The first thing that struck me about last weekend’s Live Earth event was how closely it resembled a typical contemporary Christian evangelistic festival. Lots of music and entertainment to bring in the people, who then get preached to between (and often during) the sets. Setting aside for the moment whether or not this is an effective conversion strategy, and even whether or not the claims of global warming activists are specious or not, the fact that a this wing of environmentalism has become a religious movement is becoming quite clear.
For example, Amanda Carpenter notes:
If Al Gore wore a high-collared black suit instead of a polo shirt and
jeans to the Washington,D.C.Live Earth concert, he might have been
mistaken for a preacher.
He gave a brief sermon Saturday, July 7 on global warming with a solemn opening.
“Today we are gathered on all seven continents and eight giant concerts and in
10,000 other gatherings, many as large as this one, two billion people, we are
gathered, with one message.”
He then asked those congregated on the National Mall to
commit themselves to his cause.
“I hope that all of you will join me in taking my seven-point Live Earth
pledge, and here are the words,” he said before enumerating his commandments.
As though taking a biblical oath and swearing himself to truth, Gore
raised his right hand and vowed: “I pledge to demand that my country join an
international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming
pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide
in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth!”
Jonah Goldberg also saw the connection:
Some argue that environmentalism has become a secular religion. Buying
carbon offsets, they say, is the modern equivalent of purchasing indulgences
for your sins from the Catholic Church. Live Earth certainly fit into that
vision. The concerts seemed like Baptist hoedowns of yore, except now Gore
is the Billy Sunday for the baby boomer booboisie.
But why the need for a new religion? Aren’t we supposed to be past all that? Why do we need "global warmism?" OpinionJournal.com reader Richard Bennet offers an interesting answer in the context of discussing Al Gore’s NY Times editorial.
[Al Gore said]
But there’s something even more precious to be gained if we do the right thing. The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few
generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational
mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being
forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics
and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.
Mr. Gore clearly lays out his driving force and what he offers to the world:
"a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and . . . a genuine
moral and spiritual challenge." The entire man-caused climate change racket
is a new secular religion that is used to help a drifting generation feel better about itself. Feeling guilty about their prosperity, confused by a world that
seems to resent them, and perplexingly empty after having jettisoned the religion of their parents, the Climatists search for something to make them feel better.
But here is the irony: nearly 500 years after Copernicus took man out of the center of the universe and placed the sun firmly at the center of our little planetary system, the new secular religionists are trying to put man back at the center as the cause of everything. In order to feel good about themselves, they need to feel that man is causing all negative change and only Enlightened Man (Homo goriens) can make it right. Only by listening
to, and following, our modern Moses in form of Al Gore can we reach the Promised
Land. Welcome to the new Middle Ages, all you have to do is believe!
Whether or not you agree with all of Mr. Bennet’s thesis, he is right to question Al Gore’s reasoning. After all, does Gore really think that global warming is one of the few causes in history that offers a "moral purpose" and "spiritual challenge" that unites people across sociological dividing lines? Every generation of Christians for the past two thousand years has experienced exactly that. The only cultural context in which Gore’s claim could be accepted without a smirk would be one in which people are ignorant of history and ignorant of the Christian message. Such a culture would be adrift, longing for something, perhaps not realizing what they are missing and ready to accept any old thing that came down the line. Now that I think about it, this whole global warmism thing is starting to make a whole lot more sense…