About 2,000 to 3,000 years ago monotheism emerged as humanity’s answer to the tribal conflicts that were consuming human lives and destroying natural resources. Over the course of a few centuries most of humanity converted to brand new systems of belief – either Judeo-Christian, Islamic or Buddhist. Among other benefits, monotheism allowed us to cooperate more successfully in larger groups. When every village had its own deities, the gods were always telling us to go kill the people over the hill so we could take their stuff. Monotheism helped us get past that.
I believe that we are at another turning point and that the vision we need today is, at its root, a spiritual vision. Since we’re the only species that perceives its impact on the habitat, we have a sacred responsibility to protect it for our own sake as well as the sake of the biological system as a whole. The gospels of monotheism – Christian, Jewish and Moslem – place this “responsibility” on us, sometimes translated as “dominion.” Gradually, we are accepting this responsibility. If we are to fulfill our duty, we’re going to need a new vision of the future.
And we’re going to need it soon.