The late author/producer/anthropologist Michael Crichton referred to environmentalism as “one of the most powerful religions in the Western World,” calling it “the religion of choice for urban atheists.” Explained Crichton:
“If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
“There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.
“Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.
“And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It’s about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.”
Crichton expanded on these themes in his 2003 “Remarks to the Commonwealth Club” in San Francisco. This section of Discover The Networks is devoted to these same considerations.
Remarks to the Commonwealth Club
By Michael Crichton
September 15, 2003
Environmentalism As Religion
By Joel Garreau
New Religion of Environmentalism
By Robert H. Nelson
April 22, 2010
Environmentalism as Religion
By Paul H. Rubin
April 22, 2010
Judaism, Christianity, Environmentalism
By Dennis Prager
April 1, 2014
Michael Crichton on Environmentalism As a Religion
March 16, 2005