Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Divinization of the World...Tying Religion and Climate Change Together
I continue to be perplexed by governments and even many of my friends/family's disregard or worse, disbelief, in extreme climate changes we are ALL experiencing in recent years. I have been reading/studying this subject for going on ten years now. I may not be a PHD or the most learned of us, but please don't call me "stupid" or "misled". Sure, there are plenty of people politicizing or over emphasizing certain aspects of "global warming", but that doesn't mean that their whole message or underlying truth should be thrown out with the political bathwater.
I read an article (link here) this weekend that has added a whole new perspective to my concerns about our human contributions to the extreme climate changes we are experiencing. I have been a periodic reader of "The Orion" magazine published by the Orion Society for over 20 years. I tend to relate to their core statement:“It is Orion‘s fundamental conviction that humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.” From whatever walk of life we each may come from, this mantra is to me very adaptable to a wide range of human thinking and a unifier when it comes to dealing with many tough problems, including global warming and extreme climate change.
This particular article on "Climate Revelations"takes us to a whole new level of thinking regarding this momentous issue. Written by an espoused atheist, Auden Schendler, it is an interesting call to action for "believers" to see their role in this significant contemporary crisis as responsible activists towards uniting the world in the battle against our future extinction. I found his reasoning and observations to contain some of the most profound "faith based" reasons for action than I have seen in any other writings on nature from a Christian or religious perspective. To that end, I challenge all my family and friends who read this blog from a standpoint of faith to read and consider the idea that "the idea of the divinization of the world- of our lives- is a powerful and unifying concept tying together religion and the climate challenge".
A few of his main points that call out to me are:
1. ...contemplative prayer is a form of meditation, the goal of which is to cultivate an understanding of and relationship with the divine—the life force, the ultimate reality of the world. That ultimate reality might be a dignity that includes not just all living things, but all things. Father Thomas Keating has called the entire contemplative tradition simply “a long and loving look at what is.”
2. The world today is missing the clarity this "practice of contemplation" brings to life's realities...which is why most of us have not moved much towards resolving or planning for climate change.
3. Religion is one process of learning to live in a "dignified world", attempting to tailor men’s thoughts and actions towards what is good for the WHOLE of mankind, starting with our own thoughts and actions.
4. Our modern day mentality towards "work" should include pursuing jobs that contribute to the "sustainability" of mankind, not just potentially worthless dollars in our pockets. After all, if we destroy our world and our climate, what good are the riches we all seem to focus on for our work?
5. Finally, every job in the world in some way, great or small, influences the changing climate. From the menial laborer who cleans up our streets and highways to the architects and engineering companies who decide and execute what types of products and approaches to "building" we use for our cities and highways, to the world's farmers who do or don't incorporate organic farming methods...all our combined activities make some kind of difference towards the whole affect of mankind on this shrinking world we live in.
Personally, I am in the process of "connecting a few dots" from life's notes and support the "divinization of the world". I am beginning to think there is much less of a chasm between the divine and secular agendas. Challenges of nature and climate change are becoming "spiritual" matters in addition to the obvious scientific and secular ones. How can we look at ourselves in the mirror in a positive manner if we are not pursuing the sustainability of life? Climate change is a life and death matter for MILLIONS of humans, both present and future. I believe "God", however you want to call or describe Him, is much more interested in our relationship to nature and sustaining life than he is about our personal moralities or immoralities. This is a larger, more encompassing issue in my thinking than abortion, wars, poverty or famine. This subject overshadows ALL the above in affect on the future of mankind. If God does not share that concern, then I'm not sure I could ever understand or have faith in that "god".
I personally believe nature, God and reason are all together calling on each of us to join together and support solutions to the ravages and future devastation to be caused by climate change...