National Public Radio has discovered that there are evangelicals joining the global warming climate instabilityclimate change movement. New York’s WNYC profiled one of them this week:
Brandan Robertson is the Founder of The Revangelical Movement and a representative of the growing number of those in the religious right who also see environmentalism as a religious and civic priority.
“Many conservative Christians pegged the issues around climate change as something that only liberals did or something that was actually opposed to the Christian message,” says Robertson. “This was mainly because conservative Evangelicals and Catholics tended to have a human-centered view that saw the Earth as an object that humans have been given to dominate and exploit for our own benefit. When it was all used up, Jesus would return, destroy the world, and take Christians to heaven. That is, of course, an oversimplification.”
No, it’s a falsehood and a straw man, but thank you for playing. I have literally never heard of any Christian who believes what Robertson just said “many” “conservative Evangelicals and Catholics” believe. None. And I’ve certainly never heard any make a public argument that even remotely resembles what he attributes to them.
You see, Brandon, there’s this idea called “stewardship” that pre-dates the emerging church and the revangelical movement and Brian McLaren and Sojourners and whatever other late 20th-early 21st century fads you want to glom on to. (I know that’s hard to believe, what with Christianity being this brand-new thing that Millenials are creating out of whole cloth and all, but it’s true.) And it isn’t just about tithing, Brandon. Believe it or not, it actually spoke to the responsibility that human beings have to care for their environment, because the environment we live in was created by God and is a gift of God. I’m sure it blows your mind to think that any generation before yours could have come up with such a cutting-edge, world-defying, nature-embracing notion, but hey, Copernicus didn’t discover heliocentrism until the Clinton administration, right?
Robertson says that a new wave of conservative Christians and religious organizations have begun taking leadership roles, adding that the views of climate change denialists are inadequate, destructive, and even “unbiblical” in some senses.
Well, if there was such a thing as a “climate change denier,” they would be “unbiblical” in the sense of being completely irrational. Brandon, no one–not even the Koch brothers–deny that climate changes. It changes with some frequency, geologically speaking. It changes for a variety of reasons that are all connected with the extraordinary complexity of a Sun-Earth-biosphere system that we are only beginning to understand (human limitedness being another biblical idea). Virtually no one denies that human beings contribute to that change, since we are important players in the biosphere part of the equation. What is disputed is how much of a role–determinative, primary, significant, secondary, tertiary, insignificant, infinitesimal–human beings play. Once again, you’re playing fast and loose with the truth.
Nowadays, Robertson says that environmental conservation is more in line with the Christian faith, adding that statistics show that the new generation of younger Evangelicals are changing politically.
“For instance, on June 2nd when the EPA released a proposal to reduce carbon pollution, many conservative Christians saw that as a no-brainer,” he says. “Yes, [President Obama’s] proposal had a price tag of $150 billion, but the price tag that will cost if we don’t get to work on these issues is far higher. As we look at Jesus and examine our Bibles, we’re becoming increasingly less concerned with personal wealth and economic growth, and more concerned with caring for our whole planet. It seems to us like the more Christ-like thing to do.”
“No-brainer.” I wonder if Brandon has any clue what that expression means. The EPA wants to issue an enormously costly, politically controversial, economically damaging, and scientifically dubious set of regulations, and he’s ready to swallow it whole without any thought at all, simply because it comes wrapped up with a pretty green bow. That’s not Christian faith at work. That’s another kind of religion, and one of the most empty-headed, credulous religions imaginable. It is a religion that assumes (as Brandon never would about what Christians believe) that all the questions have been answered, that there is no more evidence to discover or examine, that all contrary evidence has been debunked, and that anyone who now disagrees is “unbiblical” and even unChristian, greedy and rapacious rather than caring and compassionate.
Well guess what, Brandon? Science doesn’t work that way. And neither does Christianity.