America’s leading environmental historian, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, calls environmentalism a new religion because it offers “a complex series of moral imperatives for ethical action, and judges human conduct accordingly.”
In other words, issues such as climate change are now much more than about “science.”
And this places a greater burden on environmental theology than it is often able to handle. Success in stirring powerful religious feelings about the environment does not automatically lead to wise and effective policies.
There’s been no doubt to many of us that environmentalism is a new religion, and a political one at that. Too much of what they do and desire has nothing to do with science.
Now the fun question: will the “New Atheists” take on this religion like they have the others (well, some of them?)
I doubt it. The problem with “New Atheists” is that they are too religious. They see too much of a kindred spirit in environmentalism; in fact, some can claim both. Particularly on this side of the Atlantic, many New Atheists started out with a religious background and went away from it. The beliefs may change, but the style of mind doesn’t.