Friday, February 11, 2011

Environmentalism: Bad for your Soul, God Will Fix Everything

I'm often asked, "Why do you care about religion so much? Why not live and let live?" Even my own sister asked me this once. The answer is simple: I care because religion fosters ignorance, and ignorance can destroy the world.

Today I stumbled on a perfect illustration: Resisting the Green Dragon.
"A Biblical Response to One of the Greatest Deceptions of our Day

Without a doubt one of the greatest threats to society and the church today is the multifaceted environmentalist movement. ... Environmentalism has become a new religion ... devastating to the world's poor ... threatens the sanctity of life ... Resisting the Green Dragon takes its cue from James 4:7 ... Learn how the Bible powerfully confronts environmental fears and how – in God's wise design – people and nature can thrive together.
The reality is that atmospheric scientists, the ones who actually do the science, have almost nothing to gain personally from their discoveries. They're just doing science because they love it and it's a living.

But's introductory video claims environmentalism is trying to put the entire world under its "destructive control." They believe global warming is a massive conspiracy of fear mongering designed to put scientists in charge of the world and to replace God with a new pagan Earth-worship. They seriously claim that there is no global warming, the environment is fine, and that overpopulation isn't a problem.

Worst of all, they believe God has a plan and won't let us destroy the Earth.

It's almost like they think we're little kids learning to ride a bike, with God running alongside to catch us if we lose our balance. We can use and abuse the Earth as we please, and God will take care of us.

This is why religion is dangerous. It teaches people to be irrational, to ignore scientific evidence, and to hope for miracles that will never come. If these people were in charge, we really would destroy the Earth's environment. Luckily they're not in charge.

But they aren't powerless. Their well-crafted propaganda is available on DVDs, and the influence of groups like is a serious impediment to solving the world's problems. These guys are the enemy of civilization.

"But wait," you say, "those guys are a bunch of nutjobs. You're painting all religions with a single brush! Most Christians, Jews and Muslims are more sensible. Don't lump us all in with these extremists!"

And it's true. I shouldn't paint all religious people with one brush. I know that some of the most committed environmentalists are deeply religious. I know that many churches teach that it's an affront to God to damage His world. And yet...

The simple fact is that religion teaches people, starting in childhood, that they must believe ancient myths that just don't make sense. It teaches that there is a magical father-figure God who will answer prayers and fix things. It teaches that the Bible is divinely inspired, when anyone can see that it is full of errors, contradictions, immorality and acts of genocide. It terrifies people with false threats of Hell and false promises of Heaven. And worst of all, it teaches that when faith and reason collide, you should listen to your heart, not your head. It teaches that prayer and faith are better than common sense and logic.

The "nutjob" extremists who are behind aren't really all that different from your average Lutheran, Jew, or Catholic. They've just taken their religion to its logical extreme.

That's why I say that ALL religion has to take some of the blame for Religion fosters a culture that holds intellect and reason in contempt and glorifies obedience, servitude and blind faith. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that a cult like could take root and thrive in such a culture.


  1. I can heartily agree with that. It's like explaining to people why the demolition of public preschool in Iowa is so scary because I want my child to get an education with more options that private catholic schools.

    NPR recently did some work on how global warming falls along party lines, and it's always baffling to me how people let religion determine their political views on a wide range of topics. I know some religious Dems and Repubs both, of course, but conservative Republicans are more likely to be religious and are more likely to think that global warming is a lie despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    I do think the word is getting out there, though, and hopefully more Christians treat the stewardship aspect of the bible with more respect than the "God will fix it!" angle, which is disastrous at best and cataclysmic at worst.

    I know some people see someone become an atheist and think it is radicalist, but when you realize how much the Western world wants you to believe in what can only be seen as modern mythology, and copied and pasted mythology at that, it is hard just to remain polite and kind when facing the way it controls parts of my life every day.

    The only reason there is still a fight about gay marriage in Iowa is because Christian groups are trying to ban it. The aforementioned preschool issue is cause for concern. And the best schools out here are largely private, religious institutions. The machine is giant and terrifying.

  2. Since when did the following happen.

    1: When did Religion become exclusively defined as a Synonym for Theism? I hear Atheists often claim that, by virtue of being Atheists they have no Religion, and use the term “Religious people” for those who do believe in God. But, Religion is not so defined.

    Religion is really a se of beliefs about the Fundamental Nature of our existence, and not a Synonym for Theism. In reality, everyone has a Religion, as everyone has basic beliefs about our existence.

    Even Secular Humanism fit’s the actual definition of Religion.

    2: Is all Religion exactly the same? You act as if all Religion produces ignorance, fear, ect… but it seems to me that, even if you exclude your own beliefs form the label of Religion (You will likely respond hostilely to the above when I said you had a Religion, happens all the time) you’re argument is shallow tosh. In fact, the specific example you listed is hardly a shared belief by all Christens, much less all other Religions everywhere. I have a Friend in Lebanon who is Catholic and accepts Global Warming for example. In fact, the Episcopal Church USA holds conferences on Climate Change.

    The big problem I have with your Blog, and the entire perspective that it is base don, and for that matter the whole of the Modern Militant Atheist movement, is that it is an arrogant, Hypocritical movement that encompasses all the Negative Traits that it says Religion causes, and that it seeks to counter. Ignorance, fear mongering, hatred of others who don’t agree with you, its all here.

    By calling Religion a Virus you basically say all people who are Religious are infected, and this impedes them from thinking logically and Rationally. You then elevate yourself, as someone ho has no Religion, a someone who can, and everyone who agrees with your beliefs is naturally seen as a Free Thinking Rationalist. You set your own beliefs beyond the scope of Criticism for examination, and act as if such would automatically prove someone else is Irrational, while saying that everyone’s belief system that isn’t exactly what yours is is Religion thus Irrational and dangerous.

    It’s a rather pedantic and remarkably egotistical way to approach a complex topic. But I have come to expect it of late, which is why I don’t treat this as a Serious Intellectual effort. it’s not really about raising peoples consciousness, its about calling them nasty names an pretending to be superior, and justifying it with a make belief threat they pose.

  3. Zarove – You are mistaken. Atheism is not a religion. It has no basis in faith. That's like calling baldness a hair color. As to your accusations of arrogance, try being an atheist for a while. You're the pot trying to call the kettle black.

  4. Craig, you are mistaken. I never once said "Atheism is a Religion". However, you don't espouse merely Atheism but a very specific point of view, and your entire blog, and presumably your book, is more about positive assertions than negative denials.

    So I will repeat myself. You are Religious. Everyone really is. Religion is not a Synonym for Theism, it simply means, by definition, a set of beliefs about the nature of our existence.

    You certainly have this, and even want to proselytise it by converting as many people as you can to your Faith.

    By the way, I know the word Faith is demonised as the opposite of Reason these days, but if you want me to take you seriously, I'd suggest you drip the "Atheism is a Religion like Baldness is a Hair Colour" and the claim that it has no basis in Faith. Of course, you mean "Belief without Evidence", which is not what Faith actually means. Faith comes from the Latin Word Fidese, meaning Loyalty, Confidence, or Trust, not believing something even though there is no Evidence.

    Incidentally, a lot of what you propose is Atheism (Which does extend beyond rejection of Gods existence) IS base don the "Belief without Evidence" faith you eschew.

    And I really don't care if you say I'm too stupid or ignorant or unlearned to know what I’m talking about. I get that form arrogant Atheists such as yourself all too often, in your high and mighty superiority to all those Religious people who dare challenge you.

    Why shouldn’t I see your beliefs as an Alternate Religion, and you as simply a massive Hypocrite trying to bully others to feel superior?

    I certainly can’t see you as Original given that your Baldness quote is just lifted form elsewhere. Argument by Catchphrase never works.

    Your just defending your “Absolute Truth” that can’t be questioned, and refusing to let anyone examine it.

  5. Not that it matters, in reading this post again, it just proves why I gave up these sorts of discussions. Am I really suppose to believe the old tropes about Religion causing X Y and Z? Mainly you focus on Christianity, not "religion", and I still see no real reason why your own beliefs aren’t a Religion. I see contradictions between what you claim the Bible itself contains and what it really does. How am I suppose to believe that when Faith and reason collide, religion teaches you to listen to your heart when the Bible says not to listen to your heart? Can you quote it a single time as saying that? I can note several that say otherwise, and in fact, I can quote one verse that flatly contradicts it.

    But do you care? Of course not. It snot like you actually read the Bible, you just got your ideas from the usual rubbish sources like Dan Barker or some book by Prometheus Publishers.

    Its rather trite, and of course meaningless.

    Still, if the claims you make are false in regard to what the Bible contains, and you are just repeating stereotypes, why should the rest of your argument be seen as even remotely valid?

  6. Zarove – You wrote to me privately and mentioned a "serious question" that you wanted to discuss. I'm always happy to discuss any serious question with civility. But only in public forums – I generally don't engage in private email discussions ... why not do it in public where everyone can benefit? So please feel free to attach your question to this or another appropriate blog posting.

    As to your assertion about faith and reason, I never said anything about the Bible. If you have a chance to read my book, or do some research, you will have discovered that the faith-over-reason is one of the oldest tenets and strongest tenets of Christianity. It was first clearly stated by Tertulian of Carthage, and is fundamental to every branch of Christianity that I know of. No, it's not in the Bible. But then, the Bible doesn't say that Jesus and God are one, either. But all Christians believe it.

  7. Mr. James, I've studied Theology. That’s why I find it a serious problem. Is not really a tenet of any branch of Christianity. In fact, the whole of the Faith VS Reason arguments used today really are ridiculous. The reason I say this is because ultimately, the two aren't at odds.

    While those like you will say they are, this is usually based on not even understanding what Faith actually is defined as. Its not really always "Believing something even though there is no evidence", and the fact of the matter is that this definition of Faith is a relatively new one. Faith comes from the Latin Word Fidese, which means "Trust" or "Loyalty", and this meaning was what the word conferred throughout most of its History.

    Given that Tertulian was writing in Greek, I doubt he used a modern English definition of the word Faith as belief without evidence either. I also don't really think you've sat down and read Tertullian. I have, by the way. I've also read Justyn martyr, so when I hear how he admits that a lot of Christianity is borrowed from paganism it just shows how silly the Atheists who use the argument really are to me.

    I'm not trying to be insulting but, if you get your information from Prometheus Books, or Bakers Freedom From Religion Foundation, or Richard Dawkins, then you really aren't studying the topic at all.

    An that’s the serious question I needed to ask. Why should I see your statements as those which speak in the voice of reason when a good many of your arguments are simply polemic designed to support your own Religious Convictions. Yes you may be offended that I call you Religious, but what other word really fits? And why doesn’t the word Religion fit you?

    The above is most notable when you realise that You really are guilty of the same things you accuse religion of, such as distortion of evidence, cherry picking, and not bothering to understand the topic.

    It just seems to me that you aren’t really so much interested in Logic and reason as you are in promoting what amounts to a Secular Humanist perspective on things, and simply like to drape this in the Authority of Reason. But if the arguments you employ are themselves not really Rational, or the evidence doesn’t really bare out what you claim, how can I take it seriously?

    This is worse when I recall all those times I’ve discussed these matters with Militant Atheists who refuse to admit any flaw to their argument and insist that somehow the reason I don’t agree with them is because I refuse to see the plain Truth. EG, I’ve been confronted with lists of Bible contradictions in the Past, and when I answer them, am told that I’m performing Mental Gymnastics, and that a Plain reading of the text will automatically yield the contradiction. I am just refusing to see it and creating a convoluted explanation for why its not a Contradiction.

    But am I?

  8. Quiet often the interpretation of the passage they apply is obviously wrong when one reads it in context, or heck, a lot of the time if they just read it plainly. Sometimes I’ve even seen outright bizarre interpretations of the Bible that were obviously not part of the actual authorial intent.

    Yet, somehow, if I read the contradictions, and note how the actual text is not contradictory, I’m the one performing mental gymnastics to avoid an uncomfortable truth? And the one who presented the contradiction is, of course, using reason and logic.

    Or look at the above. Here Palpatine really was just a piece of nonsense, wasn’t it? Or the allegation of the Pope being a NAZI? While you didn’t personally make the allegation, you can see why I don’t really think that these sorts of debates are between Religious people who use Faith and Atheist who use reason, I hope. Many of the arguments you see around, or even relayed on your own blog, aren’t really Rational at all, they are spin designed to generate a certain sentiment or lead one to a specified conclusion by framing the discussion to arrive at ones favourable result.

    So why should I really see this as reason, and religion as not reason?

    Or, for that matter, accept your definition of Religion? you use “Religion” as simply “Belief in God”, which is why “Atheism is not a Religion”. But, is Religion really a Synonym for Theism?

    It goes back to the original problem. You really aren’t using the words to what they actually mean, and no doubt I’ll get the usual retort that I am defining Religion my own special way. I’m not,. I’d be more than happy to show you links to what actual academics say Religion is. Religion is not belief in and about gods and supernatural powers, its our beliefs about the fundamental nature of our existence. That’s why, although it condemns Religion, the Third Humanist Manifesto is actually itself a Religious Text, or it discusses how we should understand our existence and how we should lead our lives.

    Faith is not belief without evidence, and the word Faith was not used as such in the Bible (Yes including in Hebrews 11) or in any subsequent Church writer, or for that matter any other Religion.

    You really don’t have a Monopoly on reason and logic either.

    Its not a central tenet of Christianity that we should put Faith over Reason. Rather, Traditional Christian belief is that Faith must be rooted in, and develop from, Reason.

    So why ought I accept the premise of your argument when I can show them to be wrong?

    You may notice that I have cut this post up. Its also a bit choppy and I didn’t make my point as well as I wanted. One reason I wanted an Email exchange is because the word limit in a Blog.

    Still, I’ll close on the central question, simplified to one sentence.

    Why should I accept your arguments when the foundation for such arguments is itself not Valid?


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