Bible Debate over Global Warming
Published 25th November 2010 - 1 comments - 836 views -
In the beginning, global warming and the conservative religious community were at loggerheads. Not so much anymore. Even most of the evangelical community is now on board. Sure, there are still a few holdouts deeply imbedded in their bunkers with the End-Times believers, and there always will be. But for the most part, the facts about global warming are so clear that no intelligent or responsible dispute about it survives scrutiny. The task now is to do something about it. The fact that most nations are scrambling to cut CO2 is further testament that it is not a farce; otherwise, nations around the world wouldn't be rushing to prevent it.
Riding Amtrak to Harrisburg to lobby for legislation making natural gas companies pay a tax on natural gas they extract from Pennsylvania, I shared a seat with some folks from a church group from southern Chester County who opposed this bill on the premise of no new taxes. Their church told them that this bill would tax small businesses. The church did not tell them that the taxes would greatly benefit Pennsylvania and only be applied to the natural gas industry that will suck the gas out of our state, making huge profits in the process, or that if we don't tax them, the state may have to raise our taxes to cover the budget shortfall.
At any rate, the church people switched topics and disputed with me over the issue of global warming and said that they did not "believe" in it. Global warming is not a matter of faith; it's a matter of fact. To tell me you don't believe in global warming is like telling me the quarter I hold in my hand is not really a quarter.
Some irrefutably observable facts are: every 24 hours human output of CO2 amounts to 70 million tons. We measure it right to its smokestack/tailpipe source. CO2 levels are at a very dangerous 385 parts per million (PPM) right now — the average over the last 800,000 years being around 280 PPM and the sudden increase happened within the last 100 years due to the industrial revolution. At our current emission rate, we are increasing CO2 by 2 PPM a year. Like a freight train pulling miles of heavy freight cars up to speed, it will take some time for the impacts of 385 PPM of CO2 to wallop us but we are beginning to experience it now and the worst is yet to come.
The church people cited me Genesis 2:26, which reads, "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth," as justification for depleting earth's resources. In the religious academic community, citing Bible passages to justify a personal position is called text pressing.
I did a little text pressing of my own: Genesis 2:15, " The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to serve it and to keep it"; Revelations 11:18, "God will reward the servants prophets, and saints, but will destroy them that destroy the Earth"; Psalm 24, "the Earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it; the World, and those who live in it"; Leviticus 25:23, "land must not be sold in perpetuity, for land belongs to me, and to me you are only strangers and guests." There are more but I was done text dueling with them.
The real question is why is a church involved anyway? I find the righteous moral anti-environmentalism a curiosity. I once had a very prominent legislator in Washington say to me, "we (his segment of the religious community) wanted to destroy the environment to fast-forward Armageddon" so he could go to heaven and I could go to hell.” How does that jibe with the Biblical text above? Suppose they succeed in destroying the earth but Armageddon doesn't come? Then what?
The very height of their moral hypocrisy is by destroying God's creation they are dooming future generations of their ability to survive on a planet that God created to propagate life. What a sacrilege! That's not what the Jesus I know would do
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