The question of whether Avatar endorses a “nature-worshiping” message or whether that message is accurate are two entirely different inquiries. The following eight reasons to NOT worship nature are written under the assumption that Avatar does endorse such a message. Regardless however, even without Avatar such reasons are still relevant given the “Back to Nature,” “Mother Earth,” and “Global Warming” movements. I believe there are a great many reasons to reject the worship of nature – And by worship I’m referring the idolization, attributing god-like status, and honoring by prescribed “redemptive” actions. I’m not referring to conservation (although nature worship motivations can play a part in some people’s minds.)
1. It Contradicts Biblical Truth.
The Bible has been shown to withstand the most careful scrutinizing and the most aggressive skeptical attacks. There are many passages which forbid, show the error in, and pronounce consequences on nature worship and its adherents. As the apostle Paul wrote concerning “unrighteous men who suppress the truth,” “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”
2. It Personifies Inanimate Objects
A tree will not congratulate you for picking up litter, a rock will not withhold its wrath because you are “telepathically connected,” and a seagull won’t stop to think about relieving itself on your hair simply because you don’t eat meat. In the realm of fantastical literature we refer to “personification” as the literary element used to place human characteristics on non-human entities. There’s a reason this only occurs in fantasy novels.
3. It Misdirects Its Efforts
“Nature’s God” as referred to by Jefferson is the source of “rights.” Not nature. The privileges we possess don’t come from nature. To assume that they can be taken away by nature is to concede to pantheism or atheism, both logically impossible positions to defend in the light of reason. It furthermore ascribes a moral code derived from nature, which precludes charity –“The Law of the Jungle” as they use to call it. “Nature’s God” deserves reverence, not nature itself.
4. It Mistakes the Physical for the Spiritual
If you blow up a gold mine, you may set off an earthquake. If you stand under a cliff, a rock may fall on your head. If you jump into the sea, you may get eaten by a shark. All these are examples of physical relationships. There’s no ultra-spiritual component to them. Nature does not posses the power to avenge itself or place benevolence on its worshipers. It simply acts and reacts to the laws of physics set up by “Nature’s God.”
5. It Ascribes Morality to an Amoral System.
This is could be a sub-point to any one of the above points, but I believe it deserves some attention all to itself. As stated before, nature is guided by physics. Physics has no moral component. (For instance, a scientific experiment will never tell you whether the Nazis or the British were right in WWII) Therefore nature has no moral component. Evil people have used it for their advantage, and good people have used it for theirs. However, morality does exist. (As evidenced by self-evident truths such as the conscience, and observational truths such as the universal moral order) Therefore, in order to find out how to “ethically” treat nature, we must look for our answer outside of nature. Unfortunately, if you treat nature as a god, there is no “outside the system.”
6. It Presupposes Communications From Nature
Many who worship nature assume that it somehow wants to be treated “right,” according to the dictates of our conscience. However, where did this information come from? How are we to know that nature doesn’t want us to abuse it? There’s been no communication, nor is there a verifiable means by which we can communicate with it. It certainly is a “blind faith” in the truest sense of the word to suppose nature wants to be treated favorably, when it has not made those intentions clear.
7. It Supposes Diametrically Opposed Attributes
Suppose for a minute nature wanted to be treated right, and conserved. If it wasn’t conserved we would “suffer the consequences” as so many environmentalists would have us believe. If nature is so intelligent that it can somehow know who its culprits are, and thereby handle its own justice, why can’t it communicate its intentions? Either it’s not powerful, or it’s not intelligent. Either way, we have no reason to worship it.
8. It Distinguishes Between Man and His Environment
How come it seems those advocating a “return to nature” think we’ve somehow “left” it? If nature’s language is physics, and we are within the bounds of physics, what is the distinctions between us and our surroundings? Are we not part of our surroundings? And by the “survival of the fittest” mentality that naturalists tend to posses, it would seem logical that we should be able to “rape” the earth for all its worth and still be considered within the bounds of natural law (note: I’m not referring to Jefferson’s natural law but rather Darwin’s). Environmentalists make a distinction between man and his environment but never give a logical reason for this. Are we not all products of the same primordial soup (by their logic)?
There may be more reasons, but I pray this will suffice to point out the drastic inaccuracies and logical fallacies innate in those who advocate a “return to nature” and “worship for mother earth.”