Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Natural Limit to Pride?

My good friend Byron draws attention to another distressing indication of what a grand mess of things we enlightened humans have made. Go here for the day-ruin. I'm not very interested in the science, much less the debate over whether this climate change stuff is happening; it does not seem to me in the right of us Christians to try and evade the judgment such grim analysis proffers. Which is simply to suggest I think Christians should already hold themselves accountable to the Creator of creation, regardless the promptings of the politician. O what a royal mess, this world in which we find ourselves. But to the point:

This last paragraph struck me as particularly salient. Christians aligning themselves with the so-called 'sceptical' science of climate change, need to square this maverick position with the theological critique which lies implicit in the way we think about about the world these days. Not just the way, but the axioms on which this 'way' rests. So Mr. Clive Hamilton:
We moderns have been accustomed to the idea that we can modify our environment to suit our needs, and have acted accordingly for some three hundred years. We are now discovering that our intoxicating belief that we can conquer all has come up against a greater force, the Earth itself. We are discovering that humans cannot regulate the climate; the climate regulates us. The prospect of runaway climate change challenges our technological hubris and our Enlightenment faith in reason. The earth may soon demonstrate that, ultimately, it cannot be tamed and that the human urge to master nature has only roused a slumbering beast.
I am not sure 'discovery' is the term he wants; it seems to me most the ancients knew this kind of mastery was not only impossible, but indeed, unhealthy. (Then again, it may be news to the inherently non-teleological way of modern enlightened thinking.) Nor will I go so far to attribute to the earth any kind of metaphorical judicial capacities which fail to draw on the fact of the world being a creation over which reigns a Creator, hence Judge. That's just too pagan for me.

But I will, with all my puny intellectual might, lend a voice of protest against the age wherein the technological scientific mind runs free - free from teleology, free from the so-thought fetters of moral and hence natural authority, to create as it pleases, to manipulate as it deigns desirable. If there is judgment in this as well, it is most particularly leveled against those of us Christians who remain captive to this free-for-fall nonsense. No, no you cannot contain the climate. You cannot stand above the earth. Alas, you cannot even stand above yourself.

Even so. If there is such a thing as a 'natural limit to pride' I suspect it will go unnoticed. The 'new way of knowing and making' which is modern technological science can only mean the point of no return. Moral teleology simply does not permit its unfettered practice. Which means we should expect, not return to more humane ways of life, not the mass recovery of the wisdom of the ancients, but rather more technological proposals on how to escape disaster; and indeed, more pressure on the faithful to wait upon this technological saviour, rather than be transformed by the true Saviour Christ, and start living in the truth, now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed this post. I have read and reread a lot of it and it has provoked a lot of thoughts about how people (myself included) have this tendency to want to control everything and when something that has more control than I do starts working in the opposite direction, I fight it. Naturally, when I lose these fights, I recognize my faulty pride and it is as if God has broken me and then offered another chance.

Therefore, and I may be way off, I hypothesize that our world will continue to battle earth and nature for control until we are broken, and our natural pride will be realized. God seems to work best when we are broken, or maybe, we tend to listen better then?

I enjoy keeping up with your blog. It is easy to imagine you speaking your words that you write in that passionate way you pursue your interests. It is a little piece of home. Miss you bro.