Thursday, March 27, 2008

Global Smarming

Well, at least the Catholics and (some) Protestants can agree on something. Unfortunately that something leaves much to be desired. The Catholic church, in its ongoing attempt to show its relevance to modern culture, has chosen to "update" its list of Deadly Sins. Though the original list (pride, envy, lust, anger, sloth, greed and gluttony) seems adequately all inclusive to me, apparently the Church doesn't consider it sufficient to encompass new terms that are more politically correct. The Vatican reports that:
The new deadly sins include polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.
Maybe I'm just a little slow but, given the definitions of the "old" deadly sins:
Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or covetousness.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
... it seems to me these new ones would fit nicely into the previously established categories:
  • Genetic engineering fits nicely under the demonstration of humanistic pride.

  • Being obscenely rich sure does seem to sound like greed, but one would think that the Vatican geniuses who came up with this list could understand the difference between having lots of money (being rich) and having an attitude that just wants more money (greed). Who defines "obscenely rich" anyway? And what about "obscenely rich" folks who give most of their wealth away to, say, the Catholic Church?

  • Drug dealing obviously breaks human laws that are not in conflict with Scripture (which is, we might note, one definition of sin in general) but also works nicely with sloth and lust.

  • Abortion not only demonstrates the prideful tendency to "play God" but also ignores the clear teaching that we should respect life because all human beings reflects God by bearing His image.

  • It doesn't seem difficult to see pedophilia as just one more way perverted way to be lustful. Surely, a group of Catholic priests should recognize that fact.

  • Causing social injustice is a nebulous term that is too easily manipulated into including anything the liberal wing of the church chooses as its pet cause. But even ignoring that, can this not be included under the umbrella of pride, envy and/or greed?
Finally, polluting is thrown in to placate the environmentalist mantra concerning "global warming." And here we find the connecting point between the Catholics and their Protestant brethren. Not to be outdone, the Southern Baptists have also weighed in on the issue. In their similar declaration they chastise those who don't believe the sky is falling for their ...
" ... cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence [that] may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better."
Please notice that their fear here is not that we are in danger of ignoring an actual objective truth claim. Their fear is about how they "may be seen by the world." Why are church leaders so concerned about how they are seen by the world? Yes, the church needs to be relevant but being relevant does not entail capitulation to the standards and language of the world. It seems to me that they have things backward. They are critiquing the church from a cultural point of view instead of critiquing the culture from a Biblical point of view.
The Rev. Rich Cizik, Washington director of the National Association of Evangelicals, [has become] a prominent environmental advocate, trying to persuade conservative Christians that global warming is real.
Sorry, but if global warming was so obviously real, it wouldn't take such a concerted effort to "persuade" us. There are thousands of scientists who disagree with the dire warnings about global warming. They don't dissent for religious reasons but for scientific ones. Those who so readily accept the popular view seem a little gullible to me. Take Jonathan Merritt for instance, a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ...
Merritt, 25, son of former convention president James Merritt, [who] began rallying denominational leaders ... said a theology class had inspired him. His professor had compared destroying God's creation to "tearing a page out of the Bible" ... "That struck me. It broke me," the younger Merritt said in an interview, "and that was the impetus that began a life change, a shift of perspective for me."
Merritt accepted global warming in a theology class! If this is all it takes to "break" you, I submit that you are not thinking with your brain, but with your emotions and feelings -- an all-too-common practice these days.

But, for the sake of argument, let's assume they are correct. Let's assume that the planet is warming. Maybe it is. But there is virtually no proof that it is doing so because of the actions of human beings. Claiming that man can affect or control the temperature of the massively complicated system that is the Earth just sounds a little prideful to me.

This is not to say that we should not take care in how we treat our environment. We should. For those who believe in the Bible this is a moral imperative. For those who don't believe in the Bible it just makes common sense. But one must observe the motivations of those who want to blame man for an alleged global temperature rise. Those motivations are not Biblical but they are theological. They have their basis in the religion of Environmentalism.

These people see global warming as a political tool that can be used to control and confiscate wealth from what they consider to be an "obscenely rich" United States so that it can be redistributed in the name of "social justice." They are "greedy" and "gluttonous" in their pursuit of power and influence. They are "prideful" in their claim to know the unknowable and control the uncontrollable. They are "angry" at those who have the audacity to disagree with them based on the actual scientific evidence.

The issues are new but the results are as old as the humanity that promotes it. Sounds like a deadly, human-centered combination to me.

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