“The New Cosmology” and Environmental Extremism

CZ writes: “A woman who used to minister at our local Catholic retreat house recently died. Her obit talks about having spent the last ten years in teaching “the New Cosmology.” What is that? Just from the sound of it, I am sure it is not in accord with Catholicism and church teaching.”

Your hunch is right on the money, CZ.

The “New Cosmology” refers to a new way of looking at the world in the light of discoveries about the Earth’s age, evolution, etc.  As one advocate  of the “New Cosmology” writes, “Our new challenge is to reinvent our civilization. The major institutions of the modern period, including that of agriculture and religion and education and economics, need to be re-imagined within an intelligent, self-organizing, living Universe, so that instead of degrading the Earth’s life systems, humanity might learn to join the enveloping community of living beings in a mutually enhancing manner. . . .”

As you might imagine, environmental extremists and their various “green religions” are having a field day with the idea that the Earth is a living, breathing organism that must be treated with respect. Also known as the Gaia Hypothesis, it’s really just an updated version of the worship of an ancient Greek god named Gaia – or Mother Earth – which has been repackaged with scientific-sounding language to suit the modern tastes of the New Age and Neopagan environmental movements.

Naturally, a cosmology such as this one offers a radical reinterpretation of God, the Trinity, Genesis, etc., but that hasn’t stopped Catholics from embracing it.

A good example would be Sr. Miriam McGillis of the Genesis Farm in Blairstown, New Jersey. The Farm is a “learning center for reinhabiting the earth” which she refers to as a “CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscription farming program” in an article that appeared almost a decade ago in the National Catholic Reporter. This is how she describes the Farm’s philosophy:

“Genesis Farm is rooted in a belief that the universe, Earth, and all reality are permeated by the presence and power of that ultimate Holy Mystery that has been so deeply and richly expressed in the world’s spiritual traditions. We try to ground our ecological and agricultural work in this deep belief. This Sacred Mystery, known by so many religious names, is the common thread in our efforts.”

She goes on to say that the purpose of the Farm is to teach this new cosmology to others. “That’s a large part of what we do, telling the universe story and exploring what Fr. Thomas Berry called ‘the great work,’ the task of reinventing the human at the species level in order to promote a mutually-enhancing Earth-human relationship.”

(Just so you can get an idea of where this is going, Father Thomas Berry was a leading spokesman for the Gaia earth religion who once wrote that we should “rethink our ideas about God” and “place less emphasis on Christ as a person and redeemer.”)

She goes on to say that the philosophy of agriculture she uses at the farm was developed by Rudolph Steiner “who was both a mystic and a scientist.” She neglects to add that Steiner was also an anthroposophist who was deeply immersed in the occult.

The Farm’s main work seems to be about teaching people how to live off the land once the world’s oil supplies run out.

Apparently, this reconnection with the earth requires pagan rituals such as walking the land and asking it to accept us and feed us. As they walked, they gave the land gifts of bee pollen and cornmeal, and prayed that the land would teach them how to be real members of the community.

In this Q&A with Sister Miriam in 2018, she was asked why she never mentions God when speaking about creation. She gave the following non-answer: “It’s an understandable question. The answer is that God is a mystery. We make images and pictures to describe the mystery, but those things limit the limitless. A picture is a prison for that mystery. When we say, ‘Where is God'” we know from what we’ve been able to observe that the universe goes back almost 14 billion years. But even that’s so far beyond our brains’ ability to comprehend, why don’t we let it be what it is and be grateful? It’s 13 billion years later, and you’re standing in a field, and that initial energy [from creation] has morphed all that you see into these different things. You’re barely able to take it in. It’s phenomenal.”

I think this should give you a good idea of what “the New Cosmology” is all about and why it is best left to the environmental extremists who endorse it.

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