“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping.”
Hubert Reeves, Astrophysicist
Perhaps these words of Reeves are provocative. Perhaps not. Theologies of various religions all deal with the relationship of the divine to the natural world. Those perspectives range from an almost complete separation (the divine created the natural world and is distinct from it) to a complete union (the natural world and the whole cosmos IS the divine–they are one). If you lean toward the latter, Reeves’ comment is not provocative. It is obvious that to do anything destructive toward the planet that we live on is a disrespect to all things divine. The call of such a perspective is to wake up to how we live and how we relate to the planet and all of its inhabitants: animal, plant, mineral, complex and simple.
Even if one leans toward the other end of the spectrum and sees the natural world as totally distinct from the divine, one sees the natural world as belonging to the divine, as the creation of the divine, and, therefore, as a gift of the divine. Anything destructive toward the planet is a disrespect to the gifts of God. The call of such a perspective is to wake up to how we are treating those gifts: animal, plant, mineral, complex and simple.
I don’t know exactly what Hubert Reeves had in mind, but there is yet another perspective: that there is no divine at all, and that the question is how we treat this one planet of ours, and how we live this one life we have. Anything destructive that we do toward the planet is disruptive toward all life on it: animal, plant, mineral, complex and simple. Any experience of joy, happiness, compassion, contentment, peace, health and well-being that we might want for ourselves, our neighbors, our children and our progeny comes down to waking up to how we live and how we relate to the planet and all its inhabitants.
I suppose we could distract ourselves with religious differences, but that in itself would be a form of disrespect. Good morning. Time to wake up.