OPINIONSrnChicken Little Is a Christianrnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rn”Good News.”rn-Title of a novel by Edward Abbey about the collapse of civilization in the American SouthwestrnEarthkeeping in the ’90s: Stewardshiprnof CreationrnEdited by Loren WilkinsonrnGrand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans;rn391 pp., $19.99rnGod Is Greenrnby Ian BradleyrnNew York: Doubleday; 118 pp., $8.00rnGreen Delusions: AnrnEnvironmentalist Critique ofrnRadical Environmentalismrnby Martin W. EewisrnDurham, North Carolina: DukernUniversity Press; 288 pp., $24.95rnA Green History of the World: ThernEnvironment and the Collapse ofrnGreat Civilizationsrnby Clive PantingrnNew York: St. Martin’s Press;rn432 pp., $24.95rnThe chief victim to date in the socalledrnCulture War is neitherrnGeorge Bush nor the Republican Partyrnbut “the Environment,” or what Christiansrnused to call Creation. In the morernthan two decades since environmentalismrnemerged as an international causerncelebre, opponents as well as proponentsrnhave insested so much of their energies,rnbeliefs, and themselves in the issue thatrnit has become second only to the abortionrnquestion in its ability to elicit visceralrnand even violent response. Therntruth is that anti-abortionism and environmentalismrnare philosophically andrnfundamentally related interests, and onlyrnpride and a mutual conviction thatrnthey are arguing from first principlesrnalien to and incomprehensible by thernChilton Wiliamson, Jr., is senior editorrnfor books at Chronicles.rnother side present the two groups fromrnunderstanding that they actually hold,rnas it were, two ends of the same stick—rnthat the case for protecting human lifernin the womb is related to, though notrnsynonymous with, the argument for preservingrnthe natural world from man’srndepredation. Theoretically at least, thernpossibility exists for pro-life Christians,rnwho tend to be indifferent to ecologicalrnconcerns, to acknowledge the moralrnjustification of demands by environmentalistsrnfor the respect and care menrnowe to nature, and also for environmentalists,rnmost of whom frankly encouragernabortion, to concede that thernhuman fetus has a just claim to be treatedrnas equal in value to a baby seal.rn”Theoretically,” however, is one ofrnthe most problematical words in the Englishrnlanguage. The enmity betweenrnenvironmentalists and anti-environmentalistsrnfrom the very beginning hasrndisplayed that personal animosity observablernin all standoffs arising fromrnontological disagreements, which arernalways perceived as confrontations betweenrnthe children of light and the childrenrnof darkness. Which side bears therngreater blame is probably not significant,rnas well as being hard to ascertain,rnbut certainly the biggest problem withrnenvironmentalism is environmentalists,rnas the worst thing about capitalism hasrnalways been capitalists. What is importantrnis that one set of -ists has grown tornhate the other set even more than it detestsrnits -ism, and vice versa, makingrnopen and sympathetic discourse nearlyrnimpossible. Yet if the threat to the biologicalrnplanet is to be honestly assessedrnand effectively addressed, this situationrnneeds to be rectified, and sooner ratherrnthan later.rnAt issue is the question of whetherrnthe natural world is good or not, thernstuff of divinity or else mere stuff, to bernworshiped or exploited by the race ofrnmen. This radical dichotomy, clearlyrnrecognizable in contemporary argument,rnamounts to actual tradition in the West,rnbeginning at least with Plato, whorntaught that the ideal forms beyond thernnatural world arc alone of value. Platornwas followed by Aristotle, who believedrnin the reality of true forms in nature butrndisbelieyed in the soul as immortal spirit.rnThe Stoics recognized nature as divine,rnwhile the Epicureans dismissedrnspeculation regarding forms, purposes,rnor final ends in nature. During thernMiddle Ages, thinking about nature wasrnkept separate from acting upon it; whenrnthe division between thought and actionrnwas healed, the modern age began.rnBut the new age drove a wedge of itsrnown devising when Descartes concludedrnmind and matter to be unrelated phenomena,rnthereby encouraging the notionrnof the created world as a machinernlacking divine presence and accessiblernby man through scientific study for exploitationrnto solely human ends. Recently,rnaggravated Westerners with morernsusceptibility than sense have embracedrnthe Eastern religions that teach the divinityrnof nature caught up in pantheisticrnwholeness, while better educated onesrn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn