Rebirth of the Sacred: Science, Religion and the New Environmental Ethos

Rebirth of the Sacred: Science, Religion and the New Environmental Ethos

Rebirth of the Sacred: Science, Religion and the New Environmental Ethos

Rebirth of the Sacred: Science, Religion and the New Environmental Ethos


There is also a large and growing consensus in the scientific community that resolving the environmental crisis will require massive changes in our political and economic institutions and new standards for moral and ethical behavior. In this groundbreaking book, Robert Nadeau makes a convincing case that these remarkable developments could occur if sufficient numbers of environmentally concerned people participate in the new dialogue between the truths of science and religion.

Those who enter this dialogue will discover that the most fundamental scientific truths in contemporary physics and biology are analogous to and fully compatible with the most profound spiritual truths in all of the great religious traditions of the world. They will learn that recent scientific research has revealed that all of the 7 billion people on this planet are members of one extended human family and closely resemble other members of this family in genetic, cognitive and behavioral terms. And they will also learn that this research has also shown that we have an evolved and innate capacity to experience the other as oneself on the precognitive level and to engage in spontaneous moral behavior in the absence of feedback from higher level cortical processes associated with making conscious moral decisions.

During the course of this discussion, it should become clear that there are two reasons why the new dialogue between the truths or science and religion could greatly enhance the prospects of resolving the environmental crisis. The first is that this dialogue can serve as the basis for articulating and disseminating an environmental ethos with a profound spiritual dimension. And the second is that the widespread acceptance of ethos could result in the fairly rapid emergence of well organized and highly effective worldwide movement in religious environmentalism.


In the house that seems embarrassingly large and mostly empty now that our children are grown and have children of their own, there is a screened-in porch adjacent to the family room on the second floor. When my wife and I sit on this porch during the summer, after the leaves on the old growth trees in our back yard open and many varieties of birds magically appear, it seems, for a moment at least, that all is right with the world. Laurel oaks and Virginia pines tower over a landscape covered in a canopy of intense green leaves, and members of two families of gray squirrels perform acrobatic feats in the maze of limbs and branches. American goldfinch with bright yellow bodies and black wings, northern cardinals with red bodies and orange bills, and pileated woodpeckers with large red crests and moustaches are frequent visitors. After evening comes and the sky begins to grow dark, the magical mystery tour continues as deer and the occasional lone fox or coyote pass through the thick foliage in the woods behind the house.

But when we sat on this porch during the summer of 2010, it was not possible to feel even for a moment that all was right with the world. the outside temperature was oppressively hot for most of the day, and there were record-breaking heat waves across the United States, Europe, and Asia. the temperature in South Central Pakistan in May was the highest ever recorded in Asia, 128 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average temperature in Moscow in July was an unprecedented 100 degrees Fahrenheit. in August, scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that research based on enhanced climate models indicated that global warming was responsible for these much higher than average temperatures.

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