Alas, today is Earth Day.
And, as usual, I suspect Christians across the nation are wondering if it’s a day they should celebrate—or, for that matter, even acknowledge. Sadly, there are still Christians who can find nothing to do but mock those who support protecting the Earth; many pastors across the nation will insist there’s been some sort of conspiracy to coincide Earth Day with Easter as a way to distract people from the message of Jesus.
The joke’s on them: Earth Day has been on April 22 since 1970 and was so picked because it was the day least likely to coincide with Easter.
Christians have made a very big deal out of the environmentalist movement over the past few decades, getting in knee deep in a rhetorical pie-throwing contest that has involved the world’s top scientists, the heads of state of some of the largest and most powerful countries, leaders of environmentalist groups, the “influential” pastors of some of the largest megachurches, and the CEOs of the world’s most profitable oil, coal, and natural gas companies.
Whether CO2 and other greenhousegas emissions from human-engineered factories and machines have actually raised global temperatures is actually not that much of a question anymore; the sad thing is that because many believers have a deep-felt mistrust of scientists, they refuse to listen to their warnings. In truth, the Earth is slipping away from us and many Christians don’t realize it—or, embarrassingly, don’t care.
Sure, Earth Day has seen some pretty off the wall shenanigans over the years, most recently as Bolivia spearheaded a day of debate at the United Nations to debate granting “Mother Earth” human rights. Granted, this concept is rooted in a belief that the Earth is some sort of being with sentient thoughts and feelings and is deserving of the same rights as humans: the right to life, the right to live free of human alteration, and so on.
Yeah, okay. I liked Avatar and all, but this is absurd.
Look, I’m going to cut right to the chase.
I get really, really irritated with Christians who insist we can do whatever we want to the Earth because God gave it to us. I get even more irritated with people who make the same argument based on the rationale that “Jesus is coming back soon.”
One, maybe I was an abnormal child, but I didn’t trash my Christmas presents just because they were mine and my parents gave them to me.
Because I knew if I did, I wasn’t going to get another to replace what I’d broken.
Maybe that’s the mindset the first group is operating from: “I don’t care what I do what to the Earth because God will never let anything bad happen to it.”
An apparently common belief is that nothing bad will ever happen to the Earth because God is in control and he will come behind us and clean up our mess. This nonsense is founded on the false pretense that God will continually bend the rules of nature to accommodate our greed and ingratitude. The fact is that God created the Earth to function in a certain way and he gave us dominion over it and charged us with its stewardship. Does that mean we can do whatever-the-heck we want with it? I, for one, don’t think so.
Fine, so did God give us dominion or didn’t he? I mean, it makes sense to me that if I have been given dominion, then my actions carry real consequences. Just saying.
For the second bunch, I pose this question: how, pray tell, do you know Jesus is coming back soon enough that we can trash the Earth and not have to worry about any consequences? I mean, do you have some sort of special connection with Jesus the rest of us lack wherein he’s given you the scoop on when he’s dropping in? Please, we’re all dying to know.
What is simultaneously unreservedly laughable and incomprehensibly stupid is the widespread belief that taking care of the Earth isn’t really all that important because, in the end, it’s all going to be consumed in fire and brimstone anyway. I mean, Barrack Obama was elected President so that means that Jesus has to come back before 2012, doesn’t it? Of course, some might be willing to push that back to 2016 if he gets reelected. Honestly, people.
Simply put, the response of most of mainstream Evangelical Christianity not only to Earth Day but to environmentalism and conservation has been shameful at best. And really, what better issue is there for the Church to take a leadership role in? I mean, if we really do believe God created all this and gave it to us, why don’t we show how much that means to us by being proactive in taking care of it?
Of course, the usual crowd will use Earth Day as an opportunity to make all kinds of off-the-wall arguments and proposals, but why not counter insanity with sanity? The EcoCentric blog at Time made its battle cry that all kinds of energy are bad on the basis that people die whether it’s coal, oil, natural gas, wind, solar or nuclear. Yeah, so what, exactly are we supposed to do?
I love how all the ultra-conservationists love to say we have stop using the Earth but offer no alternative for us to live. To them, it would seem, humans are a disease that must be eradicated. Hopefully, we aren’t stupid enough to vote any of those people into an elected office.
In the end, why don’t we all use this Earth Day (which happens to fall on the same day as Good Friday) as a way to examine our own stewardship of the Earth and think of ways we can better take care of the Creation God made and then gifted to us? Maybe Christianity on the whole could become more like the Vineyard Church in Boise, Idaho, and use conservation as a method of evangelism.