04 October, 2007

In Search of Eco-Salvation

Great piece by Frank Furedi over at Spiked on how, like a stinking sewage effluent pipe, global warming-as-religion is spilling over into, and fouling the clear waters of traditional religion.

In recent years, some in the church have sought to gain the public’s ear through the greening of traditional doctrines, and Christ the Saviour is fast becoming Christ the environmental activist... Church leaders have embraced the rituals of eco-morality to demonstrate their commitment to a higher good. Absolution through carbon offsets appears to be the way forward... As far as some Vatican leaders are concerned, offsetting carbon emissions plays a role analogous to that of fasting or self-mortification in previous times... Through an implicit reinterpretation of classical dogma, the sanctity of nature and all creation displaces the traditional focus on the sanctity of human beings.
His criticism is not limited to the Catholic church, or even to Christianity, as the following anecdote illustrates (WARNING: swallow coffee before reading).
Eco-spirituality is also seen as a moral resource that can transcend cultural and religious differences. This summer, the 9th Islamic Fayre in Bristol promoted an eco theme. ‘Islam is a religion of peace but is also known as a religion of nature’, stated Rizwan Ahmed, the event’s organiser. And Farooq Siddique, community development officer of the British Muslim Cultural Society noted that the ‘event is also about bringing communities together’. The hope that the appeal of eco-spirituality could counteract the influence of radical jihadist sentiments has encouraged British officialdom to support such initiatives. [emphasis added]
Well, wouldn't that be nice... if it were remotely connected to reality. The over-arching ethic Furedi depicts calls to mind this.
...many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
It's interesting, now that I think about it, how misplaced worry about things getting warm (and therefore more friendly to life) goes hand-in-hand with peoples' love for God growing cold.

Furedi concludes forcefully:
...eco-spirituality cannot really compensate for the loss of traditional moral authority. Indeed the very embrace of the environmentalist agenda can only accelerate the decline of institutions that cannot give meaning to the religious doctrines on which they were founded. The shift away from God towards nature inevitably leads to a world where the pronouncements of environmentalist experts trump those of the priesthood. It will be interesting to see what will remain of traditional religion as prophecy and revelation is displaced by computerised climate models.