1. The Revival of Paganism in the Green Movement (Remastered)

R.J. Rushdoony • Apr, 11 2024

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The Revival of Paganism in the Green Movement

After the fall of Rome, paganism did not disappear, it remained as an undercurrent in Christendom. And at times it rose to power as in the infamous series of Popes known as ‘The Pornocracy.’ Men who made no pretense of being Christian. For example, a contemporary, Bishop Leo of Crotone, said of John XII that:

“He turned, while Pope, the Lateran palace into his own brothel. The church building deteriorated, and he invoked Jupiter, Venus, and other pagan deities.”

Although The Renaissance was an open revival of Pagan thought, it was for a time beaten back by The Reformation. However, after 1660, with the Enlightenment, once termed; ‘The Illumination,’ the pagan revival began to dominate The West. In the words of Rudolph Sohm;

“A natural law, a natural state, a natural society, and a natural religion shown as the great ideals on the intellectual horizon, and carried away the world of the eighteenth century in a movement of passionate endeavor. These battles prepared the way for the rise of modern humanity.” 1

In other words, as against God’s law, a natural law. Against God’s order, a humanistic state. Against the church, the school, and so on. A natural order, to replace the supernatural order.

At the beginning this movement, because of its hostility to faith, stressed reason as a great arbiter as well as the supplanter of revelation. Natural law replaced God’s law, the state as Gods’ ministry of justice was replaced by a state defining law, creating law, declaring what is Good and evil for itself, and natural society, that is, life lived in terms of nature replaced life as envisioned by God’s law. Religion, instead of being ordered by God’s grace and law, instead of being derived from revelation, now sought its source in nature. All the pagan drama of Greece, all the pagan elements of Rome were revived. All one has to do is to look at the map for example of the United States, and see the influence of the English universities and the pagan revival in the names they gave to American cities: Cincinnati and so on, Athens, Rome. All because of the worship of pagan antiquity.

The world was being de-Christianized. Cornelius Van Til described the direction of non-Biblical thinking as ‘integration downward into the void.’ the Enlightenment took this direction downward in Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Nature and the natural, unredeemed man became the new norms, and revelation became supplanted by revolution, and romanticism further stressed revolution, because the triumph of the lowest, now meant the triumph of the best. Because life ostensibly has its origin out of nothing, so the lowest takes priority, and revelation comes from below. And so today we have the civilized West bowing down to primitive peoples as though they are the possessors of truth, and for having offended against them, we are enemies of humanity. The whole order of common sense and logic has been reversed.

Where nature spoke, and where nature spoke less and less impeded either by reason or revelation, nature spoke the best, it came to be believed. The French reign of terror deliberately executed men of science, men of letters and the arts, because they represented the top element of society, and the best would henceforth come from the lowest. Unless we understand that as basic to the rebellion against the Christian worldview we cannot understand what is happening around us. This worship of nature as the source of all truth, repeatedly affirmed of course by thinkers and poets, received a setback with Charles Darwin.

Nature was now mindless, it was ‘red in tooth and claw.’ It was purposeless and a realm of chance. This meant that man now had to look, not to nature, but to the state as its God. And as men began to look to the state to provide law, power, government and authority, they began to believe in the power of man to govern also evolution.

One of the enduring, and most influential books of the past 40 years which has been continuously in print in North America has been V. Gordon Childe; ‘Man Makes Himself.’ His thesis, of course, is that the scientific man through the scientific state, and we can add the scientific socialist state will now guide his own evolution. Man is in charge of his evolution and also the protection, the control, and evolution of all nature, so the state becomes the custodian of man, and of nature, which gave birth to man.

Man must now play God over creation, and he must do so, not only by controlling the natural world, but also by controlling men. Thus men damage the ecosystem, and therefore impede evolution. How seriously this perspective is viewed has been clearly stated by a friend of mine, Lew Rockwell, who, in his anti-environmental manifesto;

“Founded by David Foreman, former head lobbyist for The Wilderness Society, ‘Earth First’ engages in ‘eco defense,’ and ‘ecotage,’ from spiking trees (which maims loggers) to vandalizing road-building machinery to wrecking rural airstrips. One of its goals is cutting the world's population by ninety percent, and it has even hailed AIDS as a help to that end.”

Of course the leaders of the French Revolution were more modest. They planned the systematic depopulation of France by killing twelve to fifteen million people, in order to make their planned society more workable. Our worshippers of Mother Earth Gaia, want to eliminate ninety percent of the human race. Of course, that does not include them, it includes us. They plan to be the remaining ten percent, because they feel that they alone can be trusted with nature. All of this in the name of reason and nature.

From the beginning, the environmentalists; implicitly more equalitarian than rational, and the Enlightenment thinkers would’ve been horrified by modern equalitarian movements, but their presuppositions made it inevitable. Thomas Chubb, in A Discourse concerning Reason with Regard to Religion and Divine Revelation, published here in England, in 1773, held that God’s revelation was unfair, because millions of people had not received God's revelation. It was unfair, therefore it was not true.

English Enlightenment thinkers and French philosophes felt it their privilege and right to live unconcerned about millions of people, but God, they said, had no right to discriminate or choose. Only a God who made everything available to everybody was, for them, acceptable. Of course, no attention was paid to Romans 1:18-21, where Paul declares that all men know the truth of God, but hold it or suppress it in unrighteousness or injustice. In John Redwood’s words;

“Reason in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was referred to in adoring terms.” 2

The religious focus was being shifted from God to nature and to reason, and these men saw themselves as the voice of reason. They all agreed that reason was the language of nature, and their interest in nature was to embody reason in thought and science.

In reality, the Enlightenment was an age of ridicule, according to Redwood. It was the ridicule of Christianity, and that attitude is still with us. Quoting Redwood further:

“The age which has sometimes been loosely characterized as an age of reason was, in many ways, no more rational that preceding ages. It is difficult to see that Thomas Hobbs was any more reasonable than Thomas Aquinas. Impossible to allege that John Locke’s reason was necessarily superior to the reason of Duns Scotus. All that can be said is that later seventeenth and early eighteenth century thinkers made rather more use of the word ‘reason’ and heralded it as an agent with which they could construct a new universe.” 3

But, as I said with Darwin, the rationality of nature was shattered and the state replaced nature as the incarnate voice of reason. The state as the Hegelians said: “Is God walking on earth.” One result has been the rise of statism therefore, as the new God, as the new source of truth, of objectivity, of justice. The Darwinian mythology replaced God with evolution, conceived of as a developing force within nature. They never entertained the thought that it might be devolution, development downward. No, it automatically had to be upward. So, in time this revived the adoration of nature. Nature was mindless in a sense, but what was the mind, after all but one aspect of nature’s unconscious development? Therefore, because nature is everything, there is no God, and therefore no moral law, and the key to life is: “Be natural, do your own thing!”

Timothy Leary wore flowers in his hair and said; “Whatever you do is beautiful.” One hippy writer, Burton Wolf, called for the total acceptance of everything natural, and he wrote; “Now my mind has opened, and I see that it’s all a part of life; dirt, feces, everything. Feces are groovy.” Well, as one writer said; “It was inevitable that hippy values would lead true believer’s back to nature. Hippies believe that natural was good, being natural was equated with being free.”

So the goal is to be natural, but nature is no longer identified with reason, the state is. As a result the revolt of the students in the nineteen sixties was a shock to their liberal statist parents. It was a revolt not only against Christianity but against the state and against reason. One woman, very much a part of the nineteen sixties movement, told her father in the nineteen eighties at the age of thirty four, why she was childless, had no plans for her life, why she simply shared housing with a man, and why they earned money simply to travel. This was her statement to her father; “We’re all in love with chaos, don’t you see?” We’re all in love with chaos, don’t you see. Unless we grasp what they’re doing and what they’re reason is, exactly this, we fail to understand what is happening all around us. Their religion is the religion of Mother Earth, of Gaia.

The word ‘Gaia’ is related to ge-, earth, as in ‘geology,’ and ‘Geography,’ it is the new paganism, and ‘paganism’ of course means; ‘of the country.’ The more primitive a people, the wiser they were assumed to be by our neo-pagans, because of their natural state. Therefore, give the country back to the Indians or to the Māori’s, or to the Australian natives, and give London back to the third world country people, or give it to them because they never had it. Wherever they go, they have rights, such as you have not.

Very early in America, the myth of the ‘noble savage’ was held to be fact, and it was imposed upon the American Indians. So extensively has this myth penetrated among both whites and Indians, that anthropologist James A. Clifton has written a remarkable book entitled; The Invented Indian. An Indian rights industry has been created in the States, and such a belief propagated as; “thou shalt not say no to an Indian” and; “Indians always utter ultimate truths.” 4According to the myth, North America was once a motherland of countless millions of happy Indians, children of nature, whom the white man corrupted and mostly killed. There were only a few hundred thousand, and they regularly, when they were short of food resorted to cannibalism.

The word ‘cannibal’ comes from the Americas, it was originally ‘Caribal’ named after the Carib Indians, who Columbus first encountered, dear children of nature according to modern thinkers. And the word ‘Caribal’ eventually was corrupted to ‘Cannibal.’ By citing this fact, of the Cannibalism of American Indians, I had an appointment canceled at one university in America, a law school, and the professor at the law school where I was speaking had to leave. because he invited me, and the statement of a faculty member was: “I don’t care how true what you say is, no Christian white man, considering his crimes against humanity, has the right to criticize any of the colored or minority peoples of the world.”

Now, that is what constitutes ostensibly enlightened thinking! The Enlightenment not only believed in the noble savage, noble because unexposed to Christianity, that was the key. One English woman who spent some time in The Americas, was, in fact, very influential in The Netherlands and elsewhere as a secret agent for Charles II, wrote a book in which she defended the noble savage thesis long before Rousseau, a century before! And in which she described even their cannibalism as somehow nobler than anything that Christianity had produced. Now, this is the kind of thinking these people have indulged in, and do indulge in. They also insist that all Indians had an equalitarian society, and lived in peace and happiness.

I was a missionary among American Indians forty, fifty years ago, half a century ago, and I can tell you some interesting stories, and I liked them. But I did not believe in the myths about them. The Indians supposedly had all kinds of skills which they taught the white man.

Lynn Ceci has exposed the myth of Squanto and the pilgrims. 5 Supposedly he taught them how to plant corn in the manner of the Indians. Another scholar cites, with grim examples, Indian oppression and depravity, the story is an ugly one. But Cortés, who rescued the Indians from the Aztec tribe, which had hundreds of thousands of human sacrifices a year of subject peoples, and their bodies then cut up to be sold in the meat markets, they are now idolized. For a long time it was held that the Mayans were innocent children of nature, but now the Mayan code has been broken, and it is obvious that they were bloodier than The Aztecs, but they are still idolized.

The idealization of the American Indians became a part of Federal policy when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt named John Collier commissioner at the bureau of Indian affairs. Collier’s policy was to Indianize the Indian, which meant conforming them to his image of the Indian. His idea of an ideal Indian education came from John Dewey. So, the American Indians of the contemporary United States are all products not of their Indian past, but of John Dewey thinking. They bought the myths of John Collier and John Dewey about what they once were, they do not know their own past.

Gaia has become an icon, worshiped by all our moderns. Our humanists, our Indians and others. It is a new age cult. Indian medicine men supposedly gained their power from a medicine woman, because, according to this new religion, women are closer to mother earth. This tells us why feminism is so closely related to the New Age and environmental and the primitivistic nature-worship of our time. But there is another important element, one cited by John A. Price, the Victimization Theme. The major theme of many in The Green Movement is that Christianity and Capitalism have made victims of the earth, its animals, and its peoples. It was with good reason that the spiritual counterfeits product journal of Berkeley, California, and one of our staff members is one of the governing board members and editors of that journal, devoted recently an entire issue to the Gaia faith and its implications. A world leader of the Gaia movement is Doctor James Lovelock, who has a statue of Gaia in his garden at Cornwall. He is a scientist. He is also a member of Lindisfarne, the new age group whose headquarters are at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint John the divine in New York.

The Green Movement with its Gaia cult rejects the Biblical creator/creature distinction. All things are part of one great chain of being in which all distinctions are held to be unreal. Now, as Alexander comments on this:

“In the end deep ecology won’t work, because it pits itself against reality. Adam and Eve couldn’t hide and neither can we, mankind is different. We do have a status and a mandate by virtue of our createdness and creator, we can abuse our mandate, but we cannot abdicate it. We can exercise it well, or badly. But we cannot lay down our creation mandate and walk away because it is built into our being and woven into the structure of creation.”

Earlier I cited Annie Botley’s comment to her father in telling him why she refused to have a baby, why she had a live-in partner, why she had no thought of the future, why she worked only to spend the money on her pleasures:

“We all are in love with chaos, don’t you see?!”

And modern man, outside of Christ, has a love affair with chaos. We should remember that in Greek mythology, Gaia the earth goddess was the daughter of chaos, the most ancient Greek deity. The English scientist I cited, James Lovelock, is the single person most responsible for Gaia’s current resurgence. The November issue of The Reader’s Digest in the United States has an article praising Lovelock. Lovelock, like others, believes that Biblical faith has destroyed this old and true faith in mother earth, and is responsible for man’s griefs. In Chevre’s words;

“The new age movement is quickly incorporating Gaia worship into its system of spiritual beliefs and practices. The feminists, and ecologically-based spiritualities; witchcraft, goddess-worship, eco-feminism, paganism, and other earth-worship groups, have become strong supporters of the mystical quasi-religious Gaia. Earth-spirituality in particular is quickly becoming equated with Gaia-worship to the applause of most new age leaders. While environmental scientists busy themselves with the formulation of mathematical and computer simulation of Gaia ecosystems, new age writers are going in entirely different directions, they concern themselves with Gaia as a religion.” 6

The goal of both is to capture the world for their new religion. One of these men has written a book, Ernest Callenbach, ‘Ecotopia.’ In it he gives us a vision of the future world as planned by them. Sex and morality are separated, women rule, and production somehow has no real place in Ecotopia. I am reminded of the girl who in the sixties at The University of California campus, and proclaiming the end of a working world, was asked by a reporter who was a liberal; ‘But what about food?” and her response was; “Food is.” No doubt she had never seen a farm.

There is peace in Ecotopia because Ecotopians. both male and female. have a secure sense of themselves as animals, Callenbach says. This is the key, to become animals, living beyond good and evil, dead to God and His law, alive to one's self-will. Do your own thing, be natural. Because nature is God to these environmentalists, they insist on seeing, as William McKibben in ‘The End of Nature,’ every man-made phenomenon as evil.

An important modern source of this green revolution must be cited, it is being swept under the carpet. It was Adolf Hitler. It was National Socialist thinking. Hitler and his movement strongly supported animal rights, that is why Hitler was vegetarian. They believed in nature worship and cultivated it in the Hitler youth. In nudism, in euthanasia, in abortion, in vegetarianism, and much, much more. It spoke of a ‘new world order’ as recently Gorbachev and Bush have also done. National socialism is also strongly anti-Christian. People were less fortunate under Hitler than were trees and animals.

When ‘Earth First’ calls for a ninety percent reduction in the world’s population and welcomes AIDS, we must know that we have here in this movement a threat that makes Hitler and Stalin pale by comparison. It also has not only anti-Christian motives, but racist ones as well. While abortion is defended as a civil right, the fact remains that in the United States as Doctor Ron Paul points out:

“It is argued that blacks should be pro-abortion as part of the civil rights movement, but certain statistics should challenge this notion; two black abortions are performed for every 3 black babies born in this country, approximately four hundred thousand black pregnancies are interrupted each year. Seventy percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. For minorities to equate abortion rights to civil rights invites support of a policy tacitly approved by some who are not displeased with the disproportionate number of black abortions over white. Forty-three of all abortions in the United States are performed on black women.”

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was a Nazi. A fact that is conveniently forgotten today both by the proponents of Planned Parenthood and abortion, and the proponents of the Green Movement. But they are Nazis in their thinking.

Elasah Drogan pointed out that Margaret Sanger was a recruit to Nazism to the core of her being. But, the Green Movement is revolutionary, and it is dangerous. As dangerous a movement as has been seen since the days of the ancient Mazdakites. But Dennis Peacock has made a very telling observation in regard to various modern movements, all ungodly, all evil. The only one to fear, he had said, are those ready to die for their faith. And I wonder how many in The Green Movement are ready to die for their faith? I would qualify that observation with two comments. First of all these environmentalists may not be ready to die for their faith, but some have been ready to kill for it. There have been ugly instances in The United States as evidence of this. Then, second, Christians in confronting their enemy, must be ready to live and die for their faith. How many of us are so willing? And for how many in the church today is their faith merely a form of fire and life insurance, with Jesus Christ as the great insurance salesman? We must take the offensive against this new paganism. No people had ever even remotely equaled the Christians in their stewardship of the earth. Christians reclaimed desert areas of Europe, and turned sea-swept areas of The Netherlands into productive farmland, halted the destruction of some groups in various continents as they were destroying the land and much, much more.

In fact in the early centuries of the Christian era, lords would hand over a vast desert area, now no longer known to be a desert area, and the monks would clear it of rocks, they would bring water to it, they would regenerate that earth and make it a productive area, so that desert areas of Western Europe and Central Europe disappeared because of Christianity. The humanists in charge today have turned the modern state into the great polluter, and they blame us. The truth in the United States and I suspect this is true in Europe as well, is that most pollution is the product of a state organization, a state sewer system, a state plant of some kind. Everything is subjected to their rules, except they themselves.

It is time therefore for us as Christians to counterattack. We are the only stewards the earth has ever known, and we are such because of our faith. Thank you.

1 Rudolf Sohm. Outlines of Church History. Translated by Miss May Sinclair. London: MacMillan and Co. Ltd., 1909, 195.

2 John Redwood. Reason, Ridicule, and Religion : The Age of Enlightenment in England, 1660-1750. London: Thames & Hudson, 1976, 198.

3 John Redwood. Reason, Ridicule, and Religion : The Age of Enlightenment in England, 1660-1750. London: Thames & Hudson, 1976, 13.

4 James A. Clifton. The Invented Indian: Cultural Fictions and Government Policies. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1990, 13..

5 Squanto and the Pilgrims, Ceci, Lynn, Society, v27 n4 pp. 40-44 May-Jun 1990

6 Tod Connor, “Is the Earth Alive?.” Christianity Today (January 11, 1993), 22.  Quoted in Winker, Eldon K. The New Age Is Lying to You. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 1994, 110.

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