Is environmentalism a religion?

The Philosopher's Eye asks a topical question: Is environmentalism a religion?:

Every so often popular debate breaks out about whether belief in anthropogenic global warming is analogous to religious belief. These debates almost always turn into debates about whether environmentalism is a religion. Typically, one side maintains that the distinctive feature of religious belief is that it appeals to the supernatural, and so environmentalism isn’t a religion. The other side maintains that the distinctive feature of religious belief is the passion with which the belief is held, and so environmentalism, when it’s held passionately, is a religion.

I don't have a take on this, really. What I find interesting, though, is that whenever you come across this identification -- i.e. environmentalism-is-a-religion -- it is made by the anti-environmentalist without exception. What I am thinking now is

1. What does this tell about the role of religion in contemporary environmental discourse? Is it that anyone passionate about the fate of our planet is a fundamentalist driven by irrationalism?

2. Is there a coherent Christian view about (or within) the politics of environmentalism? I'd love to get an idea of the playing field here, so let me know of anything in the comments.

(Via The Philosopher's Eye.)



Dear Colleagues,

Let me shortly inform you about the activities and some of the plans of the IRNRD (International Research Network on Religion and Democracy): an inter-disciplinary research group of international scholars.

The first steps were made in 2008, when we organized a conference with the title Religion and Democracy: Challenges and Prospects. Our second conference Political Theology for the 21st Century? Trends and Tasks was held in December 2009, where Mika -- an active member of the IRNRD -- gave a presentation on Laestadianism and the project Laestadian-ism: Political Theology and Civil Religion (see Mika's related posts). Our next conference will be in Rome in December this year, a joint program at LUISS University and John Cabot University. The meeting is under organisation with the title Between Rawls and Religion. In cooperation with the Laestedianism project, we plan to organize our 2012 annual conference in Rovaniemi on Politics and Evil.

Members of the advisory board are renowned scholars like Neera Chandhoke, Maeve Cooke, Herman De Dijn, Sebastiano Maffettone, András Lánczi, Johannes van der Ven, while the members and cooperative partners include Aakash Singh, Tom Bailey, András Csepregi, Jianhong Chen, Michael Hoelzl, Patrick Loobuyck, Theo de Wit, William Desmond, John Rundell, Walter van Herck, Peter Jonkers, and Matthias Riedl.

Forthcoming publications of the network: From Political Theory to Political Theology (eds. Péter Losonczi and Aakash Singh, Continuum, 2010) and we are about submitting another piece at LIT Verlag on Habermas' postsecular turn.

We have started working on further pieces based on the presentations of the 2009 conference and additional texts. Mika will be co-editor of a book with theological studies.

We intend to submit applications regarding financing on national and international level and intensify the cooperation in the most diverse forms possible. If you get interested in this initiative do not hesitate and contact me at lospeter at the domain yahoo dot com.

Péter Losonczi

Did Paul Invent Christianity?

Tough Questions Answered FE689404-8615-4D05-B6C5-CD78C8CDCD33.jpgbegins a longer post thinking through the argument according to which St Paul is the true author of what goes for Christianity these days. Read the first part here:

Recently I’ve run across people who believe that the apostle Paul effectively hijacked Jesus’ teachings and invented most of what we today call Christianity.  Even though this seems to be a view with few advocates, it is still an important charge that is being made. How do we answer this question?

This argument has been made by Jacob Taubes and Alain Badiou, among others.

(Via Tough Questions Answered.)


PS: the second part can be found here.


The laestadian community in Finland is currently in the midst of a pedophile scandal. A prominent Pietarsaari preacher of the Word of Peace-community allegedly abused more than ten of his grandchildren in the 1970s and 80s. The accused has since passed away and the blame is now laid on the parents, who not only tolerated the abuse of their children but helped to cover it up for decades.

RIL News -- a bilingual Finnish news aggregator advocating a Christian worldview -- is monitoring the story here. Helsingin Sanomat is also following up (in Finnish) by reporting on the fallout of the scandal in Pietarsaari: children turning against their parents and local politicians reporting each other to the police.

What the media is making out of this case is the Roman Catholic sex abuses writ small.


Peacekeeper's prayerbook in Siuntio

Your editor will be on the road again 15.--16.1.2010 as he attends the 3rd conference of the Finnish International Studies Association (KATSE) in Siuntio, Finland. I will present an abstract of a paper I am currently outlining (in Finnish) on the Peacekeeper's Prayerbook -- indeed an interesting politico-theological document produced by the Finnish Defence Forces.

Tried to google for something that would address UN's peacekeeping from a theological perspective, and just about the only title to turn up is the doctoral dissertation by a Finnish theologian Timo Ryhänen: Spirituality of Finnish Peacekeepers (University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology: 2006).

If I am missing something obvious let me know in the comments.


Greetings and a good blog FYI

It's 2010 and we are officially up and running. As of 1.1.2010 the project employs Tapio Nykänen; Sandra Wallenius begins on 1.4.2010, and rest of the team will join them later. All the researchers employed by the project will contribute to this blog: tell us about their research and comment on topical issues regarding laestadianism and political theology/religion in general.

The Prosblogion is a blog on the philosophy of religion I just added on Lars' blogroll. Looks like like quality posts and regular updates. If you are interested in the current debates in theism/atheism and apologetics, go have a look.