The cosmic calendar and the coming millennium
he "cosmic" words of this Saudi Arabian astronaut a few years ago seemed to have the potential to draw forth previously untapped and unimagined powers of commitment, cooperation and ingenuity between the communities of faith and the scientific communities.
Protecting and preserving the planets' people and its endangered species in a unilateral "Noah's Ark" partnership, in terms of prophetic prevention, is the most challenging and pressing issue facing us as we prepare for the coming millennium.
Has the proliferation of literacy made us prisoners to the tribe of scientists? Are they biospheric predators, full of intellectual arrogance and entitlement? In their endless aspirations to be "Lords" of creation, have they pumped poisons into our planet beyond the point of repair? Yes, science has created technological wonders and inventions, but at what costs?
Carl Sagan said we make our world significant by the courage of our questions. To that end, I have a few questions to ask of the religious tribes, too. Have the religious communities abused the biblical command to "have dominion" over every living thing? And why have images of European man been used as an ideological weapon for abusive domination of woman, exploitation of nature, and oppression of nature-respecting religions?
If God created, blessed and made a covenant with the different species, as it says in Genesis 5, who is man that he should destroy what God has blessed? Why has the faith community abdicated the environmental stewardship of the Creator's creation? If our stewardship is measured by healthy ecosystems, and responsible, sustainable consumption, do we face eviction by the real Landlord of earth? In the Apocalypse of the Revelation (11:18), a planetary eviction is prophesied, though it does say that it will not be on the tail of any comet.
All hope is not lost. It appears the two tribes can complement each other and solve the brewing philosophical conflicts which have been barriers to true enlightenment. The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is the current evolution of the 1990 Joint Appeal of Science and Religion For The Environment. It is still evolving. The planet's religious leaders have met with the scientists and legislators from all the world's nations to deal with the growing environmental crisis. Past participants have included WorldWatch Institute, the Kenyan Women's Movement to Replant the Forests, Mother Theresa, the High Priest of the Sacred Forest of Togo, Evangelical Protestants, Chief of the Six Indian Nations, Archbishop of Vienna, the Historic Black Church, and U.S. Senators among many other notables.
Together, they acknowledged the fundamental changes of human behavior required to alter the environmental crisis. Pope John Paul II said, "Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world in which both can flourish."
Mother nature is the first feminist
Philosophy and science, which has consistently lacked a collective eco-conscience, and which has attempted to conquer nature and space like a man conquers a woman, is now feeling an eco-backlash in much the same way that political and social 'orders' faced a feminist backlash. Catch phrases like the "conquest of space" should immediately remind us that we are now in a violent backlash for attempting to colonize,and conquer Mother Nature, as if nature and the cosmos are enemies to be vanquished. The planet is more powerful than the people. If history has not taught us that lesson by now, there is no avatar that can.
As an Eco-theologist and eschatologist, I share the ecological world view and new world call from Eco-feminists for a more egalitarian way of living. Men in the ecological movement have joined forces with feminists worldwide to declare an end to the patriarchal anthropocentric sinfulness, in terms of relations to other living beings. We have identified the cause of women's pain and struggle: a hierarchical system of domination in which men with power rule all other beings in the cosmos, drawing on their ideological support of classism, sexism, racism and cultural and spiritual imperialism. We oppose 'power over' domination which promotes dualistic and hierarchical oppression.
The eco-spheric Tower of Babel
Frankly, I am glad to see some progress between the two tribes of organized religion and science. However, I have more faith in the spirituality of primal, tribal and indigenous religions. In addition, I feel we must embrace a type of eco-cosmic mentality, with a public declaration of reverence and sacredness for the entire created universe. If eco-spheric predators build a Tower of Babel into the realm of the cosmos and disrespect its sacred integrity, what type of unknown cosmic-catastrophe will rain down on earth?
With their excursions into the womb of the universe, I dread to see the backlash of their eco-spheric "conquest" consciousness. The past parade of meteorites and comets hitting earth will look just like that - a parade.
If the current eco-backlash is an indication of past predatory crimes against creation, then mark your calendar, and say your prayers for the coming Millennium.
|Minister Masada is researcher, author and lecturer. She has been an organizer of support groups for abused mothers and Chairwoman of the Sisterhood of Zion.|