I’m never been the tree hugger type. That being said, I certainly love the beauty of the natural world. And if I think of the world in terms of my neighborhood, it’s a bummer when people trash it. I wouldn’t want all the trees cut down, nor would I want the birds to suddenly disappear. The wider world is no exception.
When it comes environmentalism, however, the issue is about more than mere beauty. According to some, our very survival is at stake (Think Al Gore). Or, in the case of certain Christians, the issue is elevated to near super spiritual heights, as if it were on par with the Gospel itself, or a direct and insuperably linked byproduct. But is this right?
For myself, I cannot help but shake my head when Christians overemphasize this subject; when they act as if one of the major currents running through the bible is the idea of being green. Yes, stewardship is certainly important. Beauty is important. Greed and over indulgence is taken seriously. Yes, this is all true, but we must not lose sight of that which is fundamental. We must not foreground that which is a background issue. In other words, read through the bible and note what is emphasized. Is the idea of being green a concern of the apostle Paul? Of John? Of Jesus? Discipleship focuses on many, many other things. Granted, self control and stewardship and love for one’s neighbor will certainly entail a number of green lifestyle changes (even national concerns), but it’s not central. Am I wrong?
If you want an example of a Christian going too far, in my opinion, I would first recommend the following:
The second might be: What is a Beautiful World? (Caution: This one is a bit on the boring side. But it still illustrates the overall point).
Now if you want a more balanced perspective, I would point you to these:
A Christian Perspective on the Environment, by Jay Richards (Unfortunately, the audio quality is a little scratchy).
Three lectures by Douglas J. Green at Westminster Theological Seminary. Search for them here.
Understanding Him to be the Gardener: An Ecological Perspective on Adamic Dominion. Part 1
Where is the world Going? An Ecological Perspective on Eschatology. Part 2
Green Bible Meditations: What is Dominion? And Where is the World Going?
Point of Inquiry, a decidedly non-Christian organization, had this to say recently:
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