Magazine article The New American

Green Religion: Environmentalism Claims to Be Based on Science but Contains All the Aspects of a Religion. since This Religion Has the Backing of the UN, We Shouldn't Ignore It

Magazine article The New American

Green Religion: Environmentalism Claims to Be Based on Science but Contains All the Aspects of a Religion. since This Religion Has the Backing of the UN, We Shouldn't Ignore It

Article excerpt

Religion: It's as old as man himself. As humans have inhabited this Earth, there has been evidence of religious beliefs of some fashion or another. While the "enlightened" West has largely become secular and has done away with "religion" in the traditional sense, and has claimed to have embraced secularism, religion is still alive and well in the hip urban centers of North American and European nations.

And what religion is this? This religion is Environmentalism, or what some are calling "Greenism." Its practitioners are sometimes referred to as "Greens." It is a "stealth" religion in the sense that many Greens would not consider themselves religious. But they are.

First, we have to define what we mean by "religion." Truly, Environmentalism is not organized as an official religion with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; it's not a religion in the sense that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, or Hinduism are religions. But from an anthropological or sociological perspective, it absolutely functions as a "religion-style" belief system. Contrary to what most Greens would say, Environmentalism is not really based on science, but on something much deeper than that. It's more of an emotional commitment to some deeply held, unshakeable beliefs.

Let's look at some of the core beliefs of Greenism and see if they fit the pattern and thought processes of a religious belief system, a new religion that many "enlightened" people have adopted in place of Judeo-Christian religion and culture. We will see if Environmentalism is indeed a religion, containing a god, an "Eden," a priestly class, prophets, sin, redemption, atonement/indulgences, holy books/documents, a church, holy days, official doctrine, orthodoxy, and heresy.

Fundamentals of the Faith

God: Religions need a god or some object of worship. For Environmentalists, the Earth, or Nature, functions as that god. The Earth, sometimes referred to by her Greek goddess name "Gaia," is regarded as a living organism that should be, if not worshipped outright, at least highly revered and cherished. This goes beyond, say, a Judeo-Christian concept of the Earth as a part of creation, something that was made by the God who should be worshipped, and thus should be respected and cared for, but never seen as somehow "divine."

Eden: The concept of "Eden," an unspoiled paradise where sinless humanity lived in harmony with God, is also present in Environmentalism. Since Nature, or Gaia, takes the place of "god" for Greens, Eden would be a state of paradise in which humans lived in harmony with Nature. Just imagine a planet with no man-made C[O.sub.2] emissions because there is no industry. Imagine, also, a world where there is no overpopulation, deforestation, over-hunting, over-fishing, air pollution, water pollution, desertification, habitat destruction, etc. To Greens, this represents a perfect idyllic world, a paradise, an Eden. The concept of "Eden" for Greens is a pre-industrial Earth, where humans tread lightly on the face of Gaia.

Sin: Sin is a concept found in many religions. Sin for Greens is anything that supposedly offends or harms Gaia. This could include industrial carbon emissions, overuse of resources, overpopulation, or owning private property. The whole idea of free-market capitalism, based as it is on a Judeo-Christian worldview, is considered sinful to environmentalists, with its belief that man has dominion over the Earth, and that, while man should be a good steward of God's creation, the Earth's resources are for man's use.

Salvation/Heaven: Traditionally, salvation was seen as a way to escape sin and damnation and achieve heaven or some form of paradise. For environmentalists, this means creating (or, perhaps, re-creating) an earthly paradise or Eden with humanity living in harmony with Nature (whatever that means) and no pollution, and no ugly industry ruining Gaia's complexion. Sustainability is the new salvation. …

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