It’s undeniable, a rift has grown between science and religion. It may have started with a small crack caused by evolution but it has grown longer and wider. Today it seems like people believe that they have to choose between science and their faith. Religious proponents will attack any faults they see in science and atheists, who claim to be the proponents of science, will attack right back with vitriol that makes it seem like there can be no common ground.
Most scientists, who rather than opposing religion are more often agnostic (meaning they prescribe to no specific faith but find it’s better to keep an open mind), have lamented the rift and how it has led to people claiming with religious zeal that climate change is false. At first glance, the source of the gap may seem a mystery, but with a cynic’s eye, the source becomes woefully obvious.
Since the 1970’s ecologists have warned that the world is on the precipice of an environmental disaster. The nature of the disaster has not always been clear but the warning has been present. As the scientific evidence of this became more evident, the rift between science and religion also started to grow. Politicians began arguing that creationism should be taught in schools as well as evolution. This argument has forced the science-religion gap in America wider. As always in politics, the best way to find an answer is to follow the money.
Politicians often support the stances of their biggest financial backers. The fact that in doing so they can also paint themselves as strong proponents of religion may earn them the support of more fundamentalist voters but seems to be beside the point. One of the largest contributors to most politicians is often the oil industry. Uncoincidentally, they also have the most to lose if climate change is widely accepted as the crisis that it is.
The all-or-nothing religion-versus-science fight benefits the oil industry more than could be imagined. When someone is merely factually wrong, providing them with facts will often serve to correct them, but when someone clings to a viewpoint despite the facts as a matter of faith, swaying them from that position becomes impossible.
Consider how politicians suddenly spoke to condemn the Pope for speaking out and saying man-made climate change is real and calling it an important moral crisis. They had to do this because if people saw that the Pope, arguably the most powerful religious leader in the western hemisphere, was a believer in climate change, that would be damning to the idea that this divide has to exist, and could undo all that they’ve worked so hard in the last 20-30 years to build.
We cannot let corporate greed blind us to the truth. People need to see that anthropogenic climate change is not an attack on their religion, rather a warning that this world we live in now is at huge risk unless something drastic is done very soon.