4. The New Agers
The New Age movement could be considered the basis for Green religion, sharing a similar utopian goal. Crossovers Van Jones and Lynne Twist are just two of many New Age names that will be seen on both New Age boards and sites as well as being key activists in the Green religious movement.
An excellent explanation is found in J. Gordon Melton’s book, “New Age Almanac”:
Among the whole systems of most importance to New Agers is the earth. The earth is a whole system of which we, as human beings, are an intricate part. Our welfare depends upon the earth. This concern takes its most dramatic form in what is termed the Gaia hypothesis, which proposes that the earth is actually a living entity and humanity a vital part of its life system.
In this New Age one universal religion will be expressed through many local religions, and an allegiance to the planet and the human race will supersede loyalties to the more limited groupings of clan, nation, race or religion.
A major place to find the convergence of Green and New Age thought is the Institute of Noetic Science (ION) with names on their board such as Deepak Chopra, Van Jones, Lynne Twist, Maurice Strong, and Desmond Tutu. The Institute offers much insight into the general mindset of this movement. Christian DeQuincey, former managing editor of their “Shift” magazine, gives a clear picture of this philosophy when reviewing the book so popular with both New Agers and Green activists, Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael.”
Teacher and pupil engage in a Socratic-type dialogue, and we are witness to the unfolding of a remarkable account of how modern civilized society evolved to be so radically at odds with the rest of nature.
In essence, what the teacher reveals is this: Some time around 10,000 years ago, human societies branched off into two distinct communities, called “Leavers” and “Takers”. Each community had its own story to tell about the “destiny of man”; and each community has enacted its story ever since‚ with profound consequences. Quinn, thus, skillfully traces the origins of the divergence between “indigenous” and “civilized” ways of life.
Another big name in the New Age movement can help us see how their ideology fits in so well with the green religion, and that name is Barbara Marx Hubbard, founder of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. You will find her name tied to just about every big name in the New Age movement, including Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and many more. They are not appreciative of those that do not accept their ideology, as we are, once again, standing in the way of their utopia. Lee Penn published more on this line of thought in a piece he did back in 2000 for the New Oxford Review:
As part of the imminent global transformation, the radical New Age leaders look forward to a “selection” among the human race. The elect of humanity will survive to enter the New Age. Many others will die – a prospect that these gurus view with cold equanimity.
Hubbard warns that if the selection comes, it will be violent: “Either the good will prevail…or the violent selection of the self-centered will begin.” For her, Satan is “part of the selection process…that will bring forth the self-elected from the self-rejected, so that…only those connected to the whole survive.” Muller agrees that persons “who hold contrary beliefs” to those favored in the “next phase of evolution” will disappear; opponents of the UN and other “anti-evolutionary, blind, self-serving people” will have their souls “parked in a special corral of the universe for having been retarding forces, true aberrations in the evolution and ascent of humanity,” a banishment to a spiritual Siberia.
The eco-feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether told those who attended a May 1998 ecological conference that “We need to seek the most compassionate way of weeding out people…. In place of the pro-life movement we need to develop the ‘spirituality of recycling’…a spirituality that includes ourselves in the renewal of earth and self. We need to compost ourselves.”
Everything about the Green movement works very well for the New Agers. After all, they were worshiping earth before it was cool!