My wife, Laurel, has been engaging in an exchange of emails with a Christian woman who used to do the same thing with Laurel's sister -- try to convince a religious skeptic that the Bible is God's inerrant truth.
Which, of course, is complete bullshit.
As is this woman's response, after Laurel noted that viewers of Fox News are horribly misinformed about the reality of global warming. She replied:
It is because I am a Christian that I don't believe in global warming.
My wife then emailed her:
I am curious why being a Christian causes you to reject that humans are causing global climate change. Doesn't God expect human kind to take care of the planet, and couldn't it be that we are being careless and greedy, and not tending nature as we should?
Here's the Christian woman's fundamentalist, unscientific, irrational response. My often-caustic commentary is in red.
I believe in the literal account in Genesis.
Poor you. I suspected that everything you wrote after this would be absurd. I was right. But at least you've given me the gift of making fun of Christian dogmatism. Thanks for that.
God created the heavens and the earth in six days and when He was done He said it was very good. He put everything into the earth that humans and animals would need to survive, including vegetation of all kinds. Because the earth was created at the sound of God's voice and according to His plan, He is in absolute control of His creation.
OK, let's assume you're right. Meister Eckhart, a medieval Christian mystic, said in one of his sermons, “Now I hear you ask, ‘How do I know that it is God’s will? My answer is that if it were not God’s will even for a moment, then it would not exist. Whatever is must be his will."
So if you believe that global warming is God's will, then efforts to combat global warming also are God's will. Likewise, women having abortions is God's will, as are attempts to curtail abortions. In other words, if whatever is happening is God's will, this simply tells us that God is nature, all of reality, a nice pantheistic view that doesn't require the existence of a personal God.
It takes my breath away when I consider the majesty and power of the Lord that is revealed in nature and all of its complexities, including climate and weather. Read the book of Job Chapters 38-41 and allow yourself to believe that God is real and that He has designed the earth with a purpose greater than ourselves.
No, I'm not going to allow myself to do that. Since God supposedly is in absolute control of everything, obviously God doesn't want me to believe in the Bible, or God would make me believe in this ridiculous pre-scientific book written by ignorant tribesmen.
The Lord sets the boundaries of the sea, (Job 38:8-11; Psalm 147:17; Haggai 2:17). He controls the rain and snow (Psalm 147:8 - He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in the mountain pastures. Psalm 147:17-18 He hurls the hail like stones. Who can stand against his freezing cold? Then at his command it all melts. He sends His winds and the ice thaws.
Exactly what the Koran says. You and militant Muslims are on exactly the same wavelength.
God is in control of the earth yet he appointed man to take dominion over it. He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and be good stewards of the resources God gave them. God gave dominion over the earth to man. In contrast, the EPA is driven to control and restrict our use of God's resources.
I'm confused. Isn't the EPA run by men (and women)? Isn't the EPA administered by a president who was elected by the majority of American voters? If God gave dominion of the earth to man, and mankind has decided that global warming and other forms of environmental pollution are problems that need to be resolved, isn't this in line with God's plan? Where in the Bible does it say that "dominion" means trashing the planet?
Yes, he wants us to manage the earth's resources efficiently and does not want us to be greedy about it. Gen. 2: 15-16. We are ultimately accountable to God for our actions. I don't need to be told that I must use an expensive and hazardous light bulb to help save the planet. Who is really benefiting and profiting from this new legislation?
The light bulb manufacturers. They're in favor of moving away from inefficient and outmoded incandescent bulbs. You just said God is in control of everything. Doesn't "everything" include new energy efficiency standards?
Genesis also makes it clear that it was breaking God's moral laws that brought a curse upon the earth.
The Old Testament also makes it clear that adulterers should be put to death. I take it you are in favor of this and all the other absurd crap in the Bible, since you take the Bible literally. Hope you're keeping your dangerous bull penned up securely. (See here.)
Environmentalists want us to believe that a curse is upon the earth because we are wasting and mis-using the earths resources. Before sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, their was no death or struggle for survival upon the earth. If death and struggle have always been a part of life on this planet then we would have absolutely no need to accept the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross as our substitute for our sin.
Huh? Curses aren't part of the belief system of us secular environmentalists. If they were real, after writing posts on this here Church of the Churchless blog for almost eight years I'd be in bad shape given how often true believers curse me. And yes, death and struggle HAVE always been a part of lie on this planet. Just look at the evolutionary record that you don't believe in.
God judged the earth and destroyed His Creation in the days of Noah with the world-wide flood (Gen. 7-9) because the people on the earth were corrupt. They rejected His commandments and were lawless to the point that God regretted making man-kind. The only man on the earth who knew and feared God was Noah so he instructed him to build the ark and warned him that he was going to to destroy the earth with a flood.
You must be freaking kidding me! I can't believe that any educated 21st century person still believes in Noah's Ark. I mean, I know people do, but to read an email from someone who actually accepts tribal superstitions is different from intellectually understanding how prevalent Christian dogmatism is. I hope you don't vote, but I'm afraid that you do. Scary.
Talk about an EPA cataclysmic nightmare! Every shred of vegetation, along with decaying bones and all carbon shelled land and marine animals were lost during the flood. How was the carbon dioxide going to be removed from the atmosphere now? Where was the oxygen that was needed to sustain life on the planet? If it is only plant-life that sustains life on the earth and supplies humans with the oxygen we need to survive, then Noah and his family would have surely perished in the flood, but God revealed His Sovereignty once again by keeping them alive to repopulate the earth and take dominion over it again. Gen. 9: 1-3. It probably took a year for the waters to recede and for plant life to begin growing again. The Lord was in absolute control of this process from beginning to end. Except for the grace of God, Noah and His family would be extinct.
Except for the gullibility of both ancient and modern humans, fairy tales like those in the Bible wouldn't exist. Do you realize that every other religion also has its own stories of creation and destruction which contradict those in the Bible? Science is the only "story" worthy of being believed, because it is founded on facts and open to revisions when new understandings come along.
It is fascinating to realize that huge reservoirs of plants and vegetation and carbon shelled animals that once existed on the earth before the flood were buried in the earth and are now the basis for fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas, etc). These are God-given resources that were purposely put into the earth by God's design to use for man's sustenance and enjoyment.
Along with wind power and solar power, I assume you agree, since everything on Earth is god-given, including the skeptical thoughts that are powering this post. Which include, "How did all these fossil fuels have time to be produced if the Earth was created only 10,000 years ago, as most literal believers in the Bible consider?" And, "If fossil fuels can be produced so quickly, why aren't we seeing fresh supplies of coal and oil being produced from recently buried vegetation?"
My hope is in Jesus Christ because someday God will destroy this earth and create a new heaven and a new earth. Rev. 21:1 I know with full confidence and absolute certainty that I belong to Him.
And my hope is that your eyes are opened to the reality of the cosmos. Many people believe in God without any evidence that God exists. I understand why you want to believe that you "belong to HIm." It's nice to have a good friend, even if imaginary. We all need someone to lean on, even if that entity doesn't exist outside of our own mind.
But even if you continue to believe in God, consider how absurd it is to divide reality into what you think should be, versus what actually is.
You don't seem to deny that global warming is occurring. So notwithstanding your first statement that I shared in this post, your skepticism about global warming appears to be with what should be done about it, not with the fact of its existence.
This -- among many things -- confuses me about fundamentalist Christians. As noted previously, if God is in control of the world, then whatever is happening in the world is God's will. This includes efforts to protect the environment, as well as efforts to trash the environment.
Since both environmentalists and anti-environmentalists supposedly are doing God's will, since nothing happens without God commanding it, we're left with meaningless theology. Skeptics like me are part of God's plan, and religious believers like you are part of God's plan.
This all cancels out to become "Whatever is, is." We humans are still left with the same decisions, same choices, same moral dilemmas. That's why I prefer to leave God out of the equation.
There are too many flaws in this article, coupled with caustic cynicism, to expect a genuine conversation.
But if you place any value on sincerity and truth, consider the following:
Your response to the woman's comments amount to attacking as a form of education. Is this what you believe?
Your presumption of being right and her being wrong, buffeted by incredulous remarks and general antipathy, prove nothing.
Quoting a medieval Christian mystic and then towing that line through your argument as a core principle both presumes something you don't know whether this woman believes, and is fairly irrelevant when trying to establish a theological basis for any position on this subject.
Presuming that someone who doesn't accept all your arguments concerning global warming wants to "trash the planet" is a false premise and loaded with problems.
The idea that everything in God's universe is created with its own time and purpose does not connote God's blessing on all things. God's word and requirement to follow a path of righteousness and life, rather than sin and death, is not nullified or canceled out by God's ultimate authority in judging the affairs of both good and evil in the universe (as your argument suggests).
We have all been given an inclination to understand that there is a distinction to be made between what is good (and life affirming) and what is evil (and death affirming).
To become a preacher for amorality does not absolve you from the consequences of your choices, nor any failure to make those distinctions in your own life, heart, and mind.
Humans are not left with the same decisions, choices, and moral dilemmas regardless of whether they follow the Lord God or not.
God's will is not defined in the abstract as "whatever happens," e.g. an endorsement of sin and evil. It cannot be. God's will is that you respond morally and faithfully to what happens in the world.
It is not God's faith nor written in His scripture that whatever happens in the world is acceptable to Him. Rather, as you have plainly stated, that is your faith and religion.
Posted by: Mister Someone | June 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Mister... of course the woman is wrong. Wake up. Global warming is real. It is being caused by human carbon pollution. The scientific consensus is clear. Invoking the Bible, a primitive document written by myth-driven prescientific people, to explain global warming is ridiculous.
The Christian woman said that God is in absolute control of his creation, not me. I don't believe God is in control of anything, because I see no evidence that God exists. But if someone does believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God, they need to explain how God is commanding both global warming deniers and accepters to coexist, just as God obviously is fine with disease and health coexisting.
You're welcome to believe in your imaginary God. I have no problem with people engaging in any fantasies they want, so long as they don't harm other people. However, when it comes to global warming and the health of the entire planet, we can't allow ancient myths like the Bible to interfere with scientific understanding.
Posted by: Brian Hines | June 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM