In the last post, I suggested that commitment to the Judeo-Christian worldview very logically leads to a keen sense that we are to be good stewards of the environment, of God’s creation. I also alluded to the fact, however, that Christians in our day are not generally noted for their commitment to creation care. In this post, I want to identify some reasonable concerns that Christians have with regard to environmental issues. Specifically, I will mention three different (albeit interrelated) aspects of modern environmentalism that (rightly) give Christians pause.
First, environmentalism as we know it today has largely been co-opted by those with a neo-pagan or pantheistic worldview. This is easily seen around Earth Day, whose most vocal participants openly honor “Mother Earth” or worship Gaia, the earth goddess. Thus, for Christians to join the existing environmental movement would involve closely aligning themselves with people whose religion and worldview are diametrically opposed to their own. (I find overwhelming logical and evidential warrant for concluding that pantheism—in all of its various forms—fails to correspond to the reality of this universe, but that argument will have to wait for another post.)
Similarly, the environmental movement in America has been twisted for political means, to the point that unbiased, reasonable discussions of environmental issues have become all but impossible. At the extreme, the most vocal calls for environmental activism are frequently imbedded in a larger agenda most of which is morally repugnant to Christians—an agenda that includes socialism, radical feminism, abortion activism, and the glorifying of homosexuality. But even where these elements are not involved, political biases all too frequently cloud the environmental discussion beyond hope of rational progress.
Third, the modern environmental movement has a distinctly pro-death (anti-human) aspect to it. For many in this movement, the biggest problem facing the planet is human beings. Most vocal environmentalists support abortion and euthanasia, and some (like biologist Eric Pianka) go so far as advocating deliberate reduction of the global human population. Christians are right to want nothing to do with such a culture of death.
For these (and perhaps other) reasons, Christians are acting reasonably and responsibly in not associating with the environmental movement as it currently exists. While the presence (in this movement) of these amoral and anti-Christian elements makes it reasonable for Christians to avoid such alignment, it does not absolve them (us) of the responsibility of either personal or corporate environmental stewardship. If anything, it requires us both to stiffen our resolve to be the very best creation caretakers that we can be and to better understand why good stewardship makes more sense from within a Judeo-Christian worldview than from a pantheistic or atheistic perspective.
(This post originally appeared on 18 April 2007.)