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Thinking Green — The New Religion

Think Christianly: Thinking Green — The New Religion

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thinking Green — The New Religion

Al Mohler has written an interesting article worth reading...

"The human species is inherently and resolutely religious. The Bible and the Christian tradition affirm this truth, even as we know that the religious impulse can so easily transform itself into idolatry.

Even the most cursory look at the world's cultures will indicate the religious fervor that characterizes humanity. The only observers who seem shocked by this universal phenomenon are the secularists and the prophets of secularization theory who were absolutely certain that religious faith and religious fervor would disappear in the modern world.

Needless to say, it hasn't turned out that way. The theory of secularization is a shadow of its former self. Leading proponents like Peter Berger of Boston University now acknowledge that the secularization thesis was not an accurate predictor of the fate of religious belief in the modern world. The modern world is not secularized. Indeed, many of the most heated conflicts around the world today involve conflicting faiths. As Berger has commented, it turns out that a few European nations and the American intellectual elites are the exceptions, rather than the rule.

And yet, the intellectual elites are not so secular as they believe themselves to be. As it happens, their religion may not be theistic, but it is a religion all the same.

That fact is confirmed in a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Stephen T. Asma, a professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, argues that the new religion of many secular folk is ecology. As Asma explains, many secular types suffer from "green guilt."

In "Green Guilt," he writes:

Now the secular world still has to make sense out of its own invisible, psychological drama-in particular, its feelings of guilt and indignation. Environmentalism, as a substitute for religion, has come to the rescue. Nietzsche's argument about an ideal God and guilt can be replicated in a new form: We need a belief in a pristine environment because we need to be cruel to ourselves as inferior beings, and we need that because we have these aggressive instincts that cannot be let out.

Asma rightly notes that Friedrich Nietzsche, the nihilist who famously declared that God is dead, understood that religion was not dead at all. He "was the first to notice that religious emotions, like guilt and indignation, are still with us, even if we're not religious."

These "religious emotions," including guilt, explain why so many..."(for the rest of article)

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Blogger Jill said...

Why does that child come home with eco-guilt? Probably because he's been brainwashed 8 hours a day for 180 days out of the year at school to believe that he and other humans are responsible for the destruction of the Earth.

January 19, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

I agree that environmentalism has become somewhat of a religion but Mohler is fooling himself if he thinks we have no role in taking care of our environment. A cursory glance over the statistics for the next decade is enough to cure anybody who thinks we aren't heading towards significant global change.

Why are leaders in the religious right silent on such a huge issue except to level one-sided criticism?

January 19, 2010 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Morrow said...

Hey Barry, good to hear from you! How is grad school? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your studies.

I think Mohler would be all for stewardship of the environment and creation care.

Plenty of evangelicals are concerned with the environment, but the issue as with any ethical issue is the priority and the consquences of certain activities...

see my post here:

if you have the time, watch Dr. Jay Richards lecture on this. I think the distinctions (4 questions) are important to consider in this discussion.

Hope you are well!

January 21, 2010 at 12:21 AM  

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