Calvinism Without God
American Environmentalism as Implicit Calvinism
AbstractEnvironmentalism has emerged as an important part of the American public debate since the 1960s. It challenges the longstanding implicit faith in economic progress as the path of salvation of the world. The exercise of human scientific and economic mastery is instead seen as frequently doing great damage to the natural world, including to the global climate and the endangerment of whole species of plants and animals. To a greater degree than most environmentalists realize, the real roots of their thinking lie in Christian (and Jewish) sources. One might describe environmentalism as an implicit Christianity—a religion in disguise. In the United States, reflecting the large historic influence of Puritanism on the intellectual and political life of the nation, American environmentalism is an implicit Calvinism. This has been a major contributing factor to its wide success and impact there. Assessing the future prospects for American environmentalism will require the development of a more complete understanding of its deeply religious essence.
Bailey, Edward. 1990. “Implicit Religion: A Bibliographical Introduction.” Social Compass 37: 483–498.
———. 1997. Implicit Religion in Contemporary Society. Kampen, Netherlands: Kok Pharos.
———. 1998. Implicit Religion: An Introduction. London: Middlesex University Press.
———. 2009. “Implicit Religion.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, edited by Peter B. Clarke. New York: Oxford University Press.
———. 2010. “Implicit Religion.” Religion 40(4): 271–278.
Bartkowski, John P., and W. Scott Swearingen.1997. “God meets Gaia in Austin, Texas: A Case Study of Environmentalism as Implicit Religion.” Review of Religious Research 38(4): 308–324. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3512193
Bottum, Joseph. 2014. “The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.” The American: The Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, February 22.
Callicott, J. Baird. 1998. “That Good Old-time Wilderness Religion.” In The Great New Wilderness Debate, edited by J. Baird Callicott and Michael P. Nelson, 387–394. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Dunlap, Thomas R. 2004. Faith in Nature: Environmentalism as Religious Quest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press,
———. 2006. “Environmentalism, a Secular Faith.” Environmental Values 15: 321–330. http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327106778226284
Economist. 2002. “Never the Twain Shall Meet.” February 2.
Edwards, Jonathan. 1948. The Images and Shadows of Things Divine. Edited by Perry Miller. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Ekirch, Arthur A., Jr. 1963. Man and Nature in America. New York: Columbia University Press.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1990. “Nature.” In Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Essays, Lectures and Poems. Edited by Robert D. Richardson, Jr. New York: Bantam Books.
Fischer, David Hackett. 1989. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gore, Al. 2010. “We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change.” New York Times. February 27.
Hammer, Ron. November 28, 2005. “Narnia: The Light of the Lamp-Post.” Sermon-Central.com, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/narnia-the-light-of-the-lamppost-ron-hammer-sermon-on-narnia-85612.asp?Page=6.
Hill, Thomas, Jr. 2006. “Finding Value in Nature.” Environmental Values 15: 331–341. http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327106778226266
Jackson, Wes. 2003. “Interview.” Austin, Texas, July 1. Go to http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/wesjackson.htm .
Johnson, Warren. 1978. Muddling Towards Frugality. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
Kerr, Hugh T. ed. 1989. Calvin’s Institutes: A New Compend. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press.
Kingson, Jennifer. 2011. “Personal Concierges Ease Transition to Green.” New York Times. October 23.
Leopold, Aldo. 1949. Sand County Almanac. New York: Oxford University Press.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1984. Marxism and Christianity. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Miller, Perry. 1964. Errand Into the Wilderness. New York: Harper and Row.
Naess, Arne. 1973. “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-range Ecology Movement: A Summary.” Inquiry 16: 95–100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00201747308601682
Nelson, Robert H. 1991. Reaching For Heaven On Earth: The Theological Meaning of Economics. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
———. 1993. “Environmental Calvinism: The Judeo-Christian Roots of Environmental Theology.” In Taking the Environment Seriously, edited by Roger E. Meiners and Bruce Yandle, 233–255. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
———. 1996. “Bruce Babbitt, Pipeline to the Almighty.” The Weekly Standard. June 24.
———. 2001. Economics As Religion: From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
———. 2010a. The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion versus Environmental Religion in Contemporary America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. (Revised Edition, 2014.)
———. 2010b. “Max Weber Revisited.” In Religion, Economy, and Cooperation. Edited by Ilkka Pyysiainen. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110246339.157
———. 2011. “Rethinking Church and State: The Case of Environmental Religion.” Pace Environmental Law Review 29(1): 121–217.
Petre, Jonathan. 2007. “J. K. Rowling: Christianity inspired Harry Potter.” The Telegraph. October 20.
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. 2012. “Nones” on the Rise: One in Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. October.
Ralston, Holmes, III. 2006. “Caring for Nature: What Science and Economics Can’t Teach Us but Religion Can.” Environmental Values 15: 307–315. http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327106778226338
Rodriguez, Gregory. 2007. “Greenness is Next to Godliness.” Los Angeles Times, December 10.
Stewart, Susan. 2006. “Response to Brady, Phillips and Ralston.” Environmental Values 15: 315–320. http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327106778226301
Santmire, H. Paul. 2000. Nature Reborn: The Ecological and Cosmic Promise of Christian Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
Stoll, Mark. 2001. “Green Versus Green: Religions, Ethics, and the Bookchin-Foreman Dispute.” Environmental History 6, 3: 412–427. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3985662
Tarakeshwar, Nalini, Aaron B. Swank, Kenneth I. Pargament, and Annette Mahoney. 2001. “The Sanctification of Nature and Conservatism: A Study of Opposing Religious Correlates of Environmentalism.” Review of Religious Research 42(4): 387–404. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3512131
Taylor, Bron. 2001. “Earth and Nature-based Spirituality (Part I): From Deep Ecology to Radical Environmentalism.” Religion 31(2): 175–193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/reli.2000.0256
Tillich, Paul. 1967. A History of Christian Thought: From its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Van Gelder, Leslie. 2004. “At the Confluence of Paradox: Implicit Religion and the Wild.” Implicit Religion 7(3): 207–227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/imre.126.96.36.199315
Wadler, Joyce. 2010. “Green, But Still Feeling Guilty.” New York Times. September 29.
Weber, Max. 1958. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Charles Scribner.
Wolfe, Linnie Marsh, ed. 1979. John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Worster, Donald. 1994. The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.