Science and Salvation: A Billion Acts of Green

Posted: March 1, 2011 in community affairs, current events, philosophy

Earth Day is approaching – April 22 – And this year it shares the calendar with Good Friday. For some this connection holds significance; for others, less so. Either way, this coincidence has led me to reflect upon the potential to unite unique (and often overlapping) groups of people for one crucial common cause.

I’d like your feedback on Earth Day Celebration ideas for our campus and community. Please share any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas you have to make our day memorable, and to initiate little changes toward making big differences. You can find some starting points here and here. In addition, I owe E.O. Wilson for the ideas below:

The human species has adapted physically and mentally to life on Earth and no place else. Ethics is the code of behavior we share on the basis of reason, law, honor, and an inborn sense of decency, even as some ascribe it to God’s will.

For some, the glory of an unseen divinity; for others, the glory of the universe revealed at last. For some, the belief in God made flesh to save mankind; for others, the belief in conscious free will. Some claim to have found a final truth; I am still searching. I may be wrong, you may be wrong. We may both be partly right.

Do our differences in worldview separate us in all things? They do not. You and I and every other human strive for the same imperatives of security, freedom of choice, personal dignity, and a cause larger than ourselves. Let us see then, if we can work together to solve a great problem. I suggest we set aside our differences to save The Creation. The defense of living Nature is a universal value. It does not rise from, nor does it promote, any ideological dogma. Rather, it serves without discrimination the interests of all humanity.

The Creation – living Nature as we know it – is changing rapidly and appears to be in distress. If the current extinction rate continues unabated, the most conservative estimates still calculate that the cost to humanity, in wealth, security, and quality of life, will be catastrophic. Whatever our background, surely we can agree that each species, however inconspicuous and humble it may seem, is a masterpiece of biology, of divinity. Each species possesses a unique combination of genetic traits that fits it more or less precisely to a particular part of the environment. Prudence alone dictates that we act quickly to prevent loss of biodiversity and, with it, the pauperization of our ecosystems – hence of The Creation.

You may well ask at this point, Why me? Because religion and science are the two most powerful forces in the world today; if they could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, many ecological problems (not to mention social issues!) would efficiently be addressed. If there is any moral precept shared by people of all beliefs, it is that we owe ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment.

The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of The Creation as possible. Science has provided this much: The more we learn about the biosphere, the more complex and beautiful it turns out to be. Knowledge of it is a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more there is to draw. Earth, and especially the razor-thin film of live enveloping it, is our home, our wellspring, our physical and much of our spiritual existence.

I know that environmentalism is linked in the minds of many with evolution, Darwin, and secularism. I don’t know exactly how or when or why this came to be. But I know the story of a young man, newly trained for the ministry, and so fixed in his faith that he referred all questions of morality to readings from scripture. When he first visited the Brazilian rainforests, he saw the manifest hand of God and in his notebook wrote, “It is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.”

That was Charles Darwin, as recorded in his personal journal in 1832 (now published as The Voyage of the Beagle).

Genesis 2:15
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Islam is described in the Qur’an as the religion of nature. God declares: “Therefore, orient yourself, with all due sincerity and uprightness toward the natural religion; this is consistent with the nature He has created in humankind…this is the straight way. However, most of humanity realizes it not.” (30:30)
  1. Claire says:

    This might interest you I saw a this guy at a conference he backs everything up scientifically and biblically. Lets not also forget that Isaiah prophesied the fall of Babylon before it happened. Sodom & Gomorra; nothing grows there anymore, the list goes on!

  2. Apoptosis says:

    How does earth based progression, pro-environmentalism work with Revelations, armageddon and all that jazz?

  3. Apoptosis says:

    I’m questioning motivation and “gods” word. Whats the point of being pro-progress if the “divine martyr” is to comeback and sweep all believers off there feet leaving non-believer to live in world destroyed by famine, war and all things that occur with “its” return? Why take care of things when paradise awaits?

    Not trying to start a fight, lol, just wondering.

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