We’ve watched the recent philosophical and religious greening of America with amazement, as it condemns the release of chemical byproducts of various kinds. In particular, it reviles our carbon-based economy, based as it is on the use of coal, oil and natural gas. It deeply criticizes the release of carbon dioxide, which it links with global warming. It worships our “big blue marble” – the Earth seen in space photography – with its thin and almost invisible atmospheric envelope.
Planet Earth is itself now credited with giving life, and is worshiped by groups like the leftist National Religious Partnership for the Environment. Its goal is to integrate green beliefs with our traditional religious beliefs. Nature worship has become a growth industry. At your local Christian bookstore, you can now purchase a so-called “green Bible.”
As Paul wrote in Romans 1:25, those who went before him did the same thing: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Graeco-Roman society was heavily involved in nature worship. Sadly, so was Israel.
One of the most heartbreaking portions of the Bible tells the story of King Solomon’s descent into the idolatries of his many wives. He spared no expense to erect shrines to their favored idols, chief of which was Ashtoreth:
“And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile” (II Kings 23:13).
She was Baal’s consort, goddess of the sea and of all things green and fertile. It didn’t take long for her cults to expand and spread from northern Israel to southern Judah, at last covering the entire land of the Hebrews.
The following is one of many biblical passages that show the rapid and powerful growth of goddess worship. Note in particular that she was worshiped in places called “groves” and “high places:”
“And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree” (I Kings 14:21-23).
These pagan altars were centers of nature worship, and were considered to be points of power, where the goddess and her companions would come to collect the praises, prayers and gift offerings of her followers. High places were beautifully landscaped groves, gardens and altars, designed to produce a sense of awe and oneness with nature.
In the plainest and most practical terms, they were nature shrines where the practitioners of these debased religions would gather to implore the gods and goddesses to bestow upon them fertility, and upon their crops, bounty. They believed that by honoring the goddess, their cattle and their property would be blessed by her, and that they would escape barrenness and famine.
Here, tree-lined groves and high places, or platforms, were the forerunners of an idolatry that we see re-emerging today; the worship of all things green … the providence of nature, when she is not offended. For, as we are repeatedly told, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”
Of course, she’s the queen of all things luxuriant and fruitful. When you’re on good terms with her, and use non-polluting products, hybrid cars, low-phosphate cleansers, containers and renewable resources, she’s calm and approving. She doesn’t like chlorinated fluorocarbons, oil-based products and non-renewable resources.
She is the queen of recycling and the goddess of all things favorable to nature.
The Green Religion
Just as it was in the ancient days of Israel, people respond at the visceral level when they experience the beauty and power of nature and the forces behind it. They naively suppose that these powers can be personified, and will reward them with favorable temperatures instead of global warming, and fair winds, not hurricanes.
Following the lead of the ancient Greeks, they personify her as Gaia, envisioning the Earth as a living female deity. The philosopher-historian Hesiod wrote that the ancient Olympian gods created her as a fertile base for their opulent lifestyle. In other words, they justified their own behaviors in their vision of the goddess. As we have seen, the basic concept of our planet as a fertile female divine being ran through all the pagan religions of old. Gaia, Ashtoreth, Isis, Artemis, Venus and many others also played her role.
Among those of our generation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; the God of the Bible, is quickly being displaced by the worship of all things green, and all things natural.
Recently, the Toronto Sun published an article that blew the whistle on all the nonsense surrounding this religion in its present incarnation. It featured an interview with Dr. James Lovelock (below), a scientist and environmentalist lauded around the world for his original ideas.
Recently, he has begun to make news, after revealing a personal epiphany: He now views the articles of faith in the green religion as bogus. Once, he was considered the leader of the entire movement!
Written by the Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein, the article began as follows:
“Two months ago, James Lovelock, the godfather of global warming, gave a startling interview to msnbc.com in which he acknowledged he had been unduly ‘alarmist’ about climate change.
“The implications were extraordinary.
“Lovelock is a world-renowned scientist and environmentalist whose Gaia theory – that the Earth operates as a single, living organism – has had a profound impact on the development of global warming theory.
“Unlike many ‘environmentalists,’ who have degrees in political science, Lovelock, until his recent retirement at age 92, was a much-honored working scientist and academic.
“His inventions have been used by NASA, among many other scientific organizations.
“Lovelock’s invention of the electron capture detector in 1957 first enabled scientists to measure CFC’s, [chloroflourocarbons, used in refrigerants, aerosol propellants and medicinal applications, thought to destroy atmospheric ozone] and other pollutants in the atmosphere, leading, in many ways to the birth of the modern environmental movement.
“Having observed that global temperatures since the turn of the millennium have not gone up in the way computer-based climate models predicted, Lovelock acknowledged, ‘the problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago.’”
The “Anthropocene” Era
The recent 2012 U.N. Earth Summit held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, featured the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, looking down upon the conference, while bathed in garish green floodlights. Those who arranged this misrepresentation doubtless saw Christ as the curator and guardian of our planet. As we shall later illustrate, this greatly perverts His true role as Redeemer and Judge.
But the green lights well illustrated the religious theme of the meeting. One Philip Cafaro, speaking on “Climate Ethics and Population Policy,” used the term “Anthropocene,” which characterized the present age as being dominated by man as the destroyer of nature. He and others see that man’s activities must be restrained by a series of international laws and economic restrictions.
We are, in fact, already seeing strict limits being place upon oil development in the Western Hemisphere.
The image that Cafaro presents is that of geologists in the far future, examining this era and discovering only the traces of pillaging, not development.
He depicts man as selfish and destructive, and man’s effect on planet Earth as “interspecies genocide.” Man’s economic development is seen only as bringing mass extinctions to a number of natural species.
This philosophy essentially places man at the bottom of the chain of life. It represents the general belief that man is bent upon destroying the beneficent blessings of nature … Mother Nature. Somehow, he must be stopped.
Such thought, however, is overturned by the simple fact that the history of this planet can be viewed as a series of geological catastrophes, in which man played no part at all. The greatest of these, would of course, be the great Flood of Noah.
Current scientific thought sees man as a rampaging, looting villain, bent upon plundering the Earth’s treasures, at any cost. While this may be true in certain cases, the wealth of this planet far exceeds man’s ability to exhaust it.
Recent estimates of oil and natural gas stores are going up, not down.
In spite of the defection from the cause by many prominent global warming advocates, this has done nothing to slow the juggernaut of public opinion. The recent wave of record heat in the central and mid-Atlantic states has only served to reinforce the thought that global warming is not only real, but a looming threat to civilization.
The heat was followed by an abnormally strong squall line, travelling across the eastern United states and flattening majestic trees that had grown there for two centuries or more. On July 3rd, Associated Press news’ Seth Borenstein represented popular opinion:
“WASHINGTON (AP) – If you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, scientists suggest taking a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.
“Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a power freak wind storm called a derecho.
“These are the kinds of extremes climate scientists have predicted will come with climate change, although it’s far too early to say this is the cause. Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.”
But after writing this statement, he wastes no time in quoting a meteorologist who supports the “global warming” opinion:
“So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.
“ ‘This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,’ said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. ‘The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.’”
Pray? To Whom?
For over a week, the electrical grid in and around Washington, D.C. area was down, torn by winds, trees and debris. Anyone having experienced this sort of calamity was primed for answers. Was human activity really the cause of this calamity? And if so, what can we do to change it?
There are many bureaucrats in authoritative positions who are only too glad to say that anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming was at fault. Why? If they can convince the masses that they know the cause, they can also claim the ability to correct it. Any such claim is a license to extend their bureaucratic power. That means using less oil.
In effect, they are claiming godlike powers, saying that they can control the weather if given the power to regulate human activity. Imprecations to the powers that be, would naturally fall to their powerful institutions. Appeals, amounting to prayers, would be made only to these men.
It goes without saying that the Bible states that only God has that power. It is to Him that we appeal in time of heat, drought and storm. Answers to prayer come only from Him. Still, the drive to avoid insulting Mother Nature continues to rise. Sometimes, it reaches the ridiculous, as illustrated by the following story.
The Navy’s “Green Fleet”
Recently, the Business and Financial News segment of Reuters news service published the following amazing story:
“WASHINGTON – A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon’s controversial green fuels initiative.
“In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the navy has taken to calling the “Great Green Fleet,” the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.”
But for the green religion, sacrifices must be made. This fuel is projected to cost $26 dollars a gallon, as opposed to $3 dollars and 60 cents for each gallon of conventional fuel. However, the initial batches came in a little higher:
“For the Great Green Fleet demonstration, the Pentagon paid $12 million for 450,000 gallons of fuel, nearly $27 a gallon.” Obviously, like wind and solar power, green fuels must be subsidized, or they could not even exist.
Gaia must be pleased. And speaking of her, we return to Dr. Lovelock, the man originally credited with bringing her to life. Concerning claims that “the science is settled” on global warming, he said, “One thing that science has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know.”
But he said something else even more powerful: “It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion. I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all sorts of terms that religions use … The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air.”
Paul’s words to Timothy are advice to a young preacher about to go out into a world of goddess worship and esoteric Greek philosophy, with its own naïve naturalistic point of view. At the close of his letter, he warns the young man about the very things that are reemerging today. On this Earth, some things never change.
“Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
“Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen” (I Tim. 6:20, 21).
There is true science and there is false science. We should learn to tell which is which.