Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christian Environmentalism...

So lately I've been hearing a lot about environmentalism on a blog or two around the interwebs. I've also heard a thing or two about it from friends around campus, and that's probably because there was a convocation speaker here about three weeks ago who discussed Christian environmentalism. Dr. Cal DeWitt came and spoke to us both as an environmental scientist and as an Evangelical Christian (what a rare combination!), and I think it spurred a lot of debate and thought.

I remember during the VP debate hearing Sarah Palin talk about "global climate change" and her agnosticism towards humanity's causal relationship towards it. She recently evolved a bit on her stance in an MSNBC interview where she admitted that man could play a role in global warming, but we don't know the true extent. I'm not happy with her stance still, but at least she's showing a bit of change and progress. My belief is that one can only bury their head in the sand for so long before they get tired of all the dirt in their mouths.

I got really upset when I read this post by a web site dedicated to finding out what the Bible really has to say about our lives. At first I was excited to read them quoting Gen 1:28, which is the verse in which God gives man stewardship over the earth; however, I went on to read them say things like "We should not allow environmentalism to become a form of idolatry." I knew right then I had entered Spin Alley. They went on to misconstrue a lot of facts and give out a lot of false information about global warming and continue to put the environment backseat to our relationship with God.

Don't get me wrong my friends. I don't think that we should be pantheists who worship the environment and somehow deny God. I simply don't understand why the Right is making it an "either or" choice. That's silly. I think if one is truly honest with themselves, there is no way to get around environmental ethics, especially if you're religious.

If someone gives you a gift out of love, that gift becomes something greater than the object itself. The object becomes a symbol of the affectionate relationship you and that person share. In that way, you would never take the gift given to you and destroy it. That would be a sign of great disrespect for the person who gave you the gift and it would betray you for the less than virtuous person you really are. In that way, how can we as Christians deny the fact that we must do everything we can to take care of our planet which was entrusted to us by God (Biblically speaking)? We cannot. The planet, just like everything else we encounter in life, should be seen as a metaphor for our relationship with God. If our relationship with God does not fill us with the compassion needed to care for Earth, chances are our relationship with God isn't in good shape.

I'd be more than willing to debate this with anyone, but I don't think any Christian in their right mind could back up the idea that God wants us to do whatever we want with our planet. We can't drill everywhere, we can't kill everything, we can't pave everything over. It's disrespectful and it will ultimately lead to our own demise.

What I'm still trying to figure out is this: Why are Christians so obstinate in this area? Really, I think selfishness and ego are at the heart. There is a deep desire to maintain status quo, which gives them permission to continue doing whatever they want as long as they think they've got the "truth" nailed down and their relationship with Baby Jesus is okay. We've gotta work on that, I think.


PeterAtLarge said...

Nice new site, Mark! Congratulations. I'll have to change my link... Best of luck with the new one.

Mozart said...

This is similar to concepts we've been discussing with Ess in Alpha. Of course, it all lies in the interpretation of Biblical passages. If "stewardship" translates to "mastery," then what's the big deal? Mastery over the over the beasts and forests seems to imply that we have complete control over them, and can do what we please. Then, too, is the oh-so-obvious fact that mankind was created in God's image. As such, he is the indeed the master--the most godlike form on Earth. After all, God in his infinite benevolence supplied a stocked pantry just for the needs and wants of man. Why shouldn't he partake? And since God is not only benevolent but also all-powerful, if mankind inadvertently screws up the environment (as if that's even possible, since it was all created in perfection for his use!), well, God will take care of it.

Is that the logic?

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Anonymous said...

Greed, pure and simple. Taking care of the earth requires sacrificing some of your wants, which people typically don't want to do. Easier to say it's our place to rule the earth as we see fit and keep driving our Hummers.