Inter-ethical for Saving World


Using Michel Foucault’s theory, Knitter says that there is no meta-narrative and meta-problem; including language, that always limits what we know. Language politically, economically and culturally is conditioned. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the universal problem affecting everyone, namely ecological problem. Due to common problem, inter-religious solutions in solving this problem, according to Knitter, are must be done. Seeking inter-religious solutions must be started with ethics, because it is the soil in which religion grows, rather than formal religion. Mencius describes the same mystical experience transmitted through ethical sensitivity “when they see a child about to fall into a well”. This sameness is called “the mind that cannot bear to see the suffering of others”.

Therefore, all religions are united in the experiencing common problem like ecological problem. The common problem should cause the same response and action. I agree with this notion that religions through mystical and ethical approach have the same point of which can be common ground in order to solve ecological problem. It means that whatever your religion, ideology and understanding of religion are, you are facing environmental problem, over consumption and over population.

Although there is common problem, I think, it doesn’t meant that all religions can elaborate his own religion for seeking the common point with other religions. In fact, there are many religious followers do not want to face environmental problem together. The suggestion for starting with ethics and mystics, I think, is not easy to do because mystical and ethical discourse is too elite which is only a few people can access it. This suggestion makes me remember with Hans Kung idea’s global ethic. However, we quickly have to realize that Kung’s idea, for some extend, faces problems that one of which is political interest.

Therefore, the challenge is how to down earth (earthed; membumikan?) this notion in the practical level. Ethical and mystical point of religions, I think, must be guidance for arranging practical. Many scholars and religious leaders proclaim the ethical point of religion for saving this world, but it practically does not much more work.

In Islamic perspective, the one way to down earth ethical and mystical point of religion is fikih. I wrote environmental fikih (fiqh al-bi’ah) at al-Nadhar bulletin published by P3M Jakarta. In the article, I formulate practical point for saving this world, such as the re-interpretation the meaning of khalifah, ecology as part of Islamic doctrine, the relation between ecology and faith, ecological unbeliever.

At least, ethical and mystical point of religion for ecology, I think, is a new kind of inter-faith dialogue, which passes over theological limit.

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