Religion There Are Few Opportunities Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1211 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy


Monism implies that anything that hurts the earth also hurts human beings. Moreover, if human beings are not hierarchically superior to the land, then humanity theoretically shares an "essential identity" with all life (Nelson 64). Advaita Vedanta theoretically encourages a sense of reverence for nature. In practice, however, Advaita Vedanta does no such thing. Nowhere in the Vedas is there specific reference to the relationship between a human being and the natural world. Such a relationship does not exist, because both human beings and nature are equally as much a part of Brahman. While this metaphysical construct would make human beings and nature equally valuable in the grand scheme of things, it does not mandate any specific ecological ethical behavior.

Nelson notes that the "dominant Western mindset" is of course far more destructive than that of the Advaita Vedanta. The Western worldview is "especially detrimental to ecological concern" because of the prevailing core belief of duality (61). Duality is embedded in the cosmologies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which have concepts of heaven and hell. Using this dualistic cosmology, a dualistic metaphysic and ethics is created. In turn, a dualistic metaphysic and ethic supports the vision of a universe in which spirit is separate from, and better than, matter. Nelson refers to "transcendental dualism," a paradigm in which matter is separate from and inferior to spirit. Advaita Vedanta does not have this worldview but still allows for a lack of cohesive environmental ethics (Nelson).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Religion There Are Few Opportunities Assignment

There is another potentially problematic paradox within the Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta seems to inform a more robust scientific inquiry by showing that there it is impossible to separate subject, object, and situation (Sriraman and Benesch). On the other hand, Advaita Vedanta suggests that scientific inquiry is groundless and debased because jnana (real knowledge) is only acquired via direct experience of Reality. Jnana is therefore only possible by renouncing the material world in favor of a direct experiential knowledge of the ground of being, Brahman, which cannot be cultivated via the scientific method.

The importance of paradox in Advaita Vedanta is that it has meaningful consequences on how the philosophy is applied to real-world situations. With regards to science, the Advaita Vedanta can enhance scientific inquiry by revealing two things: one, that subject, object and situation are inextricably linked and therefore difficult to study. And second, that a scientific understanding of universal phenomena may be incomplete without a direct encounter with the divine via meditation and renunciation. With regards to ecological ethics, and perhaps other ethics like social justice, the Advaita Vedanta is also paradoxical. On the one hand, the Advaita Vedanta recommends a denial of the physical universe and on the other hand, it draws attention to the inherent divinity in all of life.

Works Cited

Menon, Sangeetha. "Advaita Vedanta." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 5 Jan 2007. Retrieved online:

Nelson, Lance E. "The Dualism of Nondualism: Advaita Vedanta and the Irrelevance of Nature."

Sriraman, Bharath and Benesch, Walter. "Consciousness and Science: an Advaita-Vedantic Perspective on the Theology? -- ?Science Dialogue" Theology and Science 3(1): 39-54

Sharma, Arvind. The Philosophy of Religion and the Advaita Vedanta. Pennsylvania State University, 1995.

Tiwari, Kapil N. Dimensions of Renunciation… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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