Katherine Lofthouse interviews Rev. Chris Korda
for Planet Ivy.
KL: Possibly then, a good place to start would be to ask your reaction to suggestions that the church isn't serious or those that perhaps don't take the church seriously, for various reasons (I've read a few responses that seem to interpret it this way).
CK: It's a dull response. The CoE above all is art, or more specifically neo-Dadism. I'm generally in favor of saving human civilization, to whatever extent that's still achievable. One of the main reasons civilization is so valuable is because of the tremendously varied and interesting art it creates. People who don't take art seriously are hardly worth saving. The CoE is also an extraordinary cultural development--name another antihuman religion!--and to dismiss it as a prank is to show appalling ignorance of the history of modern thought. The CoE is made possible by, and contributes to the development of intrinsic rights. The notion that individuals should have the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness merely by virtue of existing is still radically new, even on the time scale of civilization. Emancipation and sexual liberation are interesting consequences but nowhere near enough; to avoid extinction, humanity must make the mental leap to intergenerational justice--the right of earth's future inhabitants to the same benefits we enjoyed--and full recognition of the intrinsic rights of non-humans. Humans are not the only thing on earth that enjoys life. Bacteria were always going to inherit earth, only the timing was in question. 99% of all species that have ever existed on earth are now extinct. If humans freak at the peak and wipe themselves out, the universe won't cry any salty tears for us; we'll simply be on the rubbish heap with all the other failed species. It'll be tough titty for cats, dogs, cows, etc. but for most species our demise would be a huge opportunity. The last time earth was as warm as we're proposing to make it, there were crocodiles in the Arctic. A hothouse earth favors reptiles, not mammals, and there would be a certain poetic justice in their resurgence since we've been so unkind to them. Contrary to popular belief, the long-term evolutionary success of humanity is by no means preordained.
KL: Was there a particular tipping point - an identifiable moment or event - that caused you to found the church?
CK: Yes. It was a headline in the New York times, which said "Scientists predict global warming irreversible." I would have been about ten years old.
KL: Do you agree with allegations in the past that suicides have occurred because, or with the help of, the church site? If so, how do you feel about it?
CK: It's a suicide cult! Of course people killed themselves. Sometimes we helped them. Get over it. Euthanasia literally means "good death" and in theory doctors are bound by the Hippocratic Oath to provide it, just as much as "good life". It hasn't worked out that way, thanks to the influence of the Catholic Church and similarly pernicious ideologies, but people are wising up, albeit slowly and possibly too late. Every person has an absolute right to end their life with dignity, in the same way that every woman has an absolute right to abort her fetus. Entire countries have duly codified this into law, e.g. Netherlands and Belgium.
KL: Many of the issues the church comments on - for example, suicide, or your statements on the twin towers - are controversial topics that many people have been directly affected by. What are your thoughts on how your comments and videos will affect, and potentially upset, them?
CK: It's good for you. You're not upset enough, not by a long shot. I can tell because you're still playing with your toys, jetting about and shopping.
KL: What's coming up in the future for CoE?
CK: Climate change, coming soon to a planet near you. I spend half my life reading climate science papers. Scientists normally tend to be very cautious. Exaggeration is a huge crime in science, right up there with faking your data. When prominent scientists like James Hansen get themselves handcuffed to the Whitehouse fence, you should be scared. It matters what you do during the next five years. The whole enchilada is at risk: decent housing, cafes, indoor plumbing, schools, hospitals, art galleries, the internet, a decent way of life that doesn't involve cowering in caves. Failure is a very real possibility. If we succeed it will be by cooperating on a vast scale, and exhibiting altruism not just towards friends and family but towards funny-looking people we don't like, and towards future generations and non-humans. Individual survivalism absolutely won't work. Collapsniks like Dmitry Orlov and Guy McPherson are dead wrong. Their business model is persuading people to prepare for a zombie movie. Buy some land far north (and their books of course), learn to farm and sew, stock up on canned food and ammunition, and you'll be OK. They want collapse to happen, because they think they can survive it and be the noble savages that purify the human race. It's total rubbish, because loss of civil society favors organized criminals, not intellectuals. If humanity loses control globally, Orlov and McPherson will be toast, along with anyone else with a shred of decency. If you want a model of that future, look at failed states: Sudan, Gaza, Iraq, Cambodia, Afghanistan, even the former Soviet Union. When it's every man for himself, the sociopaths win. They'll roll onto McPherson's farm, rape the women, kill everyone, take whatever they want, and burn the place to the ground. It should sound familiar because it's what passed for foreign policy for most of human history. Before civilization, people were bandits and pirates, controlled by bloodthirsty psychopaths. The Greek epic poems are pirate stories depicting the glorious pillage of hapless neighbors. Collaspniks romanticize collapse because they've never been pirates, and probably don't even have contact with criminals--sensibly enough since it's an easy way to wind up dead or worse.
KL: If the church's current tactics don't work, what do you think would be the next step to save the planet?
CK: There isn't time for a next step. You personally are deciding the fate of human civilization, right now. The remaining fossil fuels need to be left in the ground forever. Drastic changes to our entire way of life are urgently required. Only governments are sufficiently powerful to act quickly and decisively enough, and they won't change easily. Nothing short of heroic achievement will do the trick. Think WWII. Occupy is just the beginning: we need to do better, much better. Humans may be an intelligent species. We'll soon find out. If we are, we'll abandon fossil fuels and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. If you decide to hose the future, don't expect your precious offspring to remember you fondly.