16 July 2015

Christianity and the environment

One of the things that continues to puzzle me is why people, in the name of Christianity, are against environmentalism. I believe there are good and valid arguments for Christians to argue that homosexual relationships are not good (according to the Bible) and that the world came about through creation (as opposed to evolution). I can even technically understand why people would argue that socialism is not part of God's good order (although as a Canadian and Dutch citizen, I honestly don't really get why Christians argue that socialism is bad).

But I can think of no good reason why people are against creation care. I can think of several bad reasons: laziness, greed, indifference to others, and/or belief that God only cares about souls and is going to destroy the world (this is a misreading of the Bible).

A recent article, "Faith-based arguments that deal with climate change are a smoke screen, that mask the real problem," reminded me again of my frustration related to this issue. Katharine Hayhoe, who is interviewed, does a wonderful job explaining some of what's going on. The following is a quote giving a rather scathing, but enlightening, assessment of why people bring God into their argument:
"I looked into quotes from politicians, and what struck me was a vast number of politicians who invoke God when they’re saying that climate change isn’t real. Why are they invoking God? Because you don’t want to attack somebody’s faith, or belief. It’s very politically incorrect in our culture today to attack somebody’s faith, especially the Christian faith. Almost 80 percent of people in the United States call themselves Christian. . . . [Sen. James] Inhofe himself said to Rachel Maddow, I think three years ago, “I used to think this all was true until I found out how much it cost to fix it.”  But he’s not out there saying, “I wish this wasn’t true, but it’s too expensive.” He’s saying, “God wouldn’t let this happen.” And why is he saying that? Because it’s a lot more politically acceptable to invoke a faith-based argument, when the real reason, at the bottom of it, is my ideology will not permit me to allow the government to put a price on carbon and its subsidies. My ideology will not permit me to consider the greater good, as opposed to short-term gain. But you can’t really come out and say those things. Those are not very attractive, appealing things to say. Or very Christian things."
As distressing as it is that so many hurtful and inaccurate messages made by Christians that are so often picked up in the American media, I am thankful that are people like Hayhoe who are providing a balanced counterargument (also in the name of Christianity). 

No comments: