult attempt to face life's rigors and disappointments by becoming more mindful, accepting, grateful, compassionate, and lovingly connected to others. These virtues oppose both the social ego's attachment and arrogance, and any habitual, unreflective religiosity; and the path towards them can be shared equally by people inspired by belief in one God or many, the divinity of nature or the sacredness of life.

As a speaker Gottlieb combines intense analytic intelligence, a personal and humorously engaging style, and an inspiring message of personal responsibility, social change, and spiritual vision. Audiences from universities, churches, synagogues, and community and environmental organizations have found him a riveting presenter whose message resonates long after his formal presentation is done and can lead people to act as well as think and feel.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J Martin Jellinek on December 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A Greener Faith discusses the role of religion and spirituality in the environmental movement. Gottlieb does an admirable job in pulling in resources from all of the world's major religions - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. He writes about the great benefits that people of faith can bring to the discussion of the environment and issues of social justice that are integral to environmental degradation. The writing is scholarly but accessible to the lay person, but don't expect this to be a quick read. It is a deep and thought-inspiring study. My only problem with the book is that Gottlieb tends to bring his own perspective of liberalism to the table, although he owns up to this when he does so (and I agree with his perspective). He offers strong defenses for the more liberal theological perspective. In spite of this, A Greener Faith is well worth delving into and absorbing.
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7 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Gary Bridgman on March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had this book on my wish list because I'm very interested in the topic, as an active Episcopalian and as a river conservationist. But I learned that Gottlieb made a big deal in the book about the famous "every part of the Earth is sacred to my people" speech attributed to Chief Seattle from 1854. That "speech" was actually from a work of fiction written in 1970, incorporated into the narration in an environmental documentary film called _Home_. The producers of the film (ironically enough, it was the media wing of the Southern Baptist Convention) decided to suppress the fictional status of the text and promote it as Chief Seattle's actual words. The hoax-status of the speech means that any well-meaning environmentalists or creation-care advocates who cite it instantly expose themselves and their cause to scorn and embarrassment from conservative critics who seek to discredit sustainable conservation and smart growth. Gottlieb should have known better. He makes the rest of us look like flakes in the process. We don't really need Chief Seattle's buy-in anyway.
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3 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jami S. Beans on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A greener faith is an ongoing, philosophical view on the state of main religions and their misconception and lack of earthly divinity awareness. Much of its theory on the western religion of Christianity and capitalism is quite erroneous and without backing. It is however a good mantra for the Gore crowd.
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