It’s not exactly a birthday, for we don’t know when exactly she was born. We choose April 22 to think of our mother—the mother of us all. For many of us concerned about the environment, not only is today Earth Day, but April has become Earth Month. To me one of the saddest aspects of our environmental crisis is that certain sects of Christianity are largely responsible for it. Religion working against the betterment of humankind. So it was in the beginning, is now, and hopefully we won’t have to finish the triad. Granted, religions help us to keep our mind on spiritual matters. The problem is when such things become dogma and the real needs of real people are ignored so that a fervently desired fantasy can be lived out by destroying our planet.
In response there are what have been called “deep green” religions. It’s difficult to gain a critical mass, however, when many of those who think deeply about the environment have left religion out of the equation. It seems to me that we’ve got to make peace with our evolved tendencies toward religion in order to have any meaningful discussion about this. Meanwhile global warming continues. It does so with the blessing of a kind of Christianity that sees this world as expendable and exploitable based on an idiosyncratic reading of Genesis. Even though all the evidence points in the opposite direction, we have networks (here’s looking at you, Fox), owned by billionaires who know you can sway Christianity simply by kissing your hand to the moon.
It’s my hope that this Earth Day we might start to think about how to integrate some deep green theology into the kind that sees no room for green in the red, white, and blue. The self-convinced have no desire for conversation about this and those already certain that religion is nothing but superstition tend to agree. Since antiquity, however, the wise have realized that progress comes from the middle ground. Politicians, in their own self-interest, have stoked the fires of division and hatred, knowing that they get reelected that way. Mother Earth, I suspect, is rolling her eyes. She will survive even if we succumb to our own mythologies. We need to learn to talk to one another. We need to accept that we evolved to be religious. We need to look for middle ground while there’s still dry ground on which to stand. It’s not exactly a birthday, but it is a holiday that should be taken seriously. It’s only right to love your mother.