Christian Environmentalism (2nd try)

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by HuckFinn, May 11, 2004.

  1. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

    Well, maybe this is a good time to try to jumpstart a thoughtful discussion about Christianity and ecology.

    Here’s an excellent article by Dean Ohlman, who’s been "beating this drum" for years:

    http://www.antithesis.com/features/hearing.html

    This cover story from Outside Magazine, featuring my friend Peter Illyn, is also very good:

    http://www.outsidemagazine.com/magazine/200103/200103christian1.html

    Peter heads a group called Restoring Eden, which focuses on protecting wilderness and tribal cultures:

    http://www.restoringeden.org/png.htm

    He recently gave this lively sermon at our church:

    http://www.imagodeicommunity.com/mp3/03-28-04.mp3
     
  2. Finally, a topic I agree with Christians on....environmentalism. I just hope your buddy in Papau New Guinea, isn't really over there with the purpose of converting the indians of the region.... I guess that would be icing on the cake for him, so to speak....

    Honestly though, it's refreshing to see Christians organizing over something other than trying to convert the world over to their religion. I could actually stand proud, hold your hand, and help clean up the earth, together.....in the process though, just keep your religion to yourself ....
     
  3. ChiefCowpie

    ChiefCowpie hugs and bugs

    good stuff Huck...i read some of your stuff...dominion is not to lay waste to the garden
     
  4. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

    Environmentalism is a religion to many non-Christians, who are very zealous in striving to recruit others to their cause. They daresay that they have a message of transcendent moral truth that others should heed. Is such "evangelism" acceptable only if you happen to agree with its precepts?
     
  5. I've never heard of "environmentalism" being a religion, but that is your opinion. Most of society views environmentalism as the "advocacy of the preservation or improvement of the natural environment." No type of "evangelism" is correct if it infringes on the rights of others, invades privacy, threatens or condemns, espouses intolerance, bigotry, hatred, etc. -- like so many organized religions do.
     
  6. ChiefCowpie

    ChiefCowpie hugs and bugs

    environmentalism isn't a religion...its the understanding that the shit in your water is killing you...having such concerns in fundie circles would get one branded a heretic...kudos to Huck and others who see the light
     
  7. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

    Most environmentalists rightly reject such a reductionist, utilitarian view.

    For example, the Sierra Club:



    Beliefs About Environment and Society


    Developed by Planning Committee and printed in Sierra Club Goals Pamphlet, 1985-1989, with Board knowledge, but not formally adopted by the Board

    Humans have evolved as an interdependent part of nature. Humankind has a powerful place in the environment, which may range from steward to destroyer. We must share the Earth's finite resources with other living things and respect all life-enabling processes. Thus, we must control human population numbers and seek a balance that serves all life forms.

    Complex and diversified ecosystems provide stability for the Earth's life support processes. Development and other human activities can simplify ecosystems, undermine their dynamic stability, and threaten these processes. Wildness itself has a value serving all species, with too few remaining. We have more to fear from too little wildness than from too much.

    Genetic diversity is the product of evolution acting on wildness, and is important because it is biological capital for future evolution. We must preserve genetic diversity in wild tracts and gene pools. No species should be hastened into extinction by human intervention.

    The needs of all creatures must be respected, their destinies viewed as separate from human desires, their existence not simply for human benefit. All species have a right to perpetuation of the habitat necessary and required for survival. All creatures should have freedom from needless predation, persecution, and cruel or unduly confining captivity. We must seek moral restraints on human power to affect the well-being of so many species.

    Humans must exercise stewardship of the Earth's resources to assure enough for other creatures and for the future. Thus, resources should be renewed indefinitely wherever possible, and resource depletion limited. Resources should be used as long as possible and shared, avoiding waste and needless consumption. We must act knowledgeably and take precautions to avoid initiating irreversible trends. Good stewardship implies a shared moral and social responsibility to take positive action on behalf of conservation.

     
  8. Brocktoon

    Brocktoon Banned

    I cant imagine why any thinking Christians would not have every reason to want to protect and cherish the natural world around us?

    There is certainly no biblical imperative to go around treating the Earth with anything less than caution and care.

    Jesus himself used so many wonderful example from nature to get his parables and teaching across to listeners.


    As for modern environmentalist movements...hmmm... well SOME of them are motivated by political and social ideologies.
    Years ago I remember some GreenPeace people were desperately trying to convince us that the government should have them situated as protectors of the forests and the 'first line' to cross before any timber is cut.

    WOw! Yes of Course they would want that.. specifically - The top people at GreenPeace would simply LOVE that since they would effectively hold tremendous power of the entire local economy!

    For all practical purposes these un-elected leader would hold tremendous power of Unions, Cities, towns, Native holdings etc etc. Un-elected I must repeat.

    Of course,,, probably most people involved in 'Sierra Club' or 'Greenpeace' have perfectly honest intentions.
    Im just saying - if someone was a hardcore socialist/communist looking for a way to gain power through un-elected means -
    Some of those environement groups 'could' be useful.

    Take care of the God's creation and that is its own reward I say!
     
  9. Paul Morphy

    Paul Morphy Banned

    Locally, the Anglican Church openly supported a controversial attempt (which I fully supported) to protect a valuable greenspace--the Anglican Church is currently in dire straights from what I understand, and to take the side of the underdog in such a situation, I found to be quite impressive, and although a non-Christian, I have new-found respect for this denomination. They seem to understand what most Christians don't, that the planet was not created in order to be exploited by man, and that the exploitation of the planet is facilitated by greed and fosters materialism--two attributes of our "civilization" that Christianity has traditionally frowned upon. To be Christian should logically lead one to be an environmentalist, but this is so often not the case.
     
  10. TrippinBTM

    TrippinBTM Ramblin' Man

    ::snip::

    Of course many environmentalists aren't the strictly utilitarian reductionist type, that is part of it. What we do to nature we do to ourselves. I agree with what that Sierra Club thing stated, the rest of the world isn't there for the sole benefit of human consumption or exploitation. Life everywhere needs to be protected. But of course, that includes human life. Pumping chemicals into the air and water is not helping us, it's hurting us in a multitude of ways. We are not seperate from nature, which is what we need to realize. We seem to be, in our artificial cities, but cities do not exist in a vacuum. Our shit goes out, but, as we are part of the great cycles of nature, it comes right back.
     

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