Environmentalism Is the New Paganism

Climate activists in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Oscar Brak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Environmentalism Is the New Paganism

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

Yesterday 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 covid-19 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. [C]rimes 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 (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 former United States President 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,” he wrote in a March 31 Twitter post. “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.”

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.”

On March 18, 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 this being’s immune system. This is how climate activists link droughts and bushfires to global warming, even though greenhouse gasses should theoretically create greenhouse-like conditions. It is also how they link pandemics like covid-19 to Gaia’s 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.

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 pope really suggesting that if people emitted less carbon dioxide, then bushfires 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 April 10 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 sin, 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 (see “You Can Survive the Coronapocalypse”).

Several chapters in the book of Job cover God’s explanations of how He controls the Earth’s climate. The systems He created and uses are vast and complicated, beyond human comprehension.

“God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy” (Job 37:5-13).

This passage explicitly states that God commands the weather to work His purposes, whether that purpose is to correct human beings or to show mercy to them.

Centuries later, God told King Solomon that weather disasters are actually tools in His hand to punish people for their sins and to alert them of their need to repent. “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Rather than confessing to potted plants or nbc News, people should pray to the actual one, true Creator God to forgive them for their wicked ways. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in “The Most Deadly Climate Change Deception,” “God will continue to ratchet up the weather disasters until we finally begin to listen to Him! He wants to give us every blessing imaginable, but first, we must turn to Him in humble obedience.”