Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Scary but true...

At this link you'll find an article which is both scary and unsurprisingly true. When one uses another one selfishly for sexual pleasure, one should not be surprised if that selfishness becomes violent.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Environmentalism & the Christian

At times I find American Christians imbibe a bit too much talk radio than serves their own good. While I enjoy both local and national expression of talk radio, it is with Biblical antennae up that I partake. Perhaps in future postings when a particularly egregious example takes place, I'll bring your attention to it.

Today my axe to grind regards environmentalism and how incautiously that movement is wholesale rejected by most talk radio hosts of a more conservative strand. This strikes my Biblically thinking mind wrong. Certainly there is a strand of environmentalism that must be rejected by a person committed to thinking Biblically (to use Cornelius Van Til's language, to think God's thoughts after Him). That strand is the Star Wars variety (BTW, when the DVD of Revenge of the Sith comes out and I can transcribe one of Yoda's brief sections of teaching, expect a post on that hopeless dribble). A concern for the environment that flows out of a strongly religious viewpoint - i.e. God is NOT everywhere but rather god is everything - must be rejected as quickly as a Mother Earth secularist view which sees Nature (notice the capital "N" replacing the the capital "G" of "God") in perfect harmony and man as its spoiler. Neither of those alternatives can be embraced by the Christian.

I should say before I begin a brief account of what a Christian environmental concern would look like, that my musing on this matter came as a result of reading on the subject what kinds of killing is God talking about in the 6th commandment (if you're interested, in particular I was reading pgs. 207-210 of J. Douma, The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life [Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 1996] ). Of late I've been musing rather frequently about the New Heavens and the New Earth (if you really want your mind trained in thining about heaven, a must read is Randy Alcorn's Heaven [Tyndale, 2004] ) and what the result of right thinking about heaven would have upon life on earth now. Since bliss will be earth and heaven reunited in a physical place where believers will live along with the rest of God's creations this gives us a different take on what we think of the physical now. It gives us a different perspective on how we should the earth right now. This along with several lines of thought Douma brought to bear has got me thinking about what a truly Christian view of the environment would be.

I would summarize my musings under three headings. First, environmental and animal abuse is out of the question. Where do laws against the abuse of animals come from in our country? They come from a Biblically informed worldview which says that all that God has made is valuable (though man is the most valuable). Thus since God made animals and all that we see in the world, it ought to be respected. Second, the BIblical concept of stewardship is a useful one in thinking about the environment. This creation is not to be wasted, not to be plundered for all its worth, and certainly not to be used for whatever purpose we see fit to advance our agenda. This last matter is one which is particularly troubling. While I'm certainly not a Luddite nor a technophobe, I am concerned about how greed among sinful people is devasting (and has devastated) the environment. Progress is good and part of our role on earth as Christians (see the 3rd heading). However, the advance of our own wealth at the expense of the environment is not righeous. There isn't present in that thinking a balance to the demands of Biblical ethics. Third, God's command to Adam and Eve was to subdue the earth. Some would say that I've soft pedaled this aspect of Christianity. This is not my intent. Instead, I want to say that our subduing of the earth must fit within the other parameters God gives us. In subduing a petty criminal we aren't allowed to kill him in the process just because we recognize the need to subdue him. As it's possible to subdue a petty criminal without killing him, it's possible to subdue the earth without abusing it. This is what I'm pleading for. I'm pleading for an ethic which is bigger than us, our purposes, and our greed. Now let's briefly consider some applications for these three principles.

Should the Christian buy a hybrid car? Should the Christian use green power at greater expense? These are the kinds of questions that the radical environmentalist is imposing. However, they are not bad questions to consider as I write in the midst of coal country with its scattered piles of coal mine tailings and runoff. What I propose is that we don't support advancement in any realm of government or commerce which requires abuse of the environment. This is what is prohibited by God. If that means we make other choices which may be more costly, so be it. It's a part of discipleship. It's time we begin thinking for ourselves and outside of the "if it helps America, we can do it" box.