Philosopher John Gray started his 2007 book “Black Mass” with this declaration: “Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion.” Now, Gray is an atheist, but he realized that so much of modern politics is an attempt to re-inspire a world originally inspired by religion, especially Christianity.
Gray specifically pointed to the political “utopian projects,” like Marxism and Nazism, that came with an eschatological promise of a perfected world, just like Christian theology.
But even beyond Marx and Hitler, Gray considered any political project that aspired to “an all-encompassing transformation of human life,” including the Enlightenment belief in progress, to be a “secular reincarnation of early Christian beliefs.”
Today, secular political discourse includes not only utopian substitutes of the New Heaven and New Earth, but also secular versions of the Apocalypse. Just consider the tenor of our current debates around climate change and the environment.
For example, the new book by Bill McKibben, entitled “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” comes across like a “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” for climate-change activists. The excerpt just published in Rolling Stone magazine brings to mind certain visions that Jesus gave John on the island of Patmos.
In McKibben’s first scenario, the oceans warm to the point that by 2100, “it stops oxygen production by phyto-plankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis’” which, he says, would likely result in the “mass mortality of animals and humans.”
The boiling seas scenario is just one of his apocalyptic horsemen. Others ways that world could end by rising temperatures include melting glaciers and permafrost that unleash “Spanish flu virus, smallpox, and bubonic plague buried in Siberia and Alaska.”
Of course, no apocalyptic scenario is complete without earthquakes and famine, so McKibben tells us that as “ice sheets melt, they take [the] weight off [the] land, and that can trigger earthquakes.” In addition, the added weight of the new seawater starts to bend the Earth’s crust. ‘That will give you a massive increase in volcanic activity. It’ll activate faults to create earthquakes, submarine landslides, tsunamis, the whole lot.’”
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Source: Christian Headlines