God vs. Mother Nature
Some months ago I was pondering on the concept of belief systems and what people actually believe is at the root of their philosophies. Christians have God. Greens have Nature. That led me to think of the comparison of God vs. Mother Nature.
Whilst scripture promotes, in general, good behaviour such as "though shalt not kill" and "though shalt not covet thy neighbour's goat" etc. it doesn't deal with environmentalism or the understanding of nature, let alone man's impact upon nature. In these days of growing environmental awareness and pressing developments in the state of the planet we live on, religion itself doesn't address green issues. Granted you can be religious and still have both environmental awareness and concern, but literally living by the word of the lord only leads to people being good to eachother (you would hope) and hoping to earn their way into heaven.
People are welcome to have their religious views but the reallity is that there are still a lot of people pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, making pointless journeys in gas-guzzling cars, using too much electricity and consuming "like there's no tomorrow" (although the "credit crunch" does seem to have put paid to that for now). What use is religion when you don't have a planet left to pray or worship from? Indeed, maybe by then you'd have gone to heaven but that is utterly disrespectful to the 6 billion souls on the earth, all the creatures and the planet itself. Disrespect and desecration of nature are inexcusable so people of religion need to forget spreading their word roll their sleeves up to do some genuine work on sustainability, only then are their efforts genuinely for the good of mankind.
What is interesting is that some religious types have noted the fact that more people are waking up to environmental issues and in some cases are likening environmentalism to a new-found religion, citing us as "weather worshippers" and claiming greens to have a radical agenda. I discovered such opinion when I searched to see if my title for this post "God vs. Mother Nature" was unique and unfortunately it wasn't. But seeing Christian opinion stating a fear that "green religion" is merely a tool for "the left" to gain power is pretty laughable. Besides, wasn't Jesus a charitable person, a socialist?
I'd like to point out that "weather worshipping" was a daily practice LONG before man created religion as a setting for his moral and spiritual compass; individuals and communities were far more in touch concerning the cycles of the seasons than they seem to now and when men put their faith in gods of wind, rain and sun they were hoping for their beliefs to have practical affects on their survival. "Praying" for the right weather was alive long before any of the Abrahamic religions came about.
As for being keenly aware of the environment and trying to make others aware, going green certainly is an agenda. It's not like a preaching agenda where theologists would impose belief systems upon people, or converting from one belief to another; the green agenda is rooted firmly in the earth upon which we all walk, the seas that surround us and the skies overhead. If people aren't too pig-headed in their opinions regarding environmentalism then they can keep their religious beliefs and have an addtional and tangible one too - religion and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive!
In addition, calling the environmental agenda "radical" has potentially negative connotations; the word radical has often been associated with extremities of thought and politics. However the word "radical" stems from the Latin word radix or "root" and, understanding the linguistic base of the term actually makes more sense, returning the term to its core value and reinstating more positive overtones.
However, looking at the amount of effort that may need to be expended to turn mankind from the destructive path that has been followed since the Industrial Revolution, it would honestly require a certain amount of radical thinking in order to be successful; take the fact that SUVs are incredibly common in the US. People love their Hummers, Cadillac Enchiladas & Chevy Suburbs and think it's their god-given right to have cheap gas in order to do 10-15 MPG everywhere. For a country that has 3% of the world's petrol reserves but uses 25% of the world's output demonstrates that only a radical change in attitude will tame the excesses.
So back to the provocative title of this post - "God vs. Mother Nature". Personally? I look out of the window every morning and appreciate my garden and the forest. I praise the sunshine and curse cold grey skies. I work in natural daylight and by the trees. I respect and always keep connected to nature. Is that Mother Nature? The Earth Goddess? The Green Man? Gaia? Or is that what you call God? The Great Outdoors is my church and I have no man-made symbols to bow to or to wave as my banner. What I believe in is what I stand on and what will consume my earthly body one day.
As for the competition? There is no competition. You can't deny nature and you're welcome to have other beliefs too. If we can all get along and just realise that so many of our actions can have negative consequences then we can do something about it, and first let's stop polluting and consuming so much.