Atheism and Theism:  On being ‘Rational’ about Climate Change 

“I confess to Almighty God” and to my readers, that I’m a carbon ‘sinner’. In meeting this considerable challenge, I have contemplated the limits of my capacity for rationality in the realm of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

I have been prompted and to some extent, exonerated by this interesting video featured in The Guardian. It’s theme concerns Atheism and Rationality. As is often the case with The Guardian, the comments section cam be rather more edifying than the original article:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2017/jan/25/atheists-youre-not-as-rational-as-you-think-video?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

I like to consider myself as a thinking Christian who happens to be fascinated by science…who isn’t?

In the Theist / Christian mindset, there are various personal, emotional, social and spiritual consequences of making the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision.

The spectrum of spiritual consequences will depend on the individual’s specific religious tradition, convictions and beliefs which will be coloured by the essence of their life experience.

To help me illustrate this, I’ve picked up on the thread of flying and it’s perceived pro’s and con’s.

So, for example is it…

Q: Rational to fly from London to Berlin?

A: Yes, because it’s cheaper than driving.

A: Yes, because it’s the fastest and most efficient mode of transport.

This list of benefits could be extended to include other factors such as safety and convenience. This author is not overlooking other factors. Clearly, a family emergency could have moral, social and other benefits. However, I would argue that this would represent the exception rather than the rule.

So, let’s consider the same question without the constraint of the intellect. And let’s bring into one’s thinking a degree more sensitivity and consideration for the well being of others and the world’s natural systems and services.

Q: Rational to fly?

A: No, because it adds to the individual and humanity’s collective ecological footprint. Adding further CO2 emissions which are exacerbating climate change. With adverse effects for health, environment, air quality, biodiversity, all forms of life, our weather and the very natural resources that I, my descendants and the wider web of human and other life are fundamentally dependent upon.

In general, the consequence of doing something ‘wrong’ should be addressed and reconciled in the individual’s mind and heart, the conscience being the place where these deeper thoughts and reflections meet.

You will note that I used the word “should” which can be interpreted on the one hand as guilt and on the other, as the examination of one’s conscience. In my response, I didn’t surrender entirely my intellect but deployed it in a more holistic fashion.

What I am positing here is that if an individual relies *only* on the dimension of their intellect that inhabits the shallower and more immediate, material plane, she/he is far less likely to take a course of action that is both good for her/him *and* the wider world.

In the Christian life – thinking feeling, behaving – there exists this premise of surrendering one’s intellect. This being the process that helps us to give way to quiet prayer and mediation. In the scenario that I have painted, this is not for the purpose of denying human caused Climate change. Sadly, this is the disposition of too many ‘cultural’ Christians and Christian fundamentalists.

It saddens me that so many people who self-identify as Christian can not or will not join the moral dots between environmental justice and social justice. Yet this attitude prevails in a great many churches and across the spectrum of denominations and traditions. Too many masters of nature and not enough servants.

So, I am both minded and called to reflect more deeply. This may take the form of prayer, meditation, journaling, blogging etc. Spiritual and cerebral processes that help to make up a form of inner dialogue. Counterintuively, this process helps us remain ‘alive’ to wider, social and environmental needs. You might call this ‘eco-spitituality’, something that helped our anscestors remain connected with nature. A way of being and doing that modern civilization has bred and taught us to unlearn.

If we can learn to slow down and give our brains a rest, we allow ourselves a spiritual and heartfelt encounter that brings us closer to the nature of ourselves, our family, the world we live in and the gift of life itself. That is s good place to meet God and the living universe that conceived our beautiful home, Mother Earth.

As a society or group of societies (British and Western), I think we attribute too much importance on the island of individuality. A realm
that is oriented towards consumption, short term gratification and waste. There is so much more under the iceberg, yet we are collectively destroying that too, in the spiritual and ecological sense.

In a sense, it is not rationality in the deepest sense. What rational person, society or civilisation would deliberately set out to burn their own house down? Yet that is exactly what we are doing. We, the sum of 7 billion souls.

The collective mind of humanity has brought great advances to our civilisation but in its shadow lurk a great many real and existential threats, climate change being but one of them.

In conclusion, I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t seek to be rational. In this unsettling era of popular nationalism, we could actually do with politicians and people who are rather more thoughtful, rational, insightful and reflective.

Yet, this is just one aspect of being human. As individuals, we each have a range of faculties and resources that we can draw upon. These can help to empower and enrich our emotional, behavioral and spiritual intellect.

Just as Theists do not have some kind of spiritual or moral superiority, nor do Atheists have the monopoly on rational thinking. To suggest either is dogmatic and breeds unnecessary division, conflict and hurt.

ALL people, regardless of their spiritual, religious or personal beliefs can work, live and love together.

Peace and love.

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Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos

Around its edge zone, and from glacier top to ice shelf bottom, Antarctica is melting. Above-freezing surface temperatures during the austral summer of 2016-2017 have resulted in the formation of n…

Source: Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos

Abnormal Antarctic Heat, Surface Melt, Giant Cracks in Ice Shelves — More Troubling Signs of a World Tipping Toward Climate Chaos

robertscribbler

Around its edge zone, and from glacier top to ice shelf bottom, Antarctica is melting. Above-freezing surface temperatures during the austral summer of 2016-2017 have resulted in the formation of numerous surface-melt ponds around the Antarctic perimeter. Large cracks grow through Antarctic ice shelves as warmer ocean currents melt the towering glaciers from below. The overall picture is of a critical frozen region undergoing rapid change due to the human-forced heating of our world — a warming that has brought Antarctica to a tipping point, for such fundamental alterations to Antarctic ice are now likely to bring about a quickening rate of sea-level rise the world over.

Surface Melt Visible From Satellite

During 2016-2017, Antarctic surface temperatures ranged between 0.5 and 1 degree Celsius above the already warmer-than-normal 1979 to 2000 average for most of Southern Hemisphere summer. While these departures for this enormous frozen continent may not sound like…

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The Human World Has Never Experienced A Time When Global Sea Ice Was So Weak and Reduced

robertscribbler

Neven — one of the world’s most beloved sea ice trackers — has again taken a break from his much-earned sabbatical to issue yet one more warning on the state of global sea ice.

His report, based on this month’s bombshell National Snow and Ice Data Center statement, can best be described as an urgent call for action on the part of the global community to redouble efforts aimed at reducing the wide-ranging and expanding harms caused by the terrible warming trend we have artificially forced upon our world.

Neven is a kind, honest, and open soul. He is also one of the smartest and decent fellow bloggers I have had the good fortune of encountering in my many travels during my last four years of covering the slow motion global train wreck caused by our widespread and vastly irresponsible burning of fossil fuels. In other words, the…

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Honoring the Spirit of the Wind — A Farewell to Fellow Climate Scribbler David T. Lange II

robertscribbler

Over the following days everything in PDX dried out — the air, trees, soil. There was a snapping sensation as all moisture was expelled. Like … second crack (coffee roasting). I felt it. It smelled acrid… It’s no wonder the Pacific Northwest is burning in explosive wildfires.David T. Lange in his description of impacts caused by the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge during 2015.

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To say that climate change is a crisis intertwined with a vast, burning-driven damage to human, plant, and animal bodies caused by particulate air pollution and its related 7 million annual (human) deaths is the very epitome of understatement. No-one knew this better than my good friend and fellow scribbler David T Lange.

wildfire-smoke-portland-oregon-2015-dt-lange-under-the-dome

(David T Lange took this photo from beneath the hot dome of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge during the summer of 2015. At the time, wildfire smoke from blazes sparking off…

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