This living system, he believed, was the result of a meta-life form that occupied our planet billions of years ago and began a process of transforming this planet into its own substance. All of the lifeforms on this planet, according to Lovelock, are a part of Gaia - a part of one spirit goddess that sustains life on earth. Since this transformation into a living system, he theorizes, the interventions of Gaia have brought about the evolving diversity of living creatures on planet Earth.
From Lovelock's perspective in space he saw not a planet, but a self-evolving and self-regulating living system. His theory presents earth not as the rock that it is, but as a living being. He named this being Gaia, after the Greek goddess that was once believed to have drawn the living world forth from Chaos.
The idea of Earth as a living, divine spirit is not a new one. Plato said "We shall affirm that the cosmos, more than anything else, resembles most closely that living Creature of which all other living creatures, severally or genetically, are portion; a living creature which is fairest of all and in ways most perfect.
For these people, Gaia was made palatable by Lovelock's Daisyworld model, a mathematical and scientific theory designed to refute the criticisms of Darwin's groupies. Just as evolution eliminates the need for a divine creator, the Daisyworld model provided a theory of evolving life on earth that incorporates natural selection with a world that is interconnected. It eliminates a personal yet separate God, and makes humans a part of the divine spirit that is Gaia. More appealing to the New Agers and the interfaith movement is the mystical side of Gaia.
They can easily relate to the belief that humans can have mystical experiences or a spiritual relationship with Gaia. A connectedness to nature and the belief that humans are a part of this collective consciousness called Gaia appeals to them. Gaia teaches that an "Earth spirit", goddess, or planetary brain must be protected. It is this belief that fuels the environmental movement, sustainable development, and a global push for the return of industrialized nations to a more primitive way of life.
Just as with the evolutionists, the humanists, and the other pagan religions of the world, Gaia has named Christianity as the obstacle to human evolution and our spiritual destiny. A document mandated by the U. The document states:. Conversion to Christianity has therefore meant an abandonment of an affinity with the natural world for many forest dwellers, peasants, fishers all over the world The northeastern hilly states of India bordering China and Myanmar supported small scale, largely autonomous shifting cultivator societies until the 's.
While condemning Christianity as the root of all ecological evil, the document goes on to praise Buddhism and Hinduism as they "did not depart as drastically from the perspective of humans as members of a community of beings including other living and non-living elements". Non-Christian religions are definitely favored by the global government as good stewards of Mother Earth. Members of this "Green Religion" will all agree that the Earth is in a crisis state and this ecological emergency is the result of Christian traditions. They believe that the Judeo Christian belief that God assigned man to rule over the earth has caused us to exploit and abuse it.
Monotheism, they assert, has separated humans from their ancient connection to the earth, and to reverse this trend governments, the media, our education system, artists, and other areas of influence must revive earth-centered myth and reconnect us to Earth's spirit. Al Gore, in his book Earth in the Balance , expounds on this view:. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths.
Billions remain shackled by the fears and superstitions forced upon them by religious leaders, whose only claim to authority is the one they falsely claim God has given them. True Truths gives information and ideas to help all thinking people arrive at their own truths, based on fact and common sense, not on falsehoods, coercion and myths.
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At least nine-tenths of the human race falls under this category. But still the people require a system of metaphysics, that is, an account of the world and our existence, because such an account belongs to the most natural needs of mankind, they require a popular system; and to be popular it must combine many rare qualities.
It must be easily understood, and at the same time possess, on the proper points, a certain amount of obscurity, even of impenetrability; then a correct and satisfactory system of morality must be bound up with its dogmas; above all, it must afford inexhaustible consolation in suffering and death; the consequence of all this is, that it can only be true in an allegorical and not in a real sense.
If you want to form an opinion on religion, you should always bear in mind the character of the great multitude for which it is destined, and form a picture to yourself of its complete inferiority, moral and intellectual. It is incredible how far this inferiority goes, and how perseveringly a spark of truth will glimmer on even under the crudest covering of monstrous fable or grotesque ceremony, clinging indestructibly, like the odor of musk, to everything that has once come into contact with it.
In illustration of this, consider the profound wisdom of the Upanishads, and then look at the mad idolatry in the India of to-day, with its pilgrimages, processions and festivities, or at the insane and ridiculous goings-on of the Saniassi. But for the brute multitude, it had to be dressed up in this form. In such a contrast as this we have the two poles of humanity, the wisdom of the individual and the bestiality of the many, both of which find their point of contact in the moral sphere.
That saying from the Kurral must occur to everybody. Base people look like men, but I have never seen their exact counterpart. The man of education may, all the same, interpret religion to himself cum grano salis ; the man of learning, the contemplative spirit may secretly exchange it for a philosophy. Pure faith in revelation and pure metaphysics are for the two extremes, and for the intermediate steps mutual modifications of both in innumerable combinations and gradations. And this is rendered necessary by the immeasurable differences which nature and education have placed between man and man.
The view you take reminds me seriously of the mysteries of the ancients, which you mentioned just now. Their fundamental purpose seems to have been to remedy the evil arising from the differences of intellectual capacity and education. The plan was, out of the great multitude utterly impervious to unveiled truth, to select certain persons who might have it revealed to them up to a given point; out of these, again, to choose others to whom more would be revealed, as being able to grasp more; and so on up to the Epopts.
These grades correspond to the little, greater and greatest mysteries. The arrangement was founded on a correct estimate of the intellectual inequality of mankind. To some extent the education in our lower, middle and high schools corresponds to the varying grades of initiation into the mysteries. In a very approximate way; and then only in so far as subjects of higher knowledge are written about exclusively in Latin. But since that has ceased to be the case, all the mysteries are profaned. However that may be, I wanted to remind you that you should look at religion more from the practical than from the theoretical side.
Personified metaphysics may be the enemy of religion, but all the same personified morality will be its friend. Perhaps the metaphysical element in all religions is false; but the moral element in all is true.
This might perhaps be presumed from the fact that they all disagree in their metaphysics, but are in accord as regards morality. Which is an illustration of the rule of logic that false premises may give a true conclusion. Let me hold you to your conclusion: let me remind you that religion has two sides. But at the same time religion is, as a rule, a sufficient satisfaction for their dull metaphysical necessities. People like that must have something tangible which they can lay hold of on the slippery and thorny pathway of their life, some sort of beautiful fable, by means of which things can be imparted to them which their crude intelligence can entertain only in picture and parable.
Profound explanations and fine distinctions are thrown away upon them. If you conceive religion in this light, and recollect that its aims are above all practical, and only in a subordinate degree theoretical, it will appear to you as something worthy of the highest respect. A respect which will finally rest upon the principle that the end sanctifies the means. Religion may be an excellent means of training the perverse, obtuse and ill-disposed members of the biped race: in the eyes of the friend of truth every fraud, even though it be a pious one, is to be condemned. A system of deception, a pack of lies, would be a strange means of inculcating virtue.
The flag to which I have taken the oath is truth; I shall remain faithful to it everywhere, and whether I succeed or not, I shall fight for light and truth! It would be all right if religion were only at liberty to be true in a merely allegorical sense. But its contention is that it is downright true in the proper sense of the word. Herein lies the deception, and it is here that the friend of truth must take up a hostile position. The deception is a sine qua non. If religion were to admit that it was only the allegorical meaning in its doctrine which was true, it would rob itself of all efficacy.
Such rigorous treatment as this would destroy its invaluable influence on the hearts and morals of mankind. Instead of insisting on that with pedantic obstinacy, look at its great achievements in the practical sphere, its furtherance of good and kindly feelings, its guidance in conduct, the support and consolation it gives to suffering humanity in life and death.
How much you ought to guard against letting theoretical cavils discredit in the eyes of the multitude, and finally wrest from it, something which is an inexhaustible source of consolation and tranquillity, something which, in its hard lot, it needs so much, even more than we do. On that score alone, religion should be free from attack. With that kind of argument you could have driven Luther from the field, when he attacked the sale of indulgences. How many a one got consolation from the letters of indulgence, a consolation which nothing else could give, a complete tranquillity; so that he joyfully departed with the fullest confidence in the packet of them which he held in his hand at the hour of death, convinced that they were so many cards of admission to all the nine heavens.
What is the use of grounds of consolation and tranquillity which are constantly overshadowed by the Damocles-sword of illusion? The truth, my dear sir, is the only safe thing; the truth alone remains steadfast and trusty; it is the only solid consolation; it is the indestructible diamond. Yes, if you had truth in your pocket, ready to favor us with it on demand. Before you take anything away, you must have something better to put in its place.
To free a man from error is to give, not to take away. Knowledge that a thing is false is a truth. Error always does harm; sooner or later it will bring mischief to the man who harbors it. The existence of many views will at any rate lay a foundation of tolerance. Those who possess knowledge and capacity may betake themselves to the study of philosophy, or even in their own persons carry the history of philosophy a step further. A whole nation of raw metaphysicians, wrangling and eventually coming to blows with one another! Well, well, a few blows here and there are the sauce of life; or at any rate a very inconsiderable evil compared with such things as priestly dominion, plundering of the laity, persecution of heretics, courts of inquisition, crusades, religious wars, massacres of St.
How often must I repeat that religion is anything but a pack of lies? It is truth itself, only in a mythical, allegorical vesture. But when you spoke of your plan of everyone being his own founder of religion, I wanted to say that a particularism like this is totally opposed to human nature, and would consequently destroy all social order. Man is a metaphysical animal — that is to say, he has paramount metaphysical necessities; accordingly, he conceives life above all in its metaphysical signification, and wishes to bring everything into line with that.
Consequently, however strange it may sound in view of the uncertainty of all dogmas, agreement in the fundamentals of metaphysics is the chief thing, because a genuine and lasting bond of union is only possible among those who are of one opinion on these points. As a result of this, the main point of likeness and of contrast between nations is rather religion than government, or even language; and so the fabric of society, the State, will stand firm only when founded on a system of metaphysics which is acknowledged by all.
This, of course, can only be a popular system — that is, a religion: it becomes part and parcel of the constitution of the State, of all the public manifestations of the national life, and also of all solemn acts of individuals. The Emperor confesses all three together at the same time. And Europe is the union of Christian States: Christianity is the basis of every one of the members, and the common bond of all. Hence Turkey, though geographically in Europe, is not properly to be reckoned as belonging to it. Accordingly, as his throne was the highest, he used to wish all thrones to be regarded as held in fee from him.
In the same way, too, Archbishops and Bishops, as such, possessed temporal power; and in England they still have seats and votes in the Upper House. Protestant princes, as such, are heads of their churches: in England, a few years ago, this was a girl eighteen years old. By the revolt from the Pope, the Reformation shattered the European fabric, and in a special degree dissolved the true unity of Germany by destroying its common religious faith. This union, which had practically come to an end, had, accordingly, to be restored later on by artificial and purely political means.
You see, then, how closely connected a common faith is with the social order and the constitution of every State. Faith is everywhere the support of the laws and the constitution, the foundation, therefore, of the social fabric, which could hardly hold together at all if religion did not lend weight to the authority of government and the dignity of the ruler. Very well. Let me, in passing, recommend our rulers to give their serious attention, regularly twice every year, to the fifteenth chapter of the First Book of Samuel, that they may be constantly reminded of what it means to prop the throne on the altar.
Besides, since the stake, that ultima ration theologorum , has gone out of fashion, this method of government has lost its efficacy. For, as you know, religions are like glow-worms; they shine only when it is dark.
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A certain amount of general ignorance is the condition of all religions, the element in which alone they can exist. And as soon as astronomy, natural science, geology, history, the knowledge of countries and peoples have spread their light broadcast, and philosophy finally is permitted to say a word, every faith founded on miracles and revelation must disappear; and philosophy takes its place. In Europe the day of knowledge and science dawned towards the end of the fifteenth century with the appearance of the Renaissance Platonists: its sun rose higher in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries so rich in results, and scattered the mists of the Middle Age.
Church and Faith were compelled to disappear in the same proportion; and so in the eighteenth century English and French philosophers were able to take up an attitude of direct hostility; until, finally, under Frederick the Great, Kant appeared, and took away from religious belief the support it had previously enjoyed from philosophy: he emancipated the handmaid of theology, and in attacking the question with German thoroughness and patience, gave it an earnest instead of a frivolous tone. The consequence of this is that we see Christianity undermined in the nineteenth century, a serious faith in it almost completely gone; we see it fighting even for bare existence, whilst anxious princes try to set it up a little by artificial means, as a doctor uses a drug on a dying patient.
So sensitive is the balance that it indicates momentary influences.
When, for instance, at the beginning of this century, those inroads of French robbers under the leadership of Bonaparte, and the enormous efforts necessary for driving them out and punishing them, had brought about a temporary neglect of science and consequently a certain decline in the general increase of knowledge, the Church immediately began to raise her head again and Faith began to show fresh signs of life; which, to be sure, in keeping with the times, was partly poetical in its nature. On the other hand, in the more than thirty years of peace which followed, leisure and prosperity furthered the building up of science and the spread of knowledge in an extraordinary degree: the consequence of which is what I have indicated, the dissolution and threatened fall of religion.
Perhaps the time is approaching which has so often been prophesied, when religion will take her departure from European humanity, like a nurse which the child has outgrown: the child will now be given over to the instructions of a tutor. For there is no doubt that religious doctrines which are founded merely on authority, miracles and revelations, are only suited to the childhood of humanity.
Everyone will admit that a race, the past duration of which on the earth all accounts, physical and historical, agree in placing at not more than some hundred times the life of a man of sixty, is as yet only in its first childhood. Instead of taking an undisguised pleasure in prophesying the downfall of Christianity, how I wish you would consider what a measureless debt of gratitude European humanity owes to it, how greatly it has benefited by the religion which, after a long interval, followed it from its old home in the East.
Europe received from Christianity ideas which were quite new to it, the Knowledge, I mean, of the fundamental truth that life cannot be an end-in-itself, that the true end of our existence lies beyond it. The Greeks and Romans had placed this end altogether in our present life, so that in this sense they may certainly be called blind heathens. And, in keeping with this view of life, all their virtues can be reduced to what is serviceable to the community, to what is useful in fact.
Aristotle says quite naively, Those virtues must necessarily be the greatest which are the most useful to others. So the ancients thought patriotism the highest virtue, although it is really a very doubtful one, since narrowness, prejudice, vanity and an enlightened self-interest are main elements in it.
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Just before the passage I quoted, Aristotle enumerates all the virtues, in order to discuss them singly. How different from the Christian virtues! Plato himself, incomparably the most transcendental philosopher of pre-Christian antiquity, knows no higher virtue than Justice ; and he alone recommends it unconditionally and for its own sake, whereas the rest make a happy life, vita beata , the aim of all virtue, and moral conduct the way to attain it. Christianity freed European humanity from this shallow, crude identification of itself with the hollow, uncertain existence of every day,.
It even went a step further, and taught that the world is of evil, and that we need deliverance. It taught the healing power of pain: an instrument of torture is the symbol of Christianity. I am quite ready to admit that this earnest, this only correct view of life was thousands of years previously spread all over Asia in other forms, as it is still, independently of Christianity; but for European humanity it was a new and great revelation.
For it is well known that the population of Europe consists of Asiatic races driven out as wanderers from their own homes, and gradually settling down in Europe; on their wanderings these races lost the original religion of their homes, and with it the right view of life: so, under a new sky, they formed religions for themselves, which were rather crude; the worship of Odin, for instance, the Druidic or the Greek religion, the metaphysical content of which was little and shallow. In the meantime the Greeks developed a special, one might almost say, an instinctive sense of beauty, belonging to them alone of all the nations who have ever existed on the earth, peculiar, fine and exact: so that their mythology took, in the mouth of their poets, and in the hands of their artists, an exceedingly beautiful and pleasing shape.
On the other hand, the true and deep significance of life was lost to the Greeks and Romans. They lived on like grown-up children, till Christianity came and recalled them to the serious side of existence. And to see the effects one need only compare antiquity with the Middle Age; the time of Pericles, say, with the fourteenth century. You could scarcely believe you were dealing with the same kind of beings. Look on the other picture, if you can; a time at which the Church had enslaved the minds, and violence the bodies of men, that knights and priests might lay the whole weight of life upon the common beast of burden, the third estate.
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There, you have might as right, Feudalism and Fanaticism in close alliance, and in their train abominable ignorance and darkness of mind, a corresponding intolerance, discord of creeds, religious wars, crusades, inquisitions and persecutions; as the form of fellowship, chivalry, compounded of savagery and folly, with its pedantic system of ridiculous false pretences carried to an extreme, its degrading superstition and apish veneration for women. Gallantry is the residue of this veneration, deservedly requited as it is by feminine arrogance; it affords continual food for laughter to all Asiatics, and the Greeks would have joined in it.
What caused this utter transformation? Migration and Christianity.