Saturday, 8 November 2008

The continuing collision

"Western Civilisation had an innate dynamic drive whose deepest source was its sense of direction and purpose - a confidence in its destiny. This came from Christianity".

Historian John Roberts.

"And I will bring division between you - between your offspring and hers". Genesis 3:15

I was fascinated to read these remarks this week by Dave Scott on the Uncommon Descent website:

"Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for (the modern world). 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, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held (mythic) structures. They are profoundly conservative belief".

We live an in a day which seeks to define itself as inherently pluralistic, where 'spirituality' is either deemed as inherently viewed as an evolutionary miss-demeanor, or essentially practiced as nothing beyond a dualistic 'merging', amidst the illusion of the material, into the ultimate state of non-existence. Within such a context, it is fascinating to see what Mr Scott has touched upon, that the almost gravity-like pull of the Biblical message of Creation, Fall and Redemption cannot actually be exorcised from our lives - it has to be re-defined, made manageable and, of greatest import, achievable by the 'natural' human community - able, it is said, to achieve this goal through its own common will.

In the 15th century, prior to any contact with the West, the Incan king, Pachacuti, builder of the famous city of Machu Picchu, renounced his culture's worship of the sun god, Inti, and for good reason. He understood that the sun was merely part of the physical order, which like himself, was bound to the realities of that realm. In a hymn composed by the king, he renews the almost extinct memory of Viracocha, the omnipotent creator of all things. "He is ancient, remote, supreme and uncreated", noted the king, "He manifests Himself as a trinity when He so wishes. He created all the peoples of the world by His word. He alone is our origin, ordaining our years and causing us to be sustained and grow through the gifts of His creation.He has pity upon our wretchedness and alone judges and absolves us. He should be revered with awe and humility".

We recognize our need for the very 'pattern' which scripture conveys, but like the fallen of Eden, we quickly seek to re-define such matters via the fig-leaves of our terms, our misguided understanding. Only those, like Pachacuti, who stand before the naked truth of our reality can hope to gain true wealth and wisdom - we are either made by one who has marked us with destiny, or we and all we inhabit are inherently irrelevant. These are essentially the only two players in the room. The age-long truth, so mirrored in the aspiration of eternity in our hearts, is that there is indeed one in whom we live and move and have our being, and though He is far above and beyond our most determined means to ignorantly define, He has made Himself known through the coming of the Word.

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