Animals, Faith and Creation
The Animals, Faith and Creation initiative…
The voices of our major faith and spiritual traditions are often overlooked in discussions about animal welfare and environmental concerns. Most, if not all, major religions and spiritual traditions have similar views on the treatment of animals and everything in God’s Creation.
Early in 2018 The Guibord Center entered into a partnership with Animal Defenders International to work together to raise awareness of the plight of wild animals kept in captivity and used for ‘entertainment’ purposes. Through this partnership the short film ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion. was produced. This film focused expressly on the voices of faith leaders reminding the viewer that animals and all life are sacred, and should be treated as such.
The Animals, Faith and Creation initiative focuses on the values that different spiritual traditions teach about our responsibility to care for all of Creation, to treat it as a sacred gift. In this section we have included events and presentations that lift up the voices and beliefs of our friends and Advisors to The Guibord Center. We are grateful for their ongoing support and participation in this initiative.
Why an Initiative About Animals, Faith and Creation?
by Dr. Lo Sprague, President of The Guibord Center
All faiths have a Creation Story that tells of Something-far-greater-and-wiser-than-we-are creating this wondrous planet and all its creatures.
Most also believe that this act was intentional, not random, and purposeful, not whimsical, part of a divine plan that is generative and positive. This core belief holds that everything on the Earth is sacred, interconnected, relational, and interwoven with everything else.
Yet, today this Creation and many of her creatures are suffering terribly with many already facing extinction. This dire condition is in large part due to the behavior of those who have believed that “God” gave the Earth to them alone, specifically for their own profit and pleasure. It is this sense of divinely endowed ownership that continues to allow for some to see people, animals and the Earth as objects to use and discard without regard.
The Guibord Center joins with the myriad of voices rising throughout the world that counter that belief of entitlement. We join with those ancient and current faiths and spiritual traditions that recognize Creation as sacred. We stand with the sanctity of all living beings and lift up the voices of many who are working faithfully to save and heal Creation.
While we are not the masters of Creation, we accept that we are inextricably interlinked to its well-being and survival. Here then are some of the many ways that The Guibord Center is living out its mission to bring people together to challenge assumptions – to unleash the Sacred – and to affirm the spirituality that, indeed, transforms the world.
In the Beginning … Experiencing What Connects Us
Cantor Mark Saltzman of Congregation Kol Ami offers a special musical presentation of creation stories from six different faiths and cultures. In the Beginning brings those stories to life. The program engages the senses of sight and sound through spoken words and music, the way stories have been told to generations since the beginning…
Partnership with Animal Defenders International
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is globally respected as a premier organization seeking to end animal suffering by addressing a remarkably broad spectrum of abuses. The Guibord Center is partnering with Animal Defenders International to add the voice of faith leaders to their efforts.
ANIMA: Animals. Faith. Compassion.
“A viewer of this film is likely to come away with a renewed appreciation
for all of God’s creatures and a new understanding of our relationship to them.”
—Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary,
National Council of Churches USA
How Different Faiths See 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 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 different faith leaders and scriptures actually have to say about animals.
Did you know that dogs fall in love? That “puppy eyes” are a real thing that makes us fall in love with them? And that chimpanzees have midlife crises? Pulitzer Prize–nominated author Dr. Anne Benvenuti discussed these and many more fascinating facts in conversation with Dr. Lo Sprague. Anne shared research from her forthcoming book, Kindred Spirits: One Animal Family, showing animals and humans are much more alike than we knew.
Sacred Stories of Animals, Faith and Compassion
Our storytellers came from Hindu, Sikh, Krishna and Spiritual traditions to share the stories that are most meaningful to them.
Taken from sacred texts and from first-hand experience, stories of animals illustrate the core values of our faith.