By Dr. Phil Stringer, Pastor Ravenswood Baptist Church, Chicago, Ill.
Environism is a combination of pseudo-science, new age mysticism, paganism, and socialism which serves as a combination of political philosophy and religion. This is clearly an attempt to replace America’s historic Christian culture with a new religion – a pagan religion.
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment was formed in 1993. By April 1994, education and activity kits had been sent to 53,000 American churches. The NRPE’s Executive Director Paul Gorman said, “ . . .how people of faith engage the environmental crises will have much to do with the future well-being of the planet, and in all likelihood, with the future of religious life as well.” The NRPE claims that the environmental movement represents a new religious enlightenment capable of uniting all religions.
The NRPE is headquartered in New York City at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (an Episcopal church). Also located at this church is the Gaia Institute and the Temple of Understanding. One of the recently featured speakers at this church was James Lovelock, author of “The Ages of Gaia.” Lovelock is credited with saying, “The earth, Gaia, is the source of life everlasting and is alive now; she gave birth to humankind, and we are a part of her.” For environmentalists like Lovelock, “Mother Nature” is not an abstract concept but the living planet, a goddess to be worshipped in place of the God of the Bible. Many other “environmentalists” offer similar religious teaching. Dr. Robert Muller, former Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations, author of the World Core Curriculum (which serves as a foundation of Goals 2000 and Outcome Based Education), and chancellor of the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica, has written a book entitled New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality. In a 1995 interview with the World Goodwill Newsletter, Muller said: former Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations, author of the World Core Curriculum (which serves as a foundation of Goals 2000 and Outcome Based Education), and chancellor of the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica, has written a book entitled New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality.
In a 1995 interview with the World Goodwill Newsletter, Muller said:
The UN is humanity’s incipient global brain, and it is part of its global nervous system (media, NGO’s, etc.). We still need a global heart . . .and we still need a global soul, namely our consciousness and fusion with the entire universe and stream of time.
What Muller means is clarified in another speech delivered to World Goodwill. Muller says:
We are temporary living manifestations or incarnations of this earth. We are living earth. Each of us is a cell, a perceptive nervous unit of the earth. The living consciouness of earth is beginning to operate through us. You as cosmic and earth cells, are part of a vast biological and Evolutionary phenomenon which is of first importance at this stage, namely humanity as a whole, the whole human species, has become the brain, the heart, the soul, the expression, and the action of the earth. We now have a world brain which determines what can be dangerous or mortal for the planet: the United Nations and its agencies, and innumerable groups and networks around the world, are a part of this brain. This is our newly discovered meaning. We are a global family living in a global home. We are in the process of becoming a global civilization.
A leading theologian for the “Environist” movement is Thomas Berry, a Roman Catholic priest. The Wanderer Forum Quarterly says:
Father Thomas Berry, C.P., claims that it is now time for the most significant change that Chrisitian spirituality has yet experienced. This change is part of a much more comprehensive change in human consciousness brought about by the discovery of the evolutionary story of the universe. In speaking about a new cosmology, he reminds us that we are the earth come to consciousness and, therefore, we are connected to the whole living community – that is, all people, animals, plants, and the living organisms of planet earth itself.
According to the Florida Catholic (February 14, 1992), Berry says:
We must rethink our ideas about God; we should place less emphasis on Christ as a person and redeemer. We should put the Bible away for 20 years while we radically rethink our religious ideas. What is needed is the change from and exploitative anthropocentrism to a participative biocentrism. This change requires something more than environmentalism.
Berry is an editorial advisor to Creation magazine, which says:
The world is being called to a new post-denominational, even a post-Christian belief system that sees the earth as a living being, mythologically, as Gaia, Mother Earth, with mankind as her consciousness. Such worship of the universe is properly called cosmolatry.
Lovelock, Muller, and Berry are convinced that the Gaia hypothesis is the inescapable, universal truth which has been distorted and forgotten by the human species. Only now, with the emergence of the Gaia hypothesis, is the world beginning to rediscover the truth so easily recognized by the ancient mystics, shaman [a worker with the supernatural], and pagan worshippers of the past. Berry says:
This new period in history might be called the EcoZonic era. It requires that we return to the mythic origins of the scientific venture. We feel the scientists must participate to some extent in shamanic powers. We might say that the next phase of scientific development will require above all the insight of shamanic powers.
In the environist magazine Green Egg, Otter Zell wrote an editorial entitled “On the Occasion of Bill and Al’s Excellent Election”:
We are neo-pagans – implying an eclectic reconstruction of ancient Nature religions,and combining archetypes of many cultures with other mystic and spiritual disciplines – and our beliefs and values are no different from those you describe as your own. We ask no special favors; we wish nothing more than that you be true to yourself, and to your own values and ideals as expressed in Earth in the Balance [by Al Gore]. Know that there are half a million American NeoPagans out here who support you, who voted for you, and who will rally to the aid of your policies for the salvation of earth and the reunification of the Great Family.
Andrea Judith supports the same concepts. She writes:
The basic evolutionary pattern in biological organisms is movement toward greater consciousness. When all parts of Gaia recognize each other as participants in parallel growth heading for an Omega point of coalescence and integrative harmony, then the global consciousness of this planet will have awakened to a realization of identity as a global being. Gaia’s evolutionary thrust is reflected in the spiritual goals of self-realization that comes from acceptance of the Gaia hypothesis as the reason why human behavior must be modified to protect, preserve, and even worship the earth goddess – Gaia.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine features a service called the “blessing of the Animals.” One year the sermon was delivered by then-Senator Al Gore. Some of the animals led down the aisle to be blessed at the altar were: an elephant, a llama, a camel, a python so large that two men had to carry it, birds, algae (brought by Paul Mankiewicz, director of the Gaia Institute), and a bowl full of worms and compost. In his sermon, Al Gore declared that God is not separate from the earth.
Al Gore’s book Earth in the Balance is often considered the most important environist book in print.
Amy Elizabeth Fox, Associate Director of the NRPE, describes their political agenda this way:
We are required by our religious principles to look for the links between equity and ecology. The fundamental emphasis is on issues of environmental justice, including air pollution and global warming; water, food, and agriculture; population and consumption; hunger, trade, and industrial policy; community economic development; toxic pollution and hazardous waste; and corporate responsibility.
The NRPE seeks to convince its religious partners to modify their belief systems to embrace Gaia. Individual members of congregations who truly convert will not mind modifying their behavior to conform to the requirements of the new “earth ethic.”
When environists say that “The planet doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the planet,” they are addressing a pagan concept refuted by Scripture. Scripture makes it clear that both the planet and humans belong to God; however, God has given man dominion over the earth and ordered him to subdue it. Every invention of man, from electricity to automobiles to medicines, is part of the process of subduing nature. Man does not exist for the earth, the earth was created for the glory of God and the benefit of man.
Genesis 1:26-28 says: 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air , and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Scripture warns about the kind of false theology represented in environism.
Romans 1:22-23 says: 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Dr. Phil Stringer is Pastor of the Ravenswood Baptist Church of Chicago. He was the former president of Landmark Baptist College. He is an active Bible Conference speaker, having spoken at over 325 churches, camps, Christian schools and colleges covering forty-six states and twelve foreign countries. He has appeared on over 30 radio and television programs. He is an adjunct professor for the Landmark Baptist College of Haines City, Florida and a visiting professor for Asia Baptist Bible Seminary (Manila, Philippines), Landmark Baptist College (Manila, Philippines), Midwestern Baptist College (Pontiac, Michigan), and Dayspring Bible College (Lake Zurich, Illinois). You may contact him or purchase his book The Transformation at www.ravenswoodbaptist.com.