Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ia Satan Responsible for Global Warming?

In a recent sermon, Jerry Falwell stated that "global warming" is a tool of Satan. In an article for Ethics, Bob Allen writes:

Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, who has worked for decades to involve conservative Christians in politics, said Sunday the debate over global warming is a tool of Satan being used to distract churches from their primary focus of preaching the gospel.

"If I decide here as the pastor and our deacons decide that we're going to get caught up in the global warming thing, we're not going to be able to reach the masses of souls for Christ, because our attention will be elsewhere, " Falwell said in Sunday's sermon at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. "That's pretty wise for Satan to concoct."

Falwell urged preachers listening on TV across the country, particularly evangelicals who signed an Evangelical Climate Initiative statement declaring man-made global warming a moral issue: "Don't be duped any longer. The jury is still out on global warming."

After reading the quote by Falwell, I didn't immediately jump on the anti-Falwell wagon. I'm constantly being asked by people whether or not preaching social justice distracts from the message of the cross, and it is important to consider for a second what the Rev. is saying here...for a second. After about a second of consideration, it becomes apparent of two things:

First off and most apparent: If global warming is a ploy by Satan to deter churches from reaching "masses of souls for Christ," Falwell himself has given himself over, as his entire sermon, entitled, "The Myth of Global Warming," was itself on global warming.

In his sermon, Falwell does admit the importance of taking care of creation, he preached that we should take care of our trash, beautify the earth, and keep the streams clean. He did, rightfully so, express concern at alarmism. I would agree with him, Christians need not panic the global warming is outside of the power of God, but we also should recognize that an aspect of keeping the streams clean, picking up our trash, and beautifying the earth (with its atmosphere), is to care about CO2 production.

My second observation follows this admittance that we should care for God's creation: If we should be beautifying the earth, how would preaching about taking care of what Brian McLaren calls our "created sister" be any more of a distraction to reaching lost souls than lobbying against abortions and same-sex marriages.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Jim Wallis, in requesting a formal debate with James Dobson had this to add:
"'More importantly, we have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.'

That is indeed the key criticism, and the foundation for the real debate. Is the fact that 30,000 children will die globally today, and everyday, from needless hunger and disease a great moral issue for evangelical Christians? How about the reality of 3 billion of God’s children living on less than $2 per day? And isn’t the still-widespread and needless poverty in our own country, the richest nation in the world, a moral scandal? What about pandemics like HIV/AIDS that wipe out whole generations and countries, or the sex trafficking of massive numbers of women and children? Should genocide in Darfur be a moral issue for Christians? And what about disastrous wars like Iraq? And then there is, of course, the issue that got Dobson and his allies so agitated. If the scientific consensus is right - climate change is real, is caused substantially by human activity, and could result in hundreds of thousands of deaths - then isn’t that also a great moral issue? Could global warming actually be alarming evidence of human tinkering with God’s creation?

Or, are the only really "great moral issues" those concerning abortion, gay marriage, and the teaching of sexual abstinence? I happen to believe that the sanctity of life, the health of marriages, and teaching sexual morality to our children are, indeed, among the great moral issues of our time. But I believe they are not the only great moral issues, and Dobson says they are."