MANY in Australia and around the English-speaking world will celebrate Easter this long weekend. I usually go to Church on Easter Sunday. I’m a Christian by culture while an Atheist by choice. I am inspired by the natural world, its beauty and natural order, so perhaps I am also an environmentalist.
Easter can be a time for reflection including about the world around us and how we choose to live our lives.
Practicing Protestant and climate change sceptic, Graham Young, reflects on the meanings of being a modern Christian today at e-journal Online Opinion. He writes:
“Christianity is not even a broad church, but often a seething mass of denominational theological debate. While one cannot condemn science on the basis of ‘eugenics, nuclear warheads and pollution’ no defence of science would be complete that did not deal with these things either.
“Likewise a defence of Christianity that refuses not only to deal with religious extremism but the sort of evangelical Christianity that dominates outside of Europe, Canada, Australia and the north-east and the west coast of the USA, is flawed. All Christians are not creationists, but many are. This cannot be ignored.”
Many at this weblog suggest that environmentalism is illogical and fanatical, while others defend it as science-based. Like Christianity and other belief-systems with large and diverse followings Environmentalism can be difficult to define.
There are those like Tim Flannery who have been influenced by James Lovelock’s Gaia theory and see a natural order that can be easily knocked off-balance by human activity.
I understand that Al Gore, while a committed environmentalist is also a committed Christian who believes in creation. Perhaps for this reason he is so concerned about the idea of man despoiling the earth through greed.
Then there are Pagans who see the religious power of the natural world in the range of experiences it can symbolize. These people ascribe emotions to the natural world and use the turn of the seasons for their own narratives.
Many environmentalists love to hate the developed industrialized world with a loathing justified by their Romantic view of the natural world and subsistence economies. This approach has its origins in the second half of the 18th century in Western Europe.
There are those who, like me, subscribe to the Darwinian model of evolution and see competition and adaptation, sometimes against a backdrop of catastrophic climate change, as fundamental to understanding and accepting the nature of life on earth.
These different approaches inspire a particular attitude to life.
Like many Christians, many Environmentalists believe that through their individual and collective actions they can help create a better world. It’s a worthy ideal. But we tend to differ radically on how this might be achieved – a better world that is.
‘A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists’ reviewed by Graham Young http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8753
A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists: Musings on Why God Is Good and Faith Isn’t Evil by David G. Myers
The photograph was taken yesterday by Jennifer Marohasy standing on the edge of the Jamieson Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Click on the image for a larger – better view.