Friday, September 10, 2010

Pantheism: Man Is No More Than the Grass

Currently among other things, I'm reading and blogging through Pollution and the Death of Man by Francis Schaeffer.  In the second chapter Schaeffer observes how pantheism has been suggested as a better base for our ecology.  Schaeffer correctly states that the modern environmental approach "wants a moral base on which to deal with the ecological problem" (p20).  That there is an ecological problem is clear, "Modern man has seen that we are upsetting the balance of nature and the problem is drastic and urgent.  It's not just a matter of aesthetics, nor is the problem only future - the quality of life has already diminished for most modern men" (p22).  Schaeffer doesn't want to side with a modern technological consumerism but doesn't agree with the pantheistic direction of modern ecology. "Pantheism gives you an answer for unity, but it gives no meaning to the diversity" (p30).  Christianity as a theological system has the categories of diversity, horror and beauty, pantheism can only offer a disempowering unity.  The fact that things are inter-connected is true but it's hardly a moral basis for ecology. Finally Schaeffer notes that elevating nature depersonalizes humanity.  A pantheistic worldview offers "no real base for the dignity of man" (p32).