A statement widely attributed to the great British Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton describes the modern period as perfectly as any single idea can: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything.”
One of these substitute gods has been nature. Indeed, of all the false gods, nature is probably the most natural for people to worship. Every religion prior to the Bible had nature-gods; the sun, the moon, the sea, gods of fertility, gods of rain and so on. That is why the farther Western society gets from the Christian religion, the more nature is worshipped.
Every common sense person cares about the environment. But caring about the environment is not the same as environmentalism. Environmentalism is a secular religion, whose adherents see the Earth as a goddess to be worshipped. The ancient Greeks, before the time of Christ, also worshipped the Greek Earth goddess known as Gaia.
The man who, more than any other, started the modern environmentalist religion was James Lovelock, who developed the “Gaia hypothesis” in the 1970s. Almost 50 years later, in 2014, Lovelock enthusiastically told The Guardian, “Environmentalism has become a religion!”
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat described the 2009 James Cameron blockbuster film, “Avatar,” as “Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism, a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.” Making God and nature one entity was a major reason for the film’s popularity. Douthat added, “The threat of global warming, meanwhile, has lent the cult of Nature qualities that every successful religion needs: a crusading spirit, a rigorous set of ‘thou shalt nots,’ and a piping-hot apocalypse.”
When you ask atheists and many agnostics what they believe in, the most common answer is “science.” There is nothing higher than science for an atheist and many agnostics because the natural world is all there is. So, people turning to worship the Earth, the Environment or Nature is almost inevitable in a secular world devoid of Judeo-Christian principles and values.
The Sacred Scriptures takes an entirely different view. We read; “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth“. This contains the most radical idea concerning creation in the ancient world. It stated, for the first time in history, that God created nature and is not Himself part of nature. The Book of Genesis also relates that God tells human beings to, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Both instructions infuriate Earth-worshippers. They strongly oppose fruitfulness and urge people to have no more than one child, so as to have a minimal human impact on Mother Earth. But the second part concerning ruling over nature is what really angers them. Hopefully, the Corona Virus will awaken in young people, who have been taught by foolish nature-worshipping teachers and raised by idiotic nature-worshipping parents, the foolishness of worshipping nature rather than subduing it.
Nature, it turns out, is not necessarily our friend, and certainly not a God. The Original Sin of Adam changed the relationship between the human race and nature. If it were up to nature, we’d all be dead: Animals would eat us; weather would freeze us to death; disease would wipe out many of us. If we don’t subdue nature, nature will subdue us. It’s that simple.
Nature is beautiful and awe-inspiring, but it is also brutal and merciless. “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” says Alfred Tennyson, as he aptly describes nature as a world of strife and conflict and violence. Nature follows no moral rules and shows no compassion. The basic law of all biological life is “survival of the fittest,” while the basic Judeo-Christian Law is the opposite: the survival of the weakest with the help of the fittest. Nature wants the weakest eaten by the strongest.
Hospitals are as anti-natural an entity as it gets. Only human beings make hospitals. We do so, not by worshipping nature but by subduing it. If the Coronavirus destroys the foolish worship of nature and leads more people, especially the young, to a new respect for the Judeo-Christian worldview, it might be one of the silver linings in this catastrophe.
Edited by Fr. Tom Huff from an article by Dennis Prager