Environmental Paganism

April was “Earth Day”, or if you accept the United Nations rebranding, “International Mother Earth Day.” Yet rather than focus on real solutions to environmental problems like “acid rain, air pollution, soil degradation, urban sprawl and ozone layer depletion,” UN officials sought to tie the “virus pandemic” to man-made climate change by taking a page from the playbook of ancient Greek pagans.

“Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres. “Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face covid-19, a worldwide health pandemic linked to the health of our ecosystem. Crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans and zoonotic diseases like covid-19.”

This is a really “strange” statement. One of the theories of the outbreak’s origin in Wuhan, China, is that a coronavirus passed from “bats to humans.” But the Chinese have “eaten” bats since ancient times. Habitat degradation has nothing to do with this particular practice. And more significantly, “Mother Earth” is not a sentient being that can call humanity to action. Yet a number of “radical leftists” have embraced the notion that covid-19 is Mother Nature’s “revenge” against humanity.

Even Barack Obama has made this strange connection between a“disease and the climate.”

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.” https://t.co/K8Ucu7iVDK — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 31, 2020

 Obama has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s environmental policies, and he has said that Americans need to vote for Joe Biden so the U.S. can rejoin the “Paris Climate Agreement” that Obama signed in 2016. But “any more consequences of climate denial” indicates that the former president thinks covid-19 was somehow created by carbon dioxide emissions.

“Radical leftists” around the world are trying to link every catastrophe imaginable to the vengeance of “Mother Nature.”

American climatologist Michael Mann asked whether pandemics were Gaia’s immune system fighting back, and shared a link to a Guardian article on Twitter attempting to connect coronavirus to habitat loss.

Yes, a so-called scientist is linking a pandemic to the immune system of the pagan Greek earth goddess Gaia, and journalists are taking it seriously. There is a growing trend among “radical” environmentalists to describe Earth as if it is a sentient being. They link every “natural” disaster, whether there is a proven scientific link or not, to being an “immune” system.

This strange trend is proof of a statement by British thinker G. K. Chesterton: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything.”

Last year, the Federalist published an editorial titled Climate Worship Is Nothing More Than Rebranded Paganism.” It reported that students at Union Theological Seminary in New York were instructed to “confess their sins to potted plants as an expression of worship.” It also reported that 250 people in funeral garb “mourned” the melting of a glacier in Switzerland. These are extreme “manifestations” of nature worship, but the notion that Gaia is punishing “humanity” is gaining ground.

NBC News even has a website where people can confess their ecological sins. “Even those who care deeply about the planet’s future can slip up now and then. Tell us: Where do you fall short in preventing climate change? Do you blast the A/C? Throw out half your lunch? Grill a steak every week? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News.”

Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr. is trying to make his atonement with nature by launching a new climate change prevention initiative. He tweeted a link to his carbon footprint reduction website, accompanied by a picture of Gaia.

“In honor of EARTH DAY, and in tandem with @ProbablyPaigey’s (FPC North Carolina Ambassador’s) 18th BDAY…The as-promised Footprint Coalition official website launch…” https://t.co/SSqu0fXffV #EarthDay2020 #EarthDay50 #FootPrintCoalition pic.twitter.com/EI8u1ITIMA — Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) April 22, 2020

Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys tweeted a photo of herself doing yoga, accompanied by the statement “Blessed Earth Day!! Mama needs all of our love and she’s making sure we slow down and pay attention.”

Actress Drew Barrymore posted a lengthy poem comparing Mother Earth to a dissatisfied wife threatening to leave her neglectful husband: “Your wife’s name is Mother Earth. And she is worthy of it! … But if you take care of her, she will adore you again. And you can live realistically Ever Just after.”

You might think that religious leaders like Pope Francis would take offense at this budding Gaia worship. Yet Pope Francis is beginning to sound like Barack Obama, Michael Mann, and the people confessing to plants. Pope Francis gave a special Earth Day message, and in it he warned, “We have sinned against the Earth.” Two weeks earlier, he suggested that covid-19 might be part of nature’s response to the climate crisis.

“There is an expression in Spanish: ‘God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives,’” said Francis in an interview published in the Tablet. “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”

Is the green Pope really suggesting that if people emitted less carbon dioxide, then bush fires would stop, glaciers would spread, and coronavirus would go away? There is no statistical data connecting wildfires, glacial melting and coronavirus to a common cause, so Michael Mann and Pope Francis are imputing human qualities to the Earth. Pollution can hurt the environment, but nature does not take revenge, because revenge is a human emotion. People are talking as if the Earth is an indignant parent punishing its wayward children.

British journalist Melanie Philips wrote an editorial titled Is the Pope a Pagan? in which she noted, “In the Bible, the ultimate moral authority is God who dispenses justice, both forgiveness and punishment. The pope absolves him of the punishment element which he ascribes instead to the Earth, depicted as a female victim taking her revenge upon humanity for the harm it has done her. Thus the pope selectively edits the Bible’s moral teachings, strips justice itself of meaning, and invests the Earth with both human and divine qualities.”

Many people are coming to view natural disasters as punishment for sin, instead of just being freak coincidences. Some environmentalists are even willing to admit that the punishment is sent from a deity. But they stridently mock the notion that punishment is coming from the Creator of the Earth, the God of the Bible.

People are finding it is easier to believe in Gaia and confess to NBC that they eat steak than it is to admit that there is a real Creator God who does punish us in order to turn us away from sins, which harms us.

God wants people to be good stewards of the Earth, and excessive carbon dioxide emissions may have some localized warming effects in certain parts of the world. But “hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, wildfires and disease pandemics” are not part of Gaia’s “immune” system.

They are “punishments” sent by the God of the Bible to wake people up to the fact that they have “turned away” from Him and His laws, which reveal the right way to live, interact, care for the environment, and succeed in every aspect of human existence.

“It is easier to confess to a houseplant than to ask God for forgiveness.”

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