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Responding to 'Green Politics'

June 4, 2007
S. Michael Craven
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One of the core commitments of this ministry has always been to demonstrate the truth and relevance of Christianity to all of life and culture. Toward that end I feel compelled to wade into the debate currently raging over the environment and environmentalism. On the one side we have those who would subordinate mankind to nature and on the other—well, let me be honest—Christians haven’t had a lot to say in the environmental debate. What we tend to do is withdraw from the issue altogether because we don’t like those who seem to be dominating the topic or we act indifferent to the issue as if we don’t care about the environment. And a few evangelical organizations have opted for a third alternative: capitulation to green politics.

For those of us who believe the extension of the kingdom is God’s purpose in the world and that this kingdom is the reign of Christ, or his supremacy over all things; this lack of engagement, in particular, sends a powerful but negative message. To paraphrase Dorothy Sayers, ‘Why would anyone remain interested in a religion that seems to have little or no interest in real life or the world in which we live?’ My principle concern with developing a consciously Christ-centered approach to the environment is directly related to being missional. In other words, being able to offer a biblically intelligent response to the environmental debate offers a relevant point of connection to the Truth.  

Therefore, what is needed is a thorough examination of the issues from a theologically grounded and well-reasoned approach that seeks to transcend politics. A biblical approach to the environment should balance humanity’s primacy in the created order with our responsibility to steward God’s good creation. (cf. Genesis 1:26) Furthermore, this is a profoundly moral issue in which Christians, given the fact that this creation belongs to our Lord, should have an interest.

In order to understand the present debate we have to begin with an examination of the underlying premise, which is that of humanity’s place in the created order. Either man is created by God and thus holds a superior position in the created order with particular responsibilities or he is merely another chance biological organism with no special distinction. These two opposing views of reality will necessarily produce two very different responses to environmental stewardship. The former will regard man as the “keeper” of the environment while the latter tends to think of humanity as the enemy of nature and the environment.

One such figure who views humans as the enemy is Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and one of Time Magazine’s 20th century “environmental heroes.” Watson views human beings as the “AIDS of the earth.” Jeff Jacoby writing for the Boston Globe points out that Watson regards human beings as “invaders who are spoiling the planet for animals, insects, and plants that are its rightful inhabitants.”

Watson “has called for the global population to be slashed from 6.5 billion to 1 billion, as well as for the elimination of cars, planes, and all ships not powered by sail.” Of course, I find it interesting that those who call for such radical measures never seem to volunteer to leave the planet or stop driving cars and flying in planes, use electricity, eat food and wear clothing that utilizes energy to process and transport, etc. This is typical of those who hold to a false worldview. One either has to adjust their worldview to live in accordance with reality (as in the case of most radical environmentalists) or one has to adjust their reality to live consistent with their worldview. In the case of radical environmentalism, the latter is slightly more difficult requiring them to live in a cave; grow their own food, and avoid procreation!

Jacoby adds, “While these views may seem extreme they are in fact common among the ‘green elite.’” If you listen closely to the highly controversial debate over climate change, you can discern that “over-population” of environmentally hostile humans is the primary culprit in the ecological theories being put forth and popularized by the media and Hollywood celebrities.

Al Gore, speaking to an audience of environmentalists recently, said “The world’s population explosion, which by 2050 will reach 9.1 billion, has increased the demand for energy, water and food and has contributed to the problem of global warming.” This is a centuries-old argument with dubious origins that culminated in the largely accepted myth of “population explosion” made popular in the 1960s.

The publication of a little pamphlet entitled The Population Bomb by Hugh Moore, the founder of the Dixie Cup Company, galvanized this idea and what began as mere speculation became the generally accepted consensus. Moore was no scientist or researcher—he had no facts or data, he simply read a book that moved him to action. That book was The Road to Survival by William Vogt, the national director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Naturally, Planned Parenthood has a stake in promoting the “population problem,” which is the marketing of abortion, but that’s another story. In Road to Survival Moore read how population growth was “the basic cause of future wars” and “the spread of tyranny and communism.” This then became Moore’s lifetime work and passion.

Moore believed that people needed to be scared, really scared, in order to become aware of the “disaster” that loomed before them. And what better way to scare them than with an image of a bomb, and talk of an explosion. These are the same alarmist tactics being employed by those harkening an imminent “planetary emergency,” to use Al Gore’s words.

What Al Gore neglects to say is that the 2050 global population estimate represents the peak at which point world population will begin to decline sharply. United Nations figures now show that the 79 countries that comprise 40% of the world’s population now have fertility rates too low to prevent population decline.

Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C writes, “The populations of several Soviet-bloc nations already are falling because of declining birth rates and emigration. Japan’s population peaked in 2006 and is expected to drop by 14% (almost 20 million people) by 2050. Germany expects a similar decline, while Italy and Hungary may lose 25% of their populations and Russia a third. These nations already are becoming giant ‘leisure worlds,’ with Depends outselling Pampers.”

In the next installment, I will show that while world population has certainly increased this has not impacted natural resources in the way suggested by Al Gore and others. The fact is technological developments have resulted in tremendous improvements related to food production and resource conservation.

In conclusion, a recent Google search revealed more than 79 million results in response to the term “global warming” while “Christianity” produced only 39 million. Clearly this is an important issue dealing with real life and the real concerns of people. The biblical life and worldview offers an intelligent and balanced approach to the subject and should be understood by professing Christians. This installment is the beginning in a series that I hope offers a helpful response to this complex and important issue, again, all for the sake of demonstrating the truth and relevance of Christ and His kingdom to all of His creation.

© 2007 by S. Michael Craven

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Responses
Response from : Donna  

June 4, 2007 10:08 AM
 

I agree 100% with Christian's needing to have a response to this growing out of control topic. As a Christian, I am called to be a good steward of the resources God has given me and we have terribly taken for granted our dominion over the earth. While we must remain kingdom minded with our main goal leading others to a relationship with Christ, our lack of knowledge and concern about environmental issues are the very things that negates our opinion in secular society when we decide to talk about it. We must educate ourselves so that we can have an intelligent conversation and we must live our lives in such a way that shows we care for the earth God created, not just abuse it. We can then combat the false information that would replace the creator with the created as the idol we worship.


 
Response from : catherine Henon  

June 4, 2007 7:28 PM
 

Hi Michael,
I am glad you touch on this subject.I agree that christians have been silent on this issue. It has been my observation that socialism and communism have devasted the earth ressources worse than capitalism. The ecologists I have met in France Germany and America subscribe to the left Political Ideology,but never talked about the legacy of the pollution in the former U.S.S.R caused by the communism regimes.


 
Response from : Bill Kendall  

June 4, 2007 10:09 PM
 

Not so much a response to the article (which I find very interesting) as to the new photo: nice. My wife approves, too.

Keep searching for God's heart!


 
Response from : joann freeborn  

June 4, 2007 10:59 PM
 

Thank you for addressing the environmental issues before Christians. I agree that we need to be educated so that we can make theologically sound responses.
Would you be able to address that before the industrial age, there was a warming that ended a great ice age. God, not man is in control of the universe.
There is an element of truth in most of the food scares that the new organic craze addresses. I feel that one of the results is that the marketers of food realize that they can mark food up and still have buyers. It is a nitch market and not one offering better health or longevity. Instead, those who allow themselves to become fearful, actually have to fight more real or seemingly real illnesses in their lives. Is it not true that fear drives one to flight or fight. Adrenalin rushes and crashes can lower our resistence to illness.
Let us not live in a spirit of fear!!
GOD BLESS, Joann Freeborn


 
Response from : Daniel McMillan  

June 5, 2007 7:59 PM
 

Good article. I've been addressing this issue allot lately among my network of associates, and registered "onebubble.net" to launch a new convergence portal pertaining to green living as stewards of the garden God gave us. The new portal will bring together lots of bunnies around the world under one bubble. After all, we are all neighbors for life! Anyone interested in working with me on this project please write me through my development studio web-site.

http://cosmicorigins.com/

 
Response from : Karen Snodgrass  

June 6, 2007 11:33 AM
 

I have often wondered about the response that should be given when asked about environmental issues. My children are bombarded with it at school. My response to them has been the verses in Genesis. I am looking forward to reading more about this issue. I must say your article has been a real eye opener. Thanks for the info!


 
Response from : Sara  

June 6, 2007 3:02 PM
 

Thanks!


 
Response from : Carol Schilling  

June 8, 2007 11:02 PM
 

Your article is much appreciated--helpful in articulating pertint truths to the unbelieving in a way that shows wisdom and concern for what has become a great issue in our day and has not been addressed by the church at large.


 
Response from : Marilyn J Beard  

June 11, 2007 10:52 AM
 

Dear Mr. Craven,

What a well written and informed article. It seems to me that environmentalists tend to lean heavily to the left,( whatever that means anymore.) Those that are using scare tactics and pushing for "green" don't take in the human element..the fact that man is fallen and nothing changes that except new life through Christ and new hope and with that comes an understanding that we are stewards of this beautiful earth that God has given us. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the articles.

"The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof"

Sincerely,

Marilyn Beard


 
Response from : Nathania Johnson  

June 12, 2007 6:34 AM
 

Thank you for addressing Green Politics! So many Christians are just jumping on the environmental bandwagon b/c they feel the need to take care of the earth to honor God. While that is a noble motivation, it ignores the facts.

Global warming is caused by the sun and is a natural phase the earth goes through. It goes through cooling phases as well.

Green Politics is based in the idea that man controls the earth and his destiny. It is stripped of any concept of faith in God for the state or future of the planet.

Also, much of it is about money and power. People are paying to stomp out their "carbon footprint" - but planting a bunch of trees (which release greenhouse gases, too) isn't going to make up for all the "output."

Christians need to use discernment before they are sucked into a belief system that could ultimately damage their faith.


 
Response from : Kevin  

June 12, 2007 7:16 AM
 

Thanks for the article. I was immeidiately drawn to it for exactly the reasons you stated; I am a christian and I usually guffawed at the "environment" issues, but always felt bad about it. The truth is, I know we're tenders of the garden around us, but the leftist green argument is so outrageous at times, I just roll my eyes and walk away instead of countering their inaccuracies. I am looking forward to your next segment.

In Christ,
--Kevin


 
Response from : kyle  

June 25, 2007 11:40 PM
 

This article shows an amazing lack of research. Global warming has been proven to be caused by man. This is not even a debatable topic by scientists anymore (only by lay-people and the media.) I pray that the truth is revealed to you before it's too late.

I doubt this will be printed as opposing views don't seem to be represented at all here.


 
Response from : Kenneth Tremble  

October 13, 2007 5:05 AM
 

Tell your readers to go to Google Search type 4 words WARMING OF SOLAR SYSTEM to find truth about Global Warming. Icecaps on Mare has been melting for last 3 Yrs. Every planet has been heating up Kenneth


 

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