9) The Natural
People have long been drawn to marvelous things which exist in the universe. Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul remarked that “men worshiped and served created things rather than the creator.” Manifestations of this trend are abundant within American culture; complete with religious trappings. One obvious example is in the various expressions of environmentalism being adopted by individuals and groups in the US (particularly on the political left).
There are a few interesting parallels that can be drawn here, one of which is the fact that these groups, like many religious collectives in the past, have produced a litany of failed doomsday forecasts related to their belief system. Here is an example from 1970, when environmentalist professor Peter Gunter made one such prediction:
Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.
Of course, none of this doom came to pass. There has always been a problem with undernourishment in various pockets of the world; but those problems are steadily decreasing in severity as the market and science work together to make food more easily accessible. The graph below demonstrates the upward trend of wheat yields in developing countries since 1960.
Whatever the form it takes, worshiping the natural comes from a desire to eliminate God (who is “supernatural”) and replace Him with material things endowed with subjective value and meaning by people. We like to create our own gods. It’s so much easier than acquiescing to the instruction of a real one.