Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Listen To The Earth"

Every year, my family vacations at an east coast resort in Delaware. Two houses down from us on our daily walk to the beach a red Dodge van is parked in the driveway. The back of the van is covered in bumper stickers, one of which I was reminded of this week. It says, "Listen To The Earth."

I have addressed the issue of bumper sticker politics briefly elsewhere but, as we "celebrated" Earth Day this past week, that bumper sticker leaped into my brain and I wondered, just how does one go about "listening" to the Earth?

As I have discussed before, I believe we are duty-bound to be good stewards of our environment, but that is a far cry from the political agenda behind the Earth Day movement. I was going to comment on those ideas but, once again, my friend Rick Gerhardt not only beat me to it, but summarized the problem far more concisely and eloquently than I ever could have. Rick has advanced degrees in biology and works as an avian ecologist. In other words, Rick is not only much smarter than me, but he is well-versed in subject areas that directly effect environmentalist ideas.

Please check out Rick's two recent posts here and here. But if you don't have time, let me offer a Cliff's Notes summary of Rick's take on the basic issues Christians should consider as they approach the subject of environmentalism:
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.

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.

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.
That's it in a nutshell. And from that Rick draws the following conclusion:
... 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.
As usual, there is a lot of wisdom in his words. Though he would never be so self-serving as to suggest this himself, let me say that if you are encouraged by someone to "listen to the earth," you might want to click back here and listen to Rick instead.

Good stuff ...

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