7.26.2009

selections from Schall's column on environmentalism

Ignatius of Loyola teaches that man is created to “praise, reverence, and serve God and by this means to save his soul.” Modern man thinks little of saving his soul, if he has one. He wants to “save” the earth. He does not want “dominion” over the earth to achieve his worldly and transcendent purposes. His “transcendent” purpose is immanent, “to save the earth” from himself. Save it for what? Well, for future generations. For whom do future generations save the earth? For generations beyond the future, and so on, down the ages.
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To claim to be saving future, not present, generations, gives any government a transcendent purpose: To save man from himself. What could be nobler or more statesman-like? Human beings are mired in original sin. They need to be redeemed, protected from themselves. They need laws and regulations. They need to be subject to a Spartan regime where everything they eat, drink, or do is factored into the “good” of future generations—who do not yet exist, indeed may never exist, since population control is allegedly part of the answer to warming.
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No one knows what future generations will need or want or know how to do. The Lord probably created a world in which just enough resources are present for His intentions. With the help of the human brain, the only real resource, human beings might reach the end for which God created them. The end God intended is not in this world. The earth-warmers are really heretical theologizers who somehow think the purpose of the species man is to spin round and round on this planet forever, with the aid of much government control. Meanwhile, all actual men will have died, after being told that their only purpose in life was to save the earth.
- James Schall, S.J.

5 comments:

Michael J. Iafrate said...

What garbage. Schall should know better: that there is not a conflict between saving souls and saving the earth. In fact, they are bound to one another. Schall is a dualist.

Zach said...

Of course, his remarks are directed at "modern man", who is perhaps not you.

Michael J. Iafrate said...

The guy is a theo-apologist for republicanism.

Catherine! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine! said...

Michael, it seems that it is you who has misread Schall's words. Nowhere does he say that saving one's soul and saving the environment are at odds with each other. What he does say is (1) that saving one's soul takes precedence over saving the environment and (2) that modern man often forsakes his immortal salvation in favor of recycling his cans and bottles. Note, Michael, that there is a hierarchy not an exclusion. Schall's basic point is that it is dangerous when modern man loses religion, and must look for fulfillment of those transcendent desires in something earthly. Enter the vast majority of modern environmentalists who, by choosing a second thing over a first thing and inverting the hierarchy, care more about squirrels and the Everglades than they do about human beings. Saving souls and saving the environment are not mutually exclusive, but it is a grave mistake to not focus your efforts on the salvation of souls. He is not commenting on Christians who care about the environment in proper proportion. I think you're a little quick to judge and throw around terms like "theo-apologist."