Climate change. It’s the phrase on everyone’s lips, the spectre hanging over all our lives, exerting enormous pressure on what we do and, increasingly, how we behave. It’s called ‘environmental stress’.
Climate change isn’t new. It happened in the Middle East several thousand years ago, right on the cusp of Biblical times. Environmental stress drove peaceful people to the violent, masculine-dominant behaviour seen in the Old Testament.
The same trend is happening today.
Look around you. From emotional meltdowns to social media rants to mass shootings, stress exacts a growing toll. Unpredictability is rising. Chaos is the new normal.
Environmental stress isn’t random. It works in highly specific ways, which lie at the heart of the Old Testament. By understanding the Old Testament we can predict how environmental stress will impact us today—and see how Jesus’ message of unconditional love is the antidote to the crisis of our times.
An enduring gift
The Old Testament is a magnificent document, a timeless portal between divinity and humanity, an enduring gift from Judaism . It has illuminated painful truths in my life, for which I’m deeply grateful.
Yet I know that many struggle with its depiction of a capricious deity who demands blind obedience to a raft of male-dominant laws, raining down a seemingly indiscriminate cocktail of violence and mercy.
How do we reconcile this with Jesus’ living example of non-judgment, unconditional love and forgiveness the Earth so desperately needs at this time?
The values Jesus promotes are from the feminine side of human nature. Yet the bedrock of Christianity is a book that systematically diminishes the feminine.
Jesus asks us to lead with love, to gravitate from our heads to our hearts.
Jesus asks us to lead with love, to gravitate from our heads to our hearts. His 2,000-year-old message is entirely resonant with 21st century humanist values—pacifist, pro-feminine and pro the LGBTQ rainbow—and fundamentally at odds with the patriarchal values embedded in the Old Testament.
Irresistible force v. immovable object
Patriarchal values are anachronistic. Yet God  is never an anachronism. Can the Old Testament be reconciled with humanist values? Isn’t this the irresistible force of progress meeting the immovable object of an ancient text?
The text can’t be changed, but its context can be reassessed. When read as an emotional blueprint, the origins of the Old Testament’s anti-feminine values—and the behaviour of the deity that imposed them—become clear.
The Old Testament was a response to climate change.
The Old Testament was a response to climate change. That response teaches us much about the human condition. It reveals a need to regenerate Christianity to fully embrace the qualities of its founder, giving us the emotional cohesion to meet the challenges of our time.
Welcome to ROCI21—the Regeneration Of Christianity In the 21st century. I’ll be as brief as I can: four parts, each no more than a 5-minute read.
How climate change created the world of the Old Testament
Long-term drought starting around 4000 BC turned the equatorial belt from North Africa to Central Asia—including the Middle East—from grassland to desert.
How drought, desertification and famine created the modern human psyche
Environmental stress from loss of habitat turned peaceful people into warrior societies, leading to the traumatization of the feminine and the rise of patriarchy.
How Old Testament taboos created our current social rules
The Old Testament emerged as a history of this violent shift—the Fall—and a rulebook for patriarchy, the only socio-political system that could survive this crisis.
“Come Alive” – from the valley of dry bones to the Kingdom of Heaven
Two millennia after Jesus we still live by the unconscious rules of patriarchy, with growing chaos and anxiety from environmental stress. It’s time for regeneration.
Click on the endnote number to return to the main text.
 For an inquiry into the authors of the first five books of the Old Testament, I recommend Richard Elliott Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible?
 I use the term in the same sense as George Robinson in Essential Torah: “God is beyond gender.”