The religious impulse must be strongly imprinted in a human psyche indeed. As fewer and fewer people seriously subscribe to traditional religions, the instinct and the patterns of belief merely get transferred onto other areas of life. Like the environment:
A new survey shows that three-quarters of adults agree that climate change will cause the extinction of humanity.
In fact, nearly half of the 2,000 Americans over 18 surveyed feel climate change will doom the planet within the next 200 years. Shockingly, many young adults think 200 years is a generous number. The survey finds that one in five millennials actually believes that climate change will bring about the end of the world — during their lifetime.
Perhaps more realistically, more than half of the participants think that while the world won’t end while they’re still alive, they do expect to see major changes from a warming planet — such as dramatically higher sea levels. One in three even believes they’ll likely wind up moving to another city because of climate change effects at some point. Similarly 60 percent say they wouldn’t buy a home somewhere where such effects are more likely.
While nearly all respondents (96 percent) admit they’re worried about climate change to some degree, one in four say it’s their biggest fear — with millennials twice as likely to feel that way. A fifth of millennials say they won’t even have children because they fear the condition of the planet for future generations.
This is a secular version of eschatology or the theology of the End Days.
Those who are familiar with the run up to the year 1000, 1500 and other dates that were expected to bring the Second Coming and set in train the countdown to the Last Judgment and the end of the world, the Rapture or whatever will find much familiar today.
Instead of a God in the Holy Trinity we have a new pantheism, where our carbon sins anger the vengeful Gaia. Unless we repent we shall all be destroyed. But the signs of the Armageddon are already upon us for all to see and it might be too late. So put on your sackcloth and sprinkle your head with ash. And follow Millenarian prophets like Al Gore or the angry child Greta Thunberg.
But unlike the old time religion, with this lot there is no promise of reward in an afterlife.
The Millenarian Millennials are really screwed.
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where this piece also appears.
Illustration: Warner Bros/Dreamworks.
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