Spreading the message of environmental responsibility may be one of the critical challenges of our time, but I’m not convinced about the Archbeard of all England’s approach, as expounded yesterday in a sermon delivered at York Minster.
Rowan Williams says that God will not intervene to stop us wrecking the natural world, and the archbishop urges a “radical change of heart” to prevent runaway climate change. Humanity, he says, must turn away from the selfishness and greed which lead it to ignore the interdependence between living creatures and their environment.
That’s all very well and platitudinous, but none bar the End of Times brigade and those blinded by faux-libertarian political ideologies are arguing that we can safely sit back, take it easy and not worry about the environment. The Invisible Magic Friend will sort it out, say the lunatics, or scientists will come up with a technical fix before it’s too late. Selfishness does indeed play a part in the lassaiz-faire mentality, but self-centredness, whether religious or secular, looks no further than the survival of the human organism during its three score years and ten of ascetic or hedonistic existence. For the majority, God is now an irrelevance.
Williams is, however, quite right to say that his God will not guarantee a “happy ending”. That is the job of a Thai masseuse. I’ll get my coat.