The fashionable religion of Gaia 135

Earth-worship has been revived.

Now the fashionable religion of the unintelligent intelligentsia, it is  very ancient, very primitive.

The worship of the earth-goddess, Gaia, Isis, Terra Mater … (she had many names), came even before the worship of the moon-goddess, Luna, Diana, Selene, Artemis …

Daniel Greenfield writes, with scorn, but more in sorrow than in anger:

While conventional religion has been on the decline in the modern world, there is a devoutly held belief system … a faith propounded from newstands and newscasts, its proclamations of doom and grace are all around us. It is the green faith.

When all supernatural and unseen entities are banished from the pseudo-rational mind, only one force remains as the source of all life. Earth. Or Gaia, the mother of all life, whose eponymous hypothesis postulated that the planet was a single organism. In the absence of all deities, the planet itself became the deity. Its natural harmony is the way and those who live artificial lives are the sinners.

Harmony with the planet’s creative force is the mark of good people. Those striving to live natural lives. The jet setting nomads who recognize no border or nationality, whose trust fund investments are as global as their enthusiasm about the brotherhood of man. On the other is the farmer who struggles to wrest the natural world to his own ends, the builder who is always creating new structures and products.

Righteousness is measured by the size of one’s “carbon footprint”, a vow of technological poverty, usually sworn by the well-off on behalf of the badly off who unlike them are required to live by it. The ideal is to live as harmoniously with the mother goddess as possible, either through deprivation or complex schemes for juggling resources or carbon credits. These acts of outward piety serve as sacrifices by the faithful to the planet.

The mother goddess is in pain, we are told, crying out because we are harming her, raising temperatures, flooding islands and bringing storms. If we do not relent, she will destroy us. It is up to the faithful who have the special knowledge and who are attuned to her plight, to save mankind from the apocalypse that we have brought on ourselves with our sinful ways.

The EPA in the United States acts as the religious police, protecting the mother-goddess from the blasphemous abuses of the infidels. It is above the law and evidence because it is a religious body and not subject to such secular concerns. But its minions are only the enforcers of a vast international community of faith which is convinced that the doom of mankind is at hand and spends every minute calculating the day when the oceans will rise up and sweep man off the earth for his sins against the planet.

Environmental scientists have become inquisitioners, searching out heresy, denouncing it and destroying the reputations and academic positions of the heretics. The media and the entertainment industry have wholly dedicated themselves to the propagation of the faith …

World leaders are often among the first to adopt a new faith, and the leaders of the modern world are much more likely to kneel at the green altar than they are to hold conventional religious beliefs. The green faith provides them with a revolutionary role as the agents of change, impoverishing their own people, while lining their pockets and those of their friends. It is their kind of religion.

International covenants subscribing to the doctrines of this new faith have already been signed, binding each nation to the ranks of the green. Enforcement bodies have been empowered to protect the planet from the scourge of technology and educational programs have been embedded in every school in the modern world to inculcate children with the tenets of the faith and their responsibilities to the mother goddess.

It is a misnomer to say that the modern world is atheistic. It does have atheists, but they are not the majority anywhere.

More’s the pity! But give us time.

For the most part everyone believes in something, even if it’s only in the redeeming power of carbon credits and recycling. In a unified ecosystem that makes us brother to the whale, and child of the ape –

Not to disagree with his general drift, we butt in here to murmur: well, we are that, are we not? Not brother to the whale, but child of the ape, or at least of a common ancestor –

–  a harmonious environment which we moderns have disrupted with factories, jet planes and nuclear reactors.

The idealization of the environment is not a new phenomenon, it is among the most ancient of faiths. When thunderstorms struck, many of the ancients believed that the sky was angry at them, and we in our skyscrapers notice a warm month and eagerly point out to one another that our sins have made the planet grow hotter. The Romans would have laughed at us, the Greeks would have hooted, but the barbarian would have understood exactly what we were talking about. Like the pseudo-sophisticates, he would not have needed any more evidence than a proclamation by a wise man with sufficient juju.

Without knowing it, without realizing it, our societies have become barbaric in mores and in mindset.

Modern American and European elites congratulate themselves on their superiority to their 19th century ancestors, when in reality that are their intellectual and moral inferiors, sitting on a throne of technolog[ical] and military accomplishments built for them by the ancestors they dismiss as backward.

People have a basic need to believe things. They need to believe that they came from somewhere and that their lives have purpose.

But some of us accept gladly that we came from that ape-like ancestor, and we set our own purposes.

They need to believe that there is a higher force –

We know there are many higher forces – including the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. What we don’t know is why many believe in a divine higher force. But we don’t mean to carp. We agree with almost everything Greenfield has said so far.

–  a struggle between good and evil, in which they can play a part. …

The earth is tangible in a way that the older beings that man believed in are not. It is the touchstone of all pagan faiths because it is physically present. And that physical presence can then be cloaked in all sorts of mummery as a rock hurtling through space becomes the mother goddess of all life. When all other faiths have been dismissed by the high priests of the altimeter, it is the primitive source that they return to.

He goes on to discusse science as a belief system, and the “science” that supports the green religion:

But of course science is a wholly different thing from religion. This we all know. Science, we are told, is based on facts, while religion is based on faith. But every religion at its peak has insisted that it was the proven truth. Its esoteric proofs were incomprehensible to the laity, but they were there. And only a fool or a lunatic would disbelieve them. Intelligent people knew that the truth was the truth. As intelligent people know today that it is absolutely ridiculous not to believe the thing that some of the experts tell them they should believe.

The difference between the two rests in the ability to challenge a consensus based on proof, rather than in finding proof to support an existing consensus. Any intelligent person can do the latter, it is why debates on any given subject, no matter how trivial, can continue endlessly. It is not intelligence that sets the scientist apart, but integrity. And the green faith has repeatedly demonstrated how little integrity it has and how willing it is to put its beliefs ahead of the science.

This is not a new phenomenon, in or out of science. Human beings need to believe things, and the scientific method is a hedge against that weakness. But the only true defense against it is character, a commitment to the truth apart from any other beliefs. But how can one ask people to set aside their belief in the doom of mankind, the billions of dollars invested in preventing that doom and the moral transformation of society that can be achieved by leveraging that doom.

The Global Warming debate asks researchers to choose between their science and their religion, their pocketbook and their reputation. It is a miracle that there are any who have not fallen along with the procession to the green altar. It is hard to blame those who have.

Much as we respect the pocketbook, we don’t find it hard to blame the betrayers of science at all.

After that Greenfield becomes rather obscure (here’s the link again for those who want to hear him out).

He ends with this, speaking of course not for us – us atheists and himself – but for them:

When we have nothing else to trust in, all that remains is the green, the natural renewal of the world, the primitive cycles of the seasons and the degeneracy of man into a savage who is at one with the mother goddess of the world.