I have long harped on the topic of responsibility and accountability here on this blog. Many industries, politicians and people have refuse to accept these fundamental human concepts and employ them within the context of their lives and actions. This refusal has dramatically helped lead to widespread environmental destruction, abuse of the public trust, denial of science, facts and evidence, and has spawned some of the very issues discussed found at the core of this blog for the past several years: climate denialism.
Refusing to acknowledge human responsibility needs to extends no further then the individuals that own and operate the companies that are rapidly destroying the biosphere. Enormous sums of money are being expended to hire armies of lawyers to avoid lawsuits and litigation for environmental damage. Exxon for example, has been all over the news of late, with research revealing that Exxon has long known about the dangers of climate change and that its activities and products would cause dangerous climate change, but Exxon chose to cover up the results of its own scientific investigations. Now, having been found out, Exxon is desperately trying to back peddle on deceiving its own investors. Numerous lawsuits have been filed, claiming irreparable harm by Exxon. Exxon in turn has employed an army of counter-tactic legalized terrorists.
This is the type of responsibility avoidance and accountability denial that I’ve often written about. But it goes much further then the behavior of multi-national corporations. This irresponsibility and denial falls upon the head of every human that exists. In truth, we are all contributors to climate change and escalating environmental destruction, but there are a great many of us humans that don’t accept this for the reasons outlined below.
This article reinforces these claims that I have long made against climate denialists – particularly the religious types who see nothing wrong with total human dominion over the Earth or how they conduct their lives, beliefs and actions –
According to polling data, white American evangelicals are “typically more skeptical of climate change than any other U.S. citizens.” Why?
Willis Jenkins, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, offers fascinating explanations in a recent blog piece for the London School of Economics.
Although, according to Jenkins, this “climate-denying faction” attributes its “climate denial” to faith that “it is in God’s hands or is part of an eschatological scenario,” true understanding “requires hypotheses that run deeper than the offered rationales.”
What are those hypotheses? Jenkins offers several.
Far from being an “accidental side-effect of a strange religious narrative,” white American evangelicals’ (WAEs’) “climate denial,” Jenkins says, arises from their “beliefs about providence and eschatology” that “are not so much about a revealed schedule of events as they are about the limits of human responsibility.” Their “climate denial,” then, is their “grasping for a way of avoiding accountability for polluting the atmosphere,” which leads to their “allying themselves with spiritual contempt for earth.”
At an even deeper level, Jenkins thinks, these “climate-denying” WAEs seem to see the sky as “the symbolic province of deities and/or stochastic forces operating at scales beyond human reach.” Further, their “appeals to providence … function to let white societies remain unaccountable for climate change” and “license settler sovereignty over resources in the remaining indigenous territories.” “Christian theologians,” Jenkins reports, call these WAEs’ “climate denial” “petro-manichaeism (recoiling from the demonic earth, it takes spiritual satisfaction in energy ripped from dark material and transformed into light and air).”
Seeing themselves “as an embattled minority contending with conformist demands of a pluralist secular culture,” they are skeptical, Jenkins says, because they “regard the very idea of climate change as a threat to their identity … a cultural attack on the embattled Christian identity.” For them, “rejecting the whole idea of climate change has become important for counter-cultural Evangelical identity.”
“What makes climate-denying Evangelical construction of innocence especially powerful,” Jenkins writes, “is that, by interpreting climate change as a hostile religious idea, they can receive criticism as further evidence of their persecuted status.”
That’s quite an indictment. Is it justified?
Justified? Of course it is. It’s a self-fulfilling “victim identity” scam. They don’t realize that they’ve put themselves on the stand – and have lied their way through (so far), claiming “persecution” because they refuse to acknowledge their belief system is highly at fault and deeply flawed.
The author has underplayed the effects of denialism, irresponsibility and unaccountability by the religious right. Consider the context here in America where climate denialism has taken such a strong hold by millions of people, who are also supported by their current President with the same irresponsible and bizarre views. America is the single largest polluter per capita in the world, and yet there is a attitude that none of this activity is actually real, and if it is, it’s nothing to worry about and it won’t have any lasting effects anyway – because God is “in control” (despite an appalling lack of evidence). Moreover, God permits this excessive wantonness because of American exceptionalism.
This is a gigantic cop-out of course and highly xenophobic . Everybody in America accepts the conclusions of science when they want to, i.e., when it serves their interests, whether they admit to this or not. All of the technology used, including burning gasoline, using a cell phone or typing on a computer is the result of scientific research and knowledge. All of the food produced in the country, consumed by everyone is the result of science. All of the clothing we wear and the plastics we use – it’s all science, and it’s all accepted and widely used.
You simply cannot escape from what science research has brought to the world of humans, no matter where you live. But the cognitive dissonance permitted to the no-science allowed crowd provides a “religious exemption” to reality. Christians want a free pass to avoid accountability when the science does not suit them, and when it does not fit into their worldview – a bizarre and very strange perspective of reality that is highly filtered on what is “real” and what is “not”.
I’ve said this before – the lack of evidence is counter-intuitively considered “proof” in their world, despite their acceptance of evidence when it suits them. It’s bizarre, contradictory and defies common sense.
Christians prefer to pick and choose what is real and what is not, what is true and what isn’t. It’s a bizarre and non-logical, non-sensible way of living, but it works because the world tolerates the insensible and even often rewards it. Our society is not built upon reason or common sense – it is built upon illogical and contradictory, even suicidal behavior by billions of humans, all seeking the expression of individuality. One component of our society is the concept that you are free to believe whatever you want – even if it does not make any sense. Even if it contains imaginary beings, alien visitations or angels and demons, or even if it embraces life with a life-long death-wish (NTHE followers – take note here, you have fabricated your own religion too).
Religious freedom is inherent in the world’s culture. I support the concepts of religious freedom, and all other personal freedoms, everyone should be free to believe whatever they want – unless it harms others (which included non-humans). And this is exactly where the rubber meets the road among evangelicals and fundamentalists. Their religious world views are harmful to others, millions, even billions of human others. These world views have now taken over much of the right-wing constituency, and the Presidency, and the boards of many corporations, institutions and private companies. A core component of these world views is the practice of dominionism, the alleged “right” (allegedly, divinely decreed) to do whatever the hell they want for profit. Profitability therefore, becomes their new, true God, and their religion is modified at-will to fabricate doctrinal mandates that support this.
Environmental accountability (stewardship) or responsibility to their fellow man or future generations of mankind is not acceptable or even being considered desirable. Everything else, and I mean everything else, is up for grabs and who will be innovative and quick enough to profit from it. This is at the very core of why there are no real human rights within religion. Religion becomes a dictate (dictatorship) of what is to be believed, lived, practiced and embraced – and what isn’t. Real human freedom is simply not there (life without coercion).
The indictment against religion continues, because there is much, much more that is wrong with it. This is a world view that embraces death above life itself, advocates for wars and foreign intervention against other races, religions and countries, and killing all in the name of a particular (and peculiar) kind of God. Their justification is they are ordered to do so – and because all these others are “not like us” and “don’t believe in the same God” so they fabricate endless justification (mostly lies) to express hatred, xenophobia and killing other people.
If you support war – you support killing other people. There is no difference between “the innocent” or the allegedly “guilty” in this matter. This of course directly contradicts the supposed sanctity of life and anti-abortion stance the religious also claim to hold, but nothing they believe actually makes any real sense, numerous and bizarre contradictions abound.
Ultimately, the problem with religion is its fabrication of reality, and the waste of life it creates. There is also the cognitive dissonance and disharmony religion creates in believers and their life-long interactions with the world. All too often, they’re found actively supporting death and destruction while claiming just the opposite. They don’t feel responsible either for any of this either – because they’ve been “excused” from all sense of culpability and guilt by a simple act of repentence. Thereafter, they are forever excused – and they take full advantage of this.
These outrageous claims of “forgiveness” however only extends to “the chosen” – all others are indeed deemed guilty and hypocritically held accountable. They’re quite willing to put responsibility upon everyone else for their actions, but never upon themselves for their own. It’s a bizarre contradiction of irresponsibility and deadly judgement and completely inexplicable – if you don’t understand its source.
Where does this come from? From the Bible, of course. And from the pulpits of nearly every church in America that reads it. They go further too – claiming “American exceptionalism” and “our way of life will never be diminished” because of our we’ve been “chosen” (second only to Israel of course) “by design“, which is just another way of saying they made it all up (which is exactly what really happened).
These are all grossly distorted fabricated doctrines in the 20th century (none like this existed in the 1st century) to suit the agenda of believers (and manipulators) today. There was no America back then. Nor an American way of life (anywhere). The “End Times” have come and gone a thousand times already. Yet these doctrines and tenets have become firmly entrenched today despite using an ancient book full of thousands of contradictions and errors. There are no first-hand reports in the words found. No actual, real witnesses. No recorded history. No artifacts. No contemporary evidence. And yet, it seemingly never occurs to the religious to question the “ancient wisdom” or alleged accuracy found in this book – or why it was assembled and written down in the first place.
This is highly problematic and has led already to quite directly to the deaths of millions of civilians around the world as the world careens from one religious war to another. Even within the U.S. military, this attitude towards religious dominion and dominance is very prevalent. The respect of life, of individuality or the right to live as you want, believe as you want, as demanded by the religious – is being vehemently denied to other peoples “not like us” with a gun. They feel entirely justified in doing this too – claiming their own religious exceptionalism and exemptions, along with their American exceptionalism – which itself is simply another religious doctrine. It’s hypocritical in the extreme.
But where does all of this come from? What is the source? It’s not hard to trace. It’s all found in the Bible and how modern day evangelicals and fundamentalists have been taught to interpret the words. It is an interpretation and fabrication of claims that omits multiple facts and creates endless number of contradictions, none which are based on actual, real history. Denying climate change is but one part of these omissions and contradictions, so we should not be surprised that the denial of science itself is also a victim – despite their constant daily use of science and technology brought about by science.
Breaking down these contradictions has proven to be demonstratively hard – very hard and in many case, virtually impossible. This leaves a large segment of the population “unreachable” and “unteachable” to truth, facts and reality for now. It is impossible to get such people to modify their world views – because quite literally – their life depends upon them refusing to change. Their standing in the world, their ability to cope and deal with the problems of daily life is being severely threatened as human knowledge increases. Rather then learn and change (and grow), they retreat back into the comforting darkness of ignorance and superstitions, embracing ancient words and ancient, archaic understandings of the world.
I don’t live in a Muslim world – which if I did, I would not be permitted to write words like this. There is no First Amendment in the Muslim world. So this post is not in support of “another religion” at all – it is an indictment against all religions as fabrications of a false reality. I live in an alleged “Christian nation” but I know better – there is nothing “Christian” about the United States and never has been. The United States does not practice Christian values, morals or beliefs, and never has. Ever. What passes for Christianity today is a bastardization of fabricated claims and false histories. But the problem is actually much deeper then this because no country, no church in the world is actually Christian and never has been. This is a self-professed claim of lineal “authority” – and it is factually false (entirely made up) and always has been.
Along with writing this blog, I have spent many years studying Christianity and its source (I was a former evangelist). What I discovered profoundly changed my own faith and world views. I am no longer a Christian and am not the least bit fearful or ashamed to say so – and neither is anyone else in the world, because these claims are not based upon anything other then a fabrication. Christianity is no more “true” then any other religion. None are true. All are made up, false histories based upon grossly distorted and manipulated texts. You can look all of this up for yourselves if you are truly interested in finding any of this out. Almost nobody will bother – because of what this post is about. Everyone wants to remain unaccountable. It’s just easier that way.
Humans have a fantastic ability to self-delude, deceive and distract themselves from anything that might resemble the truth. I won’t persuade anyone, but the blog now exists to simply keep a record of things. We didn’t all fall for the lies.