Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Environmentalism: Pagan Religion

Last week I had the privilege, at the urging of two colleagues, to attend the Think Tank conference of truthXchange founded and led by Dr. Peter Jones and his wife, Rebecca. Wow! What a conference! It was superb. All of the presenters instructed us well. I was able to get to know several new friends. The conference theme was “One-ism: A Poison Pill for the Church.” Dr. Jones’ specialization is to expose how paganism is not only overrunning Western culture but also invading the church. Find the conference program here with a few changes. Bob DeWaay did not attend or present, and James Wanliss presented instead of Calvin Beisner. For a corrected program see here.

Dr. James Wanliss, author of Resisting the Green Dragon, made an excellent presentation concerning environmentalism’s roots in paganism and how paganism is invading the church in the form of environmentalism. The session was open to the public.

Dr. Wanliss is associated with the Cornwall Alliance. The latest Cornwall Alliance Newsletter (Jan. 12) links to the following article in The New Antlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society.

Environmentalism as Religion 

Traditional religion is having a tough time in parts of the world. Majorities in most European countries have told Gallup pollsters in the last few years that religion does not “occupy an important place” in their lives. Across Europe, Judeo-Christian church attendance is down, as is adherence to religious prohibitions such as those against out-of-wedlock births. And while Americans remain, on average, much more devout than Europeans, there are demographic and regional pockets in this country that resemble Europe in their religious beliefs and practices.

The rejection of traditional religion in these quarters has created a vacuum unlikely to go unfilled; human nature seems to demand a search for order and meaning, and nowadays there is no shortage of options on the menu of belief. Some searchers syncretize Judeo-Christian theology with Eastern or New Age spiritualism. Others seek through science the ultimate answers of our origins, or dream of high-tech transcendence by merging with machines — either approach depending not on rationalism alone but on a faith in the goodness of what rationalism can offer.

For some individuals and societies, the role of religion seems increasingly to be filled by environmentalism. It has become “the religion of choice for urban atheists,” according to Michael Crichton, the late science fiction writer (and climate change skeptic). In a widely quoted 2003 speech, Crichton outlined the ways that environmentalism “remaps” Judeo-Christian beliefs:
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.
In parts of northern Europe, this new faith is now the mainstream. “Denmark and Sweden float along like small, content, durable dinghies of secular life, where most people are nonreligious and don’t worship Jesus or Vishnu, don’t revere sacred texts, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to the essential dogmas of the world’s great faiths,” observes Phil Zuckerman in his 2008 book Society without God. Instead, he writes, these places have become “clean and green.” This new faith has very concrete policy implications; the countries where it has the most purchase tend also to have instituted policies that climate activists endorse. To better understand the future of climate policy, we must understand where “ecotheology” has come from and where it is likely to lead.

Read more.


traduceri said...

I found your blog only a couple of months back and love it so much, I've been stopping by as often as I can to enjoy your posts and the inspiration you offer! Hope you have a fantastic 2011!
Minanson, part of the Traduceri legalizate team.

Ex Afrika said...

thanks for the cudos! I was really helped by being there.