Monday, December 15, 2003

Our New Religion

One of my recurring themes is that as we become less religious, and doctrines like the Fall and Original Sin become ever less relevant and more ludicrous to us, so we find these concepts turning up in the most unexpected places.

We are no longer all sinners against God, naturally inclined to evil - instead (as I blogged last week) "we are natural racists, polluters, misogynists, homophobes. We have sinned against our fellow man and our planet."

I missed this essay by Michael Crichton a month or three back.

"Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die ... "

Link via the great John Daly.

Of course, there were tensions in Christianity between the hellfire preaching strands and the more optimistic soul-savers, and these have their parallels on the modern Left.

A fifteen-year old car thief on a sink estate, terrorising his neighbours, tends to attract the soul-savers, those who see good in everyone. With a few anger-management classes, driving lessons and trips to theme parks, he can be saved - maybe to become a social worker himself.

The 'holy fool' Bob Holman is such a one - and he's also a Christian (though I note he's finally getting out of Easterhouse as he reaches pensionable age).

On the other hand, the middle-class white guy in the BMW, with wife, kids and newly built 4-bed exec detached, attracts the hellfire mob. His inbred racism, sexism and homophobia must be carefully monitored - and they must be always ready to challenge it. And as for the self-employed carpet fitter who aspires to the Beemer and house - there's almost no evil to which he might not be tempted.

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