Posted on 11 May 2011 by logicman
One of the craziest notions being put out by deniers is that climate science is a religion. Saying that science is a religion is an insult to every scientist, whether, religious or not. The very thing that separates science from religion is its insistence on not starting from any pre-conceived view of life, the universe and everything. But divorcing science from religion doesn't mean that science and religion are in opposition. In fact, when it comes to caring for our sisters and brothers of every tribe and tongue, science and religion are staunch allies.
The so-called climate debate isn't, as some would have you believe, a contest between science and religion. There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is real and poses a major threat to our society. And a threat for current and future generations which must be addressed by policymakers as a matter of urgency.
In November 2009, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon addressed a gathering of leaders from many faiths.
"We have technology and the science. Science has made it clear that climate change is happening and accelerating much, much faster than one realises," he said.
"We have know-how and resources but the only vacuum is political will, that is all that is lacking. You can provoke, challenge and inspire political leaders."
"It is not a game of who waits for whom. Industrial countries should take the first step." The major faith groups were involved with more than half of the world's schools, they were the third biggest category of investors, they produced more weekly magazines and newspapers than "all the secular press" in the European Union, he added.
"Your potential impact is enormous. You are the leaders who can have the longest, widest and deepest reach."
Three years ago, the Roman Catholic Church commissioned a report on climate change which will soon be delivered to Pope Benedict XVI. The scientific report includes these words:
We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home.We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses.
By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.
We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Vatican will issue an official statement on the report's findings. However, one could easily fill a whole book with statements on climate change which have been issued by the world's religions. Below are just a few quotes from the many pages of words written by religious groups on the topics of global warming, climate change and environmental damage.
"As American evangelical Christian leaders, we recognize both our opportunity and our responsibility to offer a biblically based moral witness that can help shape public policy in the most powerful nation on earth, and therefore contribute to the well-being of the entire world.... we must reduce our global warming pollution to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, as a society and as individuals we must also help the poor adapt to the significant harm that global warming will cause."
"We are commanded to love our neighbors, but we cannot love others if we do not support actions that will preserve a healthy environment for them.
Skepticism of the science is increasing today for ideological reasons. Skeptics have been using false knowns in one area to shoot down true knowns in other areas. We have reached a point in our public discussions where arguments are being put forward that are specious and distracting. The same arguments are being used against climate change that were used against the health effects of tobacco."
"We are increasingly aware that the finite nature of the planet’s resources and capacity to absorb waste products places limits on economic growth and consumption. For Christians a response will be informed by principles deriving from the perspective of our faith including those of social justice and of restraint.
Justice needs to be secured for those likely to be most affected by climate change today, in particular those in the developing world. We also have a responsibility to act justly towards members of future generations."
"The Climate Institute has worked closely with faith communities in Australia for several years. In 2006, we approached them to provide moral, ethical and spiritual reasons for why we should take action on climate change. The result was a booklet called “Common Belief” which brought 16 different faith traditions together, including Aboriginal people, Baha’i believers, Buddhists, various Christian denominations and groups, Hindus, Jewish people, Muslims and Sikhs."
"Mammon regrettably has no respect for environmental integrity—nor do his followers. The last 250 years have seen a growing decimation of ever more pristine areas of nature to feed the insatiable industrial cuckoo and its resultant consumerism. Forests—particularly tropical forests—have been systematically hewn down, the seas ransacked, the lands made totally dependent on a host of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides for food production. Wastes galore have filled the seas, the rivers, and the lakes, not to mention the landfills."
from Islamic Faith Statement, Alliance of Religions and Conservation
The Hindu tradition understands that man is not separate from nature, that we are linked by spiritual, psychological and physical bonds with the elements around us. Knowing that the Divine is present everywhere and in all things, Hindus strive to do no harm. We hold a deep reverence for life and an awareness that the great forces of nature-the earth, the water, the fire, the air and space-as well as all the various orders of life, including plants and trees, forests and animals, are bound to each other within life's cosmic web.
"Our beloved Earth, so touchingly looked upon as the Universal Mother, has nurtured mankind through millions of years of growth and evolution. Now centuries of rapacious exploitation of the planet have caught up with us, and a radical change in our relationship with nature is no longer an option. It is a matter of survival. We cannot continue to destroy nature without also destroying ourselves."
Hindu Declaration on Climate Change
"The suffering of the world has been deep. From this suffering comes great compassion. Great compassion makes a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart makes a peaceful person. A peaceful person makes a peaceful family. A peaceful family makes a peaceful community. A peaceful community makes a peaceful nation. A peaceful nation makes a peaceful world. May all beings live in happiness and peace."
from Buddist Faith Statement, Alliance of Religions and Conservation
There is a scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is real and poses a major threat to our society. That reality is a matter of grave concern to everyone who cares about their fellow humans of this or of future generations.
It is difficult for any caring person to understand the motives of people - like the Aristoteleans who opposed Galileo - who will not accept even demonstrated facts if those facts contradict their political views that they have a right to pollute and profit. And so they continue to insist that they are right - and everyone else is wrong - about climate science. Their cherry-picks and straw men "prove" that science is completely wrong about everything to do with climate. The ice isn't melting, the planet isn't warming, the oceans are cooling, CO2 is plant food, etc. etc.
Meanwhile, people suffer; the ones who suffer the most are also those least able to do anything about the changes in the climate we as a whole have wrought.