How do religions die? Generally they don’t, which probably explains why there’s so little literature on the subject. Zoroastrianism, for instance, lost many of its sacred texts when Alexander sacked Persepolis in 330 B.C., and most Zoroastrians converted to Islam over 1,000 years ago. Yet today old Zoroaster still counts as many as 210,000 followers, including 11,000 in the U.S. Christopher Hitchens might say you can’t kill what wasn’t there to begin with.
Still, Zeus and Apollo are no longer with us, and neither are Odin and Thor. Among the secular gods, Marx is mostly dead and Freud is totally so. Something did away with them, and it’s worth asking what.
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.
In England’s Guardian, a true believer in global warming writes that we must discard reason, turn the lamps off all over Europe, embrace the darkness and create even more things unseen, in a piece titled, “Only faith can solve the energy crisis:”
That’s why turning off lightbulbs is important. To turn off the light when you leave a room is an act of piety just as much as lighting a candle in church. It has no measurable effect on the crisis at all in itself. It doesn’t even have a notable effect on your own electricity bill, and if it ever does, the world economy will be in a dreadful mess. But it is a token of seriousness. It is, if you like, a gesture of faith.
Perhaps a religious service along those lines could one day be televised. Perhaps it already has:
[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/media/video/lightsoutonNBC-SNF.flv width=352 height=288 image=http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/files/2009/05/nbc-green.jpg /]
But if that’s your mindset, why not ask your publisher to voluntarily shutter his Website? Imagine the energy that such a token of seriousness, a gesture of faith would save. Lights, electricity, air conditioning and information would all at once stop flowing. Embrace the darkness, Grauniads!
(Or you could build more power plants and increase oil production. But then the masses benefit, unemployment goes down, the economy grows, and people live more comfortably. That can’t be much fun for a puritanical socialist, can it?)
Update: Tim Blair writes, “Patrick Osgood, assistant editor at Oil & Gas Middle East Magazine. describes that [Guardian] piece as ‘the daftest and most nebulous article on climate change ever.’ Big call. It’s a crowded field.”