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God Is Green: My Religion And The Environment

God Is Green: My Religion And The Environment

Over the years, science has become more and more open to interpretation, and this means heated debates over what should be a simple fact: the Earth’s climate is changing. As if the debates between the professionals weren’t disconcerting enough, we have to add the drama between political lines and religious groups. I was educated in a conservative Christian environment. This was an environment dedicated to teaching others that if we’re going to call ourselves followers of God, then we’d better be preserving His creation.

This morning, a friend of mine, who is not an environmentalist, nor does she possess a science background like myself (a biologist), had read my post about the young evangelicals and asked me why more people who are members of the religious community aren’t of the same mindset?

I’d like to answer this with a concrete answer. I’d like to give her, and anyone else interested a definitive answer as to why the religious community isn’t falling all over itself to care for God’s creation. Instead I see bumper stickers comparing abortion and endangered species, and slogans condemning those who choose concern for a baby seal with abandoning the gift of human life. So instead of accepting responsibility for the whole creation, the religious community tends to interpret this at their will:

Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

Of course, this is the beauty of an ancient text. And there are so many variations in the denominations that rely on the Bible as their main source of reading material. In theory, the religious community should be able to engage in enthusiastic debates about the text and voice their opinions in a forum where they are heard and accepted. I don’t need to tell you that this is not always the case.

“For constructive dialog to happen, Christians must stop conflating differences in interpretation of Scripture with differences in commitment to Scripture. We must respond to one another’s questions, arguments, and ideas in kind, with more questions, arguments, and ideas, rather than avoiding the conversation altogether by dismissing one another as unfaithful.” ~Rachel Held Evans

My educational background includes classes in Biblical history and language. I know how to translate the original texts, and to understand from a cultural standpoint what was meant by “rule” and “subdue”, but that’s not the point here. I can spend my entire day talking to someone about how we are commanded in Genesis to care for the Earth and by “ruling” we are taking responsibility for the quality the Earth is kept in. It’s one of my favorite topics. It’s also one of the topics I typically find my Sunday school class members walking away from.

The environment is a topic not often embraced in sermons and Sunday school classes because of a wide range of differing opinions as to its importance. But there are differences of opinion on all topics; it’s just that when a controversial topic enters the religious gates, it becomes a means of determining your “love” for the Lord over your personal interests. I don’t understand how some can look at the praises written in Psalms for the beauty of creation and not see the mere amount of breathtaking artistry that surrounds us on a daily basis in nature. How can God Himself not be interested in the Earth. He’s created our minds to discover ways to find cleaner coal, or search for ways to reduce the impact of asthma on our children, or find an end to the climate crisis. God’s not leaving us without an option to care for ourselves and our surroundings.

“That God gave to man a dominion over the inferior creatures, over fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air – Though man provides for neither, he has power over both, much more over every living thing that moves upon the earth – God designed hereby to put an honor upon man, that he might find himself the more strongly obliged to bring honor to his Maker.”

John Wesley made it clear that the honor comes by treating creation with respect, not arrogance. Regardless of my denominational affiliation, I’m going to agree with him. Honor is earned, not assumed. We have the power to find the solutions to protect the “fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” And let’s not forget that our children are the most deserved recipients of this respect.

TELL THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE CRISIS

 

Read more: Conservation, Environment, Family, Life, Spirit, , , , ,

by Laura Michelle Burns

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Moms Clean Air Force

Moms Clean Air Forceis a community of moms, dads and others fighting for clean air and the health of future generations. Follow them on Twitter @ MomsCAF.

64 comments

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7:11AM PDT on May 18, 2013

Thank you Moms Clean Air Force, for Sharing this!

10:10AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

True

2:39PM PST on Jan 16, 2013

thank you for the article! i have a petition against Monsanto, please support by signing!

Aside from the fact that 91% of the population oppose genetically modified foods and all that the corporation Monsanto represents, The EU Bank is still to give Monsanto $40,000,000 of E.U. funds. This is a criminal act against the people! This Financial support would be better used on organic farming! We need to support small farms that will replenish the soil and use seeds that are not genetically modified . The future of our planet depends upon it! Monsanto does not need financial aid, it is a profit-making enterprise! Monsanto spent $7,100,500 defeating California's Prop 37, ONLY TO BE GRANTED PUBLIC FUNDS OF 40MILLION DOLLARS? "Monsanto would fail if it wasn't for government-sanctioned secrecy and 'too big to fail' bailouts!!! Now is the time to be angry! please sign and share the petition.

petition link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/668/278/722/stop-monsanto-from-receiving-public-fund-from-the-eu-bank/

1:32PM PST on Jan 5, 2013

https://www.facebook.com/SolarPoweredChurches

2:24PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

I agree, as a Christian I feel a responsibility to protect God's beautiful creation which brings him glory. It is time for us to take up the responsibility, that it is a joy to fulfill, to love, cherish, enjoy, honor, and take care of creation. I see so much beauty when I sit in God's temple of a seashore, or near a river, or a space full of trees and plants.

10:56AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
(1 John 1:1)
The Word of God is alive. God has given us a written record of the things He has spoken to mankind, so we may know Him and have a relationship with Him. But is His Word just a letter printed on paper and left for us to figure out what it means?
No, God's Word is actually God Himself. That means that everything we read in the Word of God, God stands behind and is ready to perform today.This Video can explain more, if you really want to have meaning to your life!!! Please watch with a open mind and heart....

http://youtu.be/qpSE3eZTCNo

12:24AM PST on Nov 9, 2012

thank you for sharing this interesting article.

10:38PM PST on Nov 8, 2012

A good article, thank you.

2:52PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Beautiful world but we ruin it:(

8:40AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

Yep, that's where I'm at.

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