I am a Christian. I go to church almost every Sunday (every now and then I skip out, what?). People are often surprised by the level of my faith (which I don’t think is that outrageously strong, or anything, its not like I’m an aspiring pastor or anything) and the level of my passion for environmentalism. I am surprised by the amount of people who claim to be Christians but could care less about the environment.
Now, its been a long time since I read Genesis (and yes, I did read it, and half of Exodus, when I was 14, but then I got bored and moved on to some Sci Fi), but I’m pretty sure that after God got done making the heavens and the earth and light and water and plants and animals, he decided to make some people, and he told those people to keep an eye on everything else that he had made, and to take good care of it. That’s paraphrasing, of course, but I’m pretty sure that’s what the general idea was. I am reminded of it every time my pastor reminds us – and he does often – that we are instructed by God to be stewards of his creation.
Whether you are inclined to believe that the creation story laid out in Genesis is literal truth or more metaphorical, I think we can all agree that God probably worked pretty hard making all of this. And if I may say so, He did a kick ass job. And I don’t think he spent all that time setting up the vast perpetual motion machine that is the Earth just to watch us trash it.
I might be wrong. I’m not God.
But I do know, metaphor or literal, it says in the Bible that we are supposed to take care of the earth. I do know that the Christian morals I have learned over my lifetime emphasize respect, particularly respect for God, and it doesn’t strike me as very respectful to neglect or (as is more accurately the case) downright abuse His creation. When God put Adam and Eve down there in the garden, did He say “Now go forth and consume all that you can, and if you cannot consume it, destroy it in whatever way is most pleasing for you, because I made all of this not to nourish and provide for you and the rest of my creation, but rather as cheap entertainment for humans, whom I intend to have a relatively short lifespan, as species go.”? Of course not. He told us the same thing he told everything else, to be fruitful and multiply.
Yes, the same thing he told everything else.
And I believe, and my pastor (who has way too many doctorates in theology for me to refute) reinforces this belief, that any additional instruction that was given to us was to take care of everything else.
And not to eat the fruit from that one tree (and for an interesting interpretation of that Bible story, I highly recommend the book Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn).
So, the only thing that makes us any different from anything else, apparently, is the expectation that we are to take care of everything else. What we are doing, then, by destroying the creation, is much the same as if a baby sitter were to kill the child she was watching. Not only did the baby sitter do a terrible job at her assignment, but she – a child herself – went ahead and killed her own kind.
Who among us claims to love God, yet continues to consume and destroy His creation as if he is itching to create another one for us?
I don’t want to pass judgement or anything, but it seems ass backwards to claim to be a Christian and not be an environmentalist.