How Different Faiths See Animals and Our Relationship with Them

Our Relationship with Animals

No matter how humans choose to treat them, the fact remains that animals are living, breathing, sentient beings. They feel. They think. They hurt. They love. The more we learn about them, the more we discover just how deep and complex their bonds are with their families and those with whom they live and interact.

Much of the justification for how humans see and treat animals comes from our beliefs about what our faiths teach us. What is our role in the lives of animals? What’s their place in our lives?

You may be surprised to learn what many different faith leaders and scriptures actually have to say about animals. Faiths will be added as their section is completed.

Jainism: How Jains See Animals

Animals. Faith. Compassion.: Jainism is the first of a series of short films that provide more background on the beliefs of the individual faith traditions featured in ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion.

How Episcopal Christians See Animals

“How Episcopal Christians See Animals”

The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade

“If we take The Scriptures seriously, we have to take these relationships (with animals and the earth) seriously because the relationship with God does not begin and end in ourselves. It begins with God and you and me and the whole created order.”

God bound the animals and human beings and God into an unbreakable and sacred relationship with one another, a covenant. A covenant is a profound relationship that one cannot take lightly. We are in a covenant with God and all the animals and creation.

The Scriptures tell us that God gave humans “dominion” over the animals and all the earth but that’s been warped and taken out of context. If we take a deeper look at what the word “dominion” means, it means nurture, care, love, be a steward of something,.. nursing it to fulfillment.”

Christians understand that “God’s dominion” is one of loving-kindness. The rule of the Lord is one of mercy and compassion and generosity. That has to reflect on how we treat the created order.”

“God’s heart breaks when God’s creation is abused.”

“Christianity’s idea of compassion flows from God’s compassion. God has loved us so completely, so profoundly that God has entered in the human condition so that God knows everything of what it means to be a human being personally. God knows sorrow. God knows grief. God knows pain. God knows suffering. And so God knows compassion.”

The Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski

“Human beings are to be the regents of God, God’s representatives, to care for creatures and bring them to their highest potential. That’s what we’re supposed to do, not to “dominate” them but to be with them and to be their caretakers and lead them to be all that they were created to be, as we should be all that we were created to be as well.”

“God’s dream for the world was that we were in perfect relationship with God, with one another, and with the planet and with all living things.”