Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Climate liberals appear to view spirituality and faith as a potential weakness they can leverage to achieve their green policy objectives.
Can Spirituality and Religion Help Halt Climate Change?
BY TEMO DIAS
MARCH 13, 2019
Elevating the outlook of the common good and criticizing the destructive moral foundations of society can be part of creating the structural change required to combat climate change.
In times global turmoil full of social divisiveness and mounting controversy, it can seem odd to emphasize the importance of spiritual institutions in our drive to halt climate change. However, faith-based delegations flocked to this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Katowice, Poland, from all corners of our planet. Indigenous leaders, scientists and UN officials rang the bell for attention to the foundational role spirituality plays in halting the growing existential catastrophe of climate change.
In the words of Dr. Debra Roberts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) co-chair of Working Group II during an event dedicated to solidarity, “Faith communities play a powerful role even science is acknowledging.”
This is not simply due to the capacity of religious institutions to shake up the 6 billion of those who identify with a faith worldwide into action. Our Anthropocene era of humans “playing God” is marked by an emphasis on materialism, mounting egocentrism and the loss of the sacredness when it comes to life forms. As a result, many are searching for foundational moral critiques of these societal norms that have become part of the catalysts driving environmental disaster. “When you stop and think about it, religion should be helping,” emphasized His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, the Buddhist spiritual leader, at the COP’s Action Hub.
PHILOSOPHICAL PATH TO ENVIRONMENTALISM
Although very diverse from one another in their philosophical pathways, including the various indigenous beliefs, spiritual institutions envelop environmental issues in a two-tiered structure. First, they ingrain a heightened existential awareness, a connection to the world, a sacred importance of created life forms and emphasis on the reproductive continuity of humanity, where climate change and environmental destruction is an all-encompassing threat. Then, with provided moral practices and behaviors to maintain such existence and life forms, these ecologically conscious actions are grounded as sacred and foundational duties of individuals and community for the continuing family and society — our future generations.
From the perspective of the diverse spiritual bodies backing climate warnings and targets, this is an existential and moral question of our current social behavior requiring holistic change. With this approach in mind, religious leaders and adherents filled seats at the COP24 conferences aware of the crisis humans have wreaked upon creation. To change the status quo, they emphasize embedding scientific, indigenous and local climate mitigations and adaptation strategies into each respective region’s moral practices as has been spiritually done for millennia.
…Read more: https://www.fairobserver.com/culture/religion-spirituality-climate-change-cop24-environment-news-18812/
In my opinion, the idea of perverting faith into an instrument of state control is an utter betrayal of the religious liberty upheld by those who founded the United States. But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists;
Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen S. Nelson
A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut.
Washington, January 1, 1802
Gentlemen, – The affectionate sentiment of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.
Th Jefferson Jan. 1. 1802
Does anyone think Thomas Jefferson would have embraced the idea of seeking to exploit people’s faith to achieve green policy objectives?