“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
I love being in nature. There is nothing that gives me peace more than being by myself in nature. When I go on a hike, I would prefer not to see another human being, but here in Colorado it is difficult to find a trail that isn't occupied. Although I have not been able to do much backpacking in the past few years, it, along with hunting, are my favorite things to do. I enjoy the solitude and the time with God. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to steward what God has given to humans which are the pinnacle of His creation.
Unfortunately many who preach the environmentalist doctrine have done so in a way that has painted some evangelicals as people who hate the environment. Perhaps this is the fault of evangelicals. According to Genesis 1:28 God gave humanity the responsibility to steward creation and this responsibility is echoed in Psalm 8:6-8. Furthermore, the farming practices laid out in Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:1-7 suggest a principal of stewardship regarding the health of the environment. Christians should be the ones caring for the environment more than anyone else with the possible exception of those worship creation itself (Wiccan's, pagans, etc.).
Have evangelicals who drive big cars, don't recycle, and don't buy carbon credits forsaken their responsibility? If an evangelical believes fracking is a good idea, some of the restrictions put on car companies or unnecessary, and oil companies are often wrongly demonized, is that person rejecting a Biblical environmentalism?
Before those questions are answered, more information is needed. For instance, is the science really that clear? President Obama popularized a statistic that is oft repeated and proclaimed as gospel; that statistic would suggest that it is overwhelmingly clear that climate change is an absolute fact. The statistic that Obama popularized comes from John Cook of Skeptical Science who published a paper that claims 97.1% of scientists agree that humans are the cause of global warming. Anytime you have 97% of scientists agreeing on anything scientific that should communicate a high level of certainty. For those of us who are not scientists and cannot examine the data in any meaningful way, this should be compelling. However, James Taylor over at Forbes has debunked this study claiming that Cook made significant mistakes in the study. In fact, it appears that scientists are split on the issue. The Daily Caller reported that nearly half of meteorologists are not so convinced.
None of that proves anything regarding climate change. There is not time to go through fracking, issues regarding the oil companies, and all the other environmental issues. The point of this post isn't to settle any of the environmental issues. Instead it is to suggest that this issue is not clearly understood and there is not, in fact, an overwhelming consensus or any real consensus at all.
Living green is all the rage, I was even charged an extra 10 cents for each plastic bag I used at the grocery store the other day. Theologically speaking, Christians should be the best environmentalists, but many evangelicals, like me, questions the validity of the science claiming that humans are causing climate change or that the amount of climate change is alarming. As a Christian who enjoys hiking, camping, and hunting, I have an interest in making sure that we care for God's creation. While some things are obviously harmful to the environment, many of the claims made by "environmentalists" are not obviously true. The Christian then, must make the best decision possible given their understanding of the evidence. It is not acceptable to say, "it's all gonna burn anyway". God has given humans as the stewards of creation, and even all of it is going burn, we don't know when and we should not be flippant. Christians must be true environmentalists doing the best they can, and they must be charitable regarding their judgment of others in relation to this issue. That does not mean we should accept science we think is bad or inconclusive, especially if we think policies enacted as a result brings harm to the economy (the poor) or other are
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.