On Religion and Climate Change
by Jerry Newcombe
Earth Day is around the corner, and next week a religious group dedicated to the environment will be meeting in Washington, DC.
The Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC) declares itself to be “a collaborative initiative spanning faiths, spiritual traditions and people of good will.”
Their goal for their DC meeting next week will include “urging elected officials to decisively act on the greatest moral crisis of our time.”
In their opinion, “climate change is a moral issue” that should be “a priority for the faithful nationwide.”
Protecting the environment is surely a worthy goal. But as a layman, I don’t understand how the scientists invoked could always be sure of these things. Things like the notion that man’s activities (more exactly, man’s activities in developed countries) are what supposedly cause various catastrophes in nature.
Thirty five years ago, many scientists warned of the catastrophe of the earth cooling. In the short span since, it heated up so much so that we’re now at risk for global warming?
As I read the Bible, I see disasters in nature as a given in this fallen world. It’s a curse because of man’s sin. We can do much through science to limit the damage of these catastrophes. But in one sense, we’re powerless to prevent them from happening.
Yet the bigger question is this: Are some of our activities, such as burning fossil fuels, actually causing global warming? According to many scientists, that assertion is unproven at best.
It used to be just “global warming” that was condemned. But that didn’t sell well during terrible snow storms, such as the one that shut down a prominent presentation Al Gore was going to give against global warming. During such storms, people up north are probably thinking, “We could use a little global warming right now.”So somewhere along the line, “global warming”got morphed into “climate change.” But…isn’t there always climate change? How convenient.
Like the poor that are always with us, so also is climate change.
If there are specific, proven things we do that harm the environment, like polluting rivers that cause illness for those down river, then such criminal acts should be halted, investigated, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
I also think that respect for nature improves life for most people. Whenever I visit Central Park, I’m so glad for those with the foresight to not let all of NYC be developed.
Appreciation for nature is one thing. But sometimes the environmentalists worship nature for all practical purposes. Whatever happened to the first commandment—-“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before Me”?
Cal Beisner is the spokesperson for Cornwall Alliance, a conservative group opposed to climate change alarmism. The Cornwall slogan is, “For the stewardship of creation.”
I sent him an email about this upcoming interfaith meeting described above. He wrote me back with this comment: “One thing’s for sure: These people don’t speak for most American evangelicals, who, backed by solid science, overwhelmingly reject climate alarmism, and, backed by solid economics, reject calls to spend trillions of dollars and trap millions of people in poverty by denying them affordable and reliable energy in a vain attempt to mitigate global warming when even the alarmists’ own climate models predict that such efforts would have no discernible effect on future temperature.”
Beisner added, “Most American evangelicals stand with The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, whose Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming has been endorsed by over 500 leading evangelical pastors, scientists, and economists.” They believe whatever global warming may be occurring now is not man-made.
Robert Nelson is a professor of environmental policy at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow with The Independent Institute of Oakland, California. He wrote, The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion versus Environmental Religion in Contemporary America.
Nelson writes, “With Earth Day fast approaching (April 22), Americans might want to consider how environmentalism is becoming a new form of religion. They also might want to ask: Why is it OK to teach environmental religion in public schools, while the teaching of Judaism, Christianity and other traditional religions is not constitutionally permitted?”
Personally, doesn’t it make more sense to worship the Creator rather than the creation? Meanwhile, we could all wonder if global warming is truly settled science or perhaps just a lot of hot air.
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is host of and spokesman for Truth that Transforms with D. James Kennedy (formerly The Coral Ridge Hour). He has also written or co-written 23 books, including The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation and Answers from the Founding Fathers. Jerry co-wrote (with Dr. Peter Lillback) the bestselling, George Washington’s Sacred Fire. He hosts the website http://www.jerrynewcombe.com.