“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, September 15, 2023

A Concise Description of Hell

Hell: In Search of a Christian Ecology

Timothy Morton (Columbia University Press, Earth Day, 2024)

Escaping global warming Hell requires a radical, mystical marriage of Christianity and biology that awakens a future beyond white male savagery. 

Environmentalism desperately needs an “I have a dream” moment, a planet-scale call of spiritual magnitude that inspires even people who feel complicit, or despairing, or just numb and uncaring, to create a better future. Enough of the yelling, enough of the revenge speak. 

And environmentalism needs to connect to anti-racism, to feminism, to anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia…

Conversely, religion needs to land on Earth and stop fueling Apocalyptic stories of the necessary destruction of Earth. 

And we are only too well aware of the all-out Christian-fueled assault on “woke” and LGBTQ people, fueled by a demonic sense of being the “goodies.” 

There is a profound relationship between what religion and environmentalism need. 

What if there was something about religion that was deeply environmental, ecological…biological? What if there was something about ecology that responded deeply to religious, or spiritual, or mystical feeling? 

This book finds a solution in a radical revaluation of Christianity. The point is to create a nonviolent army: vulnerable, blessed with a sense of irony, ambiguity, humor and beauty; to see the biosphere as a beautiful accident, driven by the sheer contingency of natural selection, sexual display and symbiosis. 

Ecological politics requires a language of mercy and forgiveness, and Christianity needs to remember mercy and forgiveness. 

The key to both? An all-out assault on the ultimate Satanic mill: the concept of master and slave, manifesting worldwide today in white supremacy and patriarchy. How humans treat each other is how they treat the biosphere. 

A surprising positive vision of Christianity from a woke humanities scholar?! Wowzers! 

A call for a worldwide antiracist environmental movement. 

A marriage of science and Christianity that doesn’t reduce one to the other. 

A lavish and loving guide to living with the help of William Blake. 

A weirdly simple fusion of biology and mysticism that puts race and gender issues front and center. 

Provides off-ramps for people who are feeling awful about religion, but also provides on-ramps, and  this curious spirally thing is a feature not a bug!

Beauty is totally trans! You find peacock tails beautiful? I rest my case. 

Joe Truck Driver knows something that makes him immune to the discourse of ecological revenge: Jesus loves him anyway. Even the stupidest version of this is superior to every possible revenge discourse. 

The sacred is the feel of biology. Who knew? 

Life is a beautiful accident. Life and thought are magnified quantum theory.  

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