Everyone is religious. People will have their religion. The particular religion does not, necessarily, have to include worship of a god -- but it must include a dogma and rituals.
For many on the left, environmentalism has become a religion, no real surprise there. But the reason for the need of some religion, any religion, to fill the spiritual void on the left is rarely discussed. This article will examine some of the implications, and complications, of the new green creed -- which is, in fact, an ancient creed. It was once called "paganism."
Even atheists are religious. They have a dogma (God does not exist) and they have a vast number of rituals. (Most of their rituals involve lawsuits over the use of the term "God.") They have multiple proselytizing websites. They even have a church. Their religion gives the atheists' lives significance. If there is no soul and no afterlife then this life is all that we have. To give meaning to meaninglessness, atheists occupy their time instructing non-atheists on the meaning of the meaningless. This is silliness, of course, but the religion of atheism gives a structure to its practitioner's otherwise admittedly pointless existence.[i]
Likewise environmentalism. Seen as a religion, environmentalism is Judaeo-Christianity turned on its Hegelian head. Traditionally religion posits an all-powerful God that saves a sinful humanity from itself through the intervention of a human clergy.
In environmentalism, an all-wise clergy, composed of government bureaucrats and "scientists," saves the planet from a sinful humanity. In the green religion human beings are both God and the devil. We are righteous when we act in conformity with the establishment's dogma -- and we are evil if we question it.
The most fundamental environmental dogma is that man is destroying the planet.[ii] The leading tenet of the environmentalists' dogma was simple. (It was simple until recent data that the planet is getting colder started pouring in.) The earth is heating rapidly and the increasing temperatures are caused by the man made release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The church of environmentalism has a long list of litanies and a parcel of penances for the faithful to perform as part of their daily ritual (cleverly termed "lifestyle"). The sacraments include buying the right light bulbs, driving the right car, reprocessing the garbage, using recycled products, purchasing from environmentally "friendly" businesses. The list goes on and on.
Just as faithful Catholics intone, "The body of Christ" when they partake of the Eucharist; devoted environmentalists chant, "We are saving Mother Earth" as they separate paper from plastic.
This church of the earth has a catechism for its young members. (Warning: the site for children that I have linked to in that last sentence is spooky.) The church has the green equivalent of tithing. (There are only three links in that last sentence. There are dozens of different green congregations that will gladly take their parishioners' money.) The church even has indulgences. The worshippers call them "carbon credits." And when the indulgences are paid the believers' multiple sins against mother earth (exhaling is one of them) are forgiven. The followers have purchased the right to believe that they are not only saving the planet ... they are creating heaven on earth.
While the media and the left see environmentalism as hip, trendy, and "scientific," the religious aspect of the environmental movement is nothing but really real "old time religion." Jews and Christians call it "paganism."
The term "paganism" is quite appropriate. Pagan comes from the Latin paganus. A literal translation of the word would be "local yocal" or "hick." A paganus came from the pagus -- from out in the countryside or the "sticks."
The pagans were farmers. They were much more concerned about the harvest than they were about heaven. So they worshipped the weather.
Most of the very early agrarian religions were centered on "worshipping" or otherwise influencing the climate. Their gods and their sacrifices were weather related. What really mattered to these folks was a successful harvest, for without a bounteous yield of crops the afterlife would come ... and come quickly.
For millennia there were scores and scores of these fertility cults all over the world. Human beings need to be able to rely on predictable patterns of weather. We cannot survive, en masse, without a stable climate. So, over the ages, we have funneled lots of spiritual energy into trying to convince the gods, or the clouds, or the spirits, or mother earth to give us that much needed climactic stability.
The only thing that differentiates the modern environmentalist from the ancient pagan is that the environmentalist believes that the government is the god who can fix the weather.
Al Gore has famously claimed about global warming, "the debate in the scientific community is over." Al Gore may be many things to many people -- but he is not a scientist. When a layman declares a scientific debate to be over, one of three things is possible:[iii] (1) the person is a prophet; (2) the person is ignorant and should be ignored by rational human beings; or (3) the person is insane and needs medical treatment.
It follows that someone who believes the layman's assertion is (1) a religious follower of the prophet, (2) someone whose need for a "moral" issue exceeds his or her capacity to reason, or (3) someone at least as delusional as the person making the claim.
There is no hard and fast evidence for the dogma of man made global warming. In fact, our planet appears to be cooling.[iv] It is time for the environmentalists to rethink their theology. Perhaps they already have. Barack Obama is now calling it "climate change." Larrey Anderson is a writer, a philosopher, and submissions editor for American Thinker. His latest award-winning novel is The Order of the Beloved. His memoir, Underground: Life and Survival in the Russian Black Market, has just been released. [i] It took me several years to understand why atheists spend so much time trying to do the impossible, i.e., prove the negative claim that God does not exist. The non-existence of God is not a fact. It is a belief. Once I understood that atheism was a religion (a belief system) -- the obsession of atheists with the propagation of their dogma became easier for me to comprehend. [ii] Notice when you read environmentalist literature that the sexist term "man" is used to describe negative impact on the earth by human beings, e.g., Man made global warming. This is part of the feminization and the paganization of the thinking of the left. The traditional male is evil. Mother earth is good. [iii] For example, imagine I, a non-science layman, announced in this article that a cure for cancer has been discovered. No more scientific research is necessary. I declare that the debate about the cause of cancer is over. Cancer, I contend, is caused by allergies. The cure for cancer is the elimination of pollen. I call for a worldwide government imposed ban of all pollen producing plant life. I might be called many things for making such a claim. But "the man who cured cancer" should not be one of them.