Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stewardship of the Environment: Not an Evangelical Priority

I came across this recent poll and it proves that global warming is fairly low in priority on most evangelicals' lists. I think this issue calls for a balance.
At the top 1.97%
Near the top 3.88%
Somewhere in the middle 10.44%
Near the bottom 13.10%
At the bottom 9.44%
Doesn't belong on the list 61.16%
There is science that proves global warming is indeed a trend in the environment, yet most evangelicals do not consider it a salient issue even to discuss. I do not agree with such as John MacArthur who uses pre-tribulation eschatology to discount it or even Jerry Falwell who simply said "I don't believe it." It also reminds me of when Joel Hunter declined taking the helm of the Christian Coalition.

This issue calls for balance; like many others.

10 comments:

Heather said...

Tony -

I saw a bumper sticker that said, "If God created it, why don't His children take care of it?"

OUCH! I think about that statement all the time ... I just don't get it. It's as if Christians think that there's something wrong with caring. Are the two oxymorons? Why has it become so?

Tony said...

Hi Heather,

Thanks for your question. It can get complicated, but I'll try to be brief. :)

The short answer is that because politics has become SO polarized, each side has their different talking points; conservatives "own" homosexuality and abortion. They do not give the image that they care about little else, though pressed they might say (consider Bush's recent "summit" regarding global warming) they care about poverty, wealth distribution, the AIDS pandemic, etc. The liberals seem to "own" those issues.

Though the Bible says we are to speak to those issues and to respond as Christ would, because of the polarization, and I think, poor hermeneutics, there is such a sharp divide between liberals and conservatives.

Conservatives' major talking points seem to have sex at the center--hot buttons like funding abstinence-only programs, homosexuality, civil unions, and abortion. These "sins" are easily quantifiable.

Meanwhile, conservatives are mum on the environment, fighting injustice, and caring for the poor and disadvantaged. These things were close to Jesus' heart, but you cannot attach a number to how many disadvantaged folks you gave help to or if efforts were really effective.

Conservatives also have a nasty penchant for distrusting science, so that just adds to the problem.

I don't know if that answered the question but that is my take on it.
Nice to see you!

Tim A. Blankenship said...

Tony,
There is an equal amount of science which proves there is no problem called global warming. Just thirty years ago we were being told by some of these scientist that the planet was getting colder.
Now, I for one am for being a good steward of our planet, but there are natural things happening that puts gases, and such into the air which we have absolutely no control over; volcanoes and such.
The things we can make a difference in like taking proper care of our trash - not littering highways, campsites, hiking trails, and things as that is where we need to start.
I don't know if you have notices lately, but some highways look like dump sites. That is something we can make a difference in. The weather, is a trend, we have no control over it, nor influence in it. It is all in the Creator's hands.

Tony said...

Tim,

I humbly disagree.

There is much science that proves global warming; meterological trends,topographical changes, ozone depletion, plus an enormous amount of carbon producing machinery, much more than thirty years ago that are affecting the climate.

I agree that we can control such things as litter but we can also make minor changes to reduce our carbon footprints as well.

It is not particularly the weather which we are talking about but what people eject into the atmosphere. No we cannot control weather patterns and I would not presume to say that we could. These are in God's capable hands.

However, I believe there is legitimate reason to be concerned over greenhouse emissions.

Streak said...

Tony, interesting discussion. I think American evangelicals have been anti-environment for a long time. They found Muir and others pagan, and I suspect thought that some of them were anti-progress. I think many also linked their Christianity to America very early on--and had so incorporated this Eden view of America as a rich wealth of resources. For example, many looked at deserts as one of God's failings because we had to add water to them to grow stuff.

Tim, I really don't understand. The scientific evidence is much stronger that the climate is warming than any alternative. I also don't understand why conservative evangelicals only see littering as the environmental problems we face. There is so much mercury in our oceans that pregnant women are urged to avoid seafood, and all of us are urged to limit our intake. The massive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers are killing reefs and poisoining our oceans. And we have cancer clusters next to some of our manufacturing centers. Littering is the very least of our environmental problems.

Heather, I think that bumper sticker is right on. I have heard many non-believers ask why Christians are so adamant about the creation story, yet so blase about destroying that very same creation. I have yet to come up with a good explanation.

Kodi said...

"EVANGELICAL PRIORITY"

I saw a bumper sticker that said, "If God created it, why don't His children take care of it?"

If Jesus was God then one would ask, "What are Gods priorities?"

From a "Christian" perspective I'd say Gods stated views from His given Word, adding from an American Christian view our borders,language, culture and those experiences HE induces into our daily lives. (information our spirit receives.)

Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing."

Meaning, what we perceive as valuable, and good means nothing unless his living spirit asks our spirit to move in a particular direction. This is why even though many asked for his help, only the women who grabbed his garment was responded to, because Jesus recognized she had true faith and believed in him (from the heart.)

Jesus also said our first and only duty IS "To believe IN the one who sent him." God! And that God (Jesus) was, "The way, the truth, and the life"...John 14:6.

If one believes this, then a person has to believe that without him there truly is no real life, (only what appears to be real!).

Not unlike a drug addict, or alcoholic, who believes they are living life to the fullest, when in fact their lifestyle is meaningless and they are all but dead.

Or an arrongant mogul who lambasses his employees believes he is respected and loved when in fact he may be feared but he is certainly not loved or respected. He believes he has real life,
( better he be a poor but loved by his fellow workers and come home to a loving family! That is real life! You get the point.

Jesus said,"If you've seen me, you have seen God."(The Father of us all.) Jesus wasn't kidding he said HE WAS GOD.

With these views in mind the Evangelical sets his/her CURRENT priorities.

Caring for the young & elderly, providing foreign aid & food programs (for the poor), bringing prison reform throughout the world, etc.

Sending missionaries who work in dangerous far off countries who bring education and a future, medical advancement, agricultural expertise, well water design, etc. These are what Christians see as "going green".

Hence, a bumpersticker...

"If God made it, why don't His children take care of it?" is honored!

Would you not say caring for the elderly (he made), the poor (he made), the sick (he made), the imprisoned (he made), IS not just as green a priority as "GOING GREEN"?

The mythology of this bumpersticker is unless one is picking up garbage or greater, yet...fighting the powers at a G8 Summit meeting, they're not going green. This is without a doubt a very shallow view of the real Christian's of the world!

God, Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing!" What exactly did he mean?

Heck, I do "good things" all the time, as do you. What could this great being have meant?

Jesus said that God is a Spirit.

Literally a living being without a body. Literally able to live inside human beings and "able to possess" human thinking via HIS SPIRIT. He said, "All your good works are dirty rags"... That, "No one is good". He really meant that too, not only to the people during his manifestation on earth,

...but to us in 2007!

Why? Because God is the only one who is truly good when one believe God is 100% Love! A being who became a man named Jesus.

Though non-Christians in their minds believe (without God) they are correct, Jesus said that everyone is of no value unless they are doing HIS will. That we are fakers, liars, hypocrits and such because we think we know better than God.

Now, please do not go into an argument on God, who God is, what is the correct God. I understand many have their personal views and that is fine, but the conversation is "Evangelical Priorities" as the header says. From the headers statement...

The question becomes who is doing Gods will and what is that will?

Is going green Gods will? Yes for some it is, but not most.

For the majority of Christians it is not HIS PRIORITY. That is not to say it does not have a place in our lives, but it is not our priority.

Currently the greatest priority in (this) and most U.S. "spirit filled" Christians lives IS to share our faith and secure our American borders, language, and culture. Going green to many conservative Christians is keeping the MOST VIRAL KILLER of OUR planets people at bay.

This virus is far more insideous than mere greenhouse gas and is working to destroy the world much faster than any other priority. This virus comes in the form of extremely immoral zealots crossing our borders who would literally obliterate our families futures with highly criminal activity & immoral political corruption. Many have immoral religious zealotry and aim to destory our institutions and truly nuke our children, our parents, our culture. They've come to destroy all that is green "in our view".

Other come in the form of gangsterism, communism, etc.

Hence, saving our planet from neither natural volcanic gases or made made gases for the moment are a priority. For with this invasion comes...

The death of millions of Evangelical American's as well as non-Christian American's.

My point, things we consider "going green" differ than the going green priority. I suppose changing your view of what is "going green" could expand now and perhaps then you will see we're really on the same page writing two separate priorities, both trying to save the planet!

Last, many Christians include green type activity in their lives, we just don't make it our lifestyle nor do we talk much about it. It's part of smart living...

Tony said...

Streak,

Great comments. I would hazard to say that because many evangelicals think liberals "own" this issue, they are afraid to approach it; guilt by association, I guess. :)

I don't understand anti-environmentalism where God has plainly made us stewards. I don't see what else "have dominion" can mean except to be a good steward over the environment.

One of our local lakes is so polluted with mercury that there is a two fish limit for human consumption; none for pregnant or nursing women. It has gotten so bad that Gov. Kaine in February approved a $256K study on mercury's effect on VA waterways.

yet so blase about destroying that very same creation. This is related primarily to pre-tribulational eschatology, like I mentioned in the post,that since it is all going to be burnt up anyway, why bother?

If you couple it with the doctrine of the immanency of Christ, I don't see how it is an adequate explanation. And you are correct, it is very inconsistent to claim literalism on the creation story yet fall short on taking care of that which He created.

Tony said...

Kodi,

Welcome to the blog.

You seem to have a good grasp on theology, though a little too mystical for my tastes.

You obviously put a lot of thought and time into your comment. Nevertheless, immigration reform and environmental stewardship are NOT the same thing as you suppose.

I agree that illegal immigration is bleeding our country. But is opposing "going green" by emphasizing illegal immigration right or even appropriate? Hardly. We are talking two entirely different policies.

My point in this post is very simple, that climate change, or ecology in general, is not a priority on EVANGELICALS' lists. I did not say this to the detriment of evangelism or sharing one's faith. Neither did I imply that it was not a priority on Christians' lists.

Smart living? I agree there. Green is not my "life" though I and my family try to make it part of our "lifestyle."

I do appreciate your comment and you are welcome to comment in the future and respond to any of my return comments. I would humbly request though, that your comments remain on topic. Thanks!

Streak said...

Tony,

I think we agree again. I think that many evangelicals lose sight of the fact that most enviro issues actually relate to actual people--not just some unsightly litter or unknown species (though supposedly God's creation as well, right?)--but actual impact on real people. The mercury we both discussed causes birth defects. The air and water pollution impacts real people around the world. Climate change will actually harm real people around the world.

Many Christians follow James Dobson in referring to this as simply an issue of trees and owls (as if those don't matter) and forgetting that human beings are part of nature too.

Tony said...

Streak,

I had forgotten about Dobson making that statement. I found it funny then, too.

Somehow, evangelicals have this view that the earth is wrapped in some kind of cosmic plastic wrap and that is shielding us from all things environmentally hostile. They speak of God's sovereignty this way and if a species dies out, then mysteriously then, that is "God's will."

The environment is a great example where poor hermeneutics leads to even worse policy.