While it calls primarily upon scientific data for support, the ecological movement is a religion with its own ecotheology. Georgetown University professor Victor Ferkiss approvingly says that ecological concern “starts with the premise that the Universe is God.” Carl Sagan, the recently deceased high priest of cosmos worship, declared with the authority of academia behind him: “If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars?” No, it does not. Reverence does not pertain to things but to persons.
One can hardly escape the similarity between a native bowing before a stick or stone which he credits with some occult power, a witch worshiping “Mother Nature,” and scientists and university professors crediting mystic evolutionary forces with producing the human brain. It is a perversion to give reverence to the impersonal creation instead of to the personal God who created us, a perversion entertained in order to escape moral accountability to our Creator. Therefore the Bible indicts in the clearest terms those who, like Sagan and many of his fellow scientists, worship the creation instead of its Creator; and it warns clearly of the consequent perversion of morals and behavior.
Underlying the environmental movement is the belief that mankind is the product of evolutionary forces inherent within the universe. Based upon that theory we must therefore get back in tune with nature, our Mother, rather than with the Creator. New Agers (and they include increasing numbers of scientists) have adopted the view long held by shamans and Eastern mystics that the universe is a living entity of which we are all an integral part. What is needed, therefore is to recognize our essential oneness with nature or “the Universal Mind” and to experience this oneness through “higher states of consciousness.”
This growing pagan spirituality with its worship of creation instead of the Creator is an ideal vehicle for joining in partnership science and religion. As early as 1988, Willis Harman, president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell), was giving speeches on “The Immanent Reconciliation of Science and Religion,” a reconciliation, of course, which could not include true Christianity. Nevertheless, Christians are being drawn into this coalition. The ecological crisis is used to justify that process.
Increasingly, scientists are adopting the shamanistic view that Mother Earth is a goddess named Gaia. This belief is promoted at high-level gatherings of scientists. Conferences of the Dallas-based Isthmus Institute regularly draw leading scientists and religionists together to discuss “science and spirituality.” Usually held at a University of Texas campus, typical conferences include discussions of the “spiritual” aspects of ecology and of “Gaia.” Of course, their meaning of “spiritual” is pagan/pantheistic and anti-Christian.