Religion in Environmentalism

In the dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing my pop­u­lar post Reli­gion vs. Gen­der Equal­i­ty & Fem­i­nism, there was a ref­er­ence to reli­gion and envi­ron­men­tal­ism. As if on cue, the Pope has now said:

Is it not true that incon­sid­er­ate use of cre­ation begins where God is mar­gin­al­ized or also where his exis­tence is denied? If the human creature’s rela­tion­ship with the Cre­ator weak­ens, mat­ter is reduced to ego­is­tic pos­ses­sion, man becomes the ‘final author­i­ty,’ and the objec­tive of exis­tence is reduced to a fever­ish race to pos­sess the most pos­si­ble.”

Athe­ists every­where are up in arms with the head­line “Pope blames athe­ists for glob­al warm­ing” all over the web. Read this post for a par­tic­u­lar­ly inci­sive response. When the Pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Sec­u­lar Soci­ety labeled the Pope’s com­ments as inflat­ed and self-serv­ing, mod­er­ate voic­es asked whether this is a sur­prise and should be news in the first place.Globe Planet Earth NASA

If you wish, you can explore and be sur­prised. I con­sid­er the final word on this top­ic to be of Michael Crich­ton, who argues that we need to take envi­ron­men­tal­ism out of the clutch­es of reli­gion and bring it back to the sci­en­tif­ic dis­ci­pline:

We know from his­to­ry that reli­gions tend to kill peo­ple, and envi­ron­men­tal­ism has already killed some­where between 10–30 mil­lion peo­ple since the 1970s.”

You read it right. There is no typo in the above quote.

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  • Very reli­gious peo­ple are fanat­ics, and tend to blame all the prob­lems of the world on non-reli­gious peo­ple. With­out any evi­dence I mean.

  • Some­times I won­der why that is the case, Nita.

  • To quote Steven Wein­berg —

    With or with­out reli­gion, good peo­ple can behave well and bad peo­ple can do evil; but for good peo­ple to do evil — that takes reli­gion.”

  • Actu­al­ly, I find it hard to make the con­nec­tion between aus­ter­i­ty and reli­gion. Ascetic monks aside, the aver­age reli­gious per­son is any­thing but aus­tere. We pour ghee into a fire, for god’s sake, instead of using it to fry jalebis that could feed the poor.

    So even before we get to rad­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal­ism, the very first premise of the Pope sounds shaky.

  • How will one care for the plan­et if you believe that all real­i­ty is a myth, or that a sav­ior is com­ing, or that there is a cre­ator and destroy­er, or that any­one not of your faith is an infi­del and should be pun­ished and so on and on…

    Not to men­tion that almost all the famous places of wor­ship are cen­ters of unbe­liev­able wealth.

  • Anony­mous

    I think envi­ron­men­tal­ism is itself some sort of weird reli­gion. It is based on high­ly illog­i­cal grounds incor­po­rat­ing a large amount of faith, belief, and most impor­tant: fear.

    Fear and rea­son don’t go along well and mass­es ruled by fear, fol­low­ing some dubi­ous cult lead­ers are the per­fect ingri­di­ents for absolute destruc­tion of entire gen­er­a­tions.

    To make it per­fect­ly clear: the thought pat­terns of fanat­ic envi­ron­metal­ists are very sim­i­lar to those of com­mu­nists, facists and final­ly reli­gious fanat­ics.

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