Jun 3, 2009

The Green Religion

By Gary Stearman

Today, Christians are watching intently as the world rapidly turns in a direction that is increasingly and strangely alien to their way of thinking. The Apostle Paul had it right. He foresaw a day when men would worship the creation more than its Creator.

In the last few decades, a competing system of thought has become a powerful medium of change. It has all but overthrown the idea of a providential God, and has adopted a new form of religion, centered about ecological preservation. It sees human beings, not God, as the most powerful force in the world. Their behavior is seen as out of control and threatening in the most fundamental way. Their numbers, their use of polluting chemicals, waste-water and food threaten the earth. They are viewed as "ecologically illiterate."

By contrast, Christians view the world as the product of a Creator-God, who not only originated a living system, but continues to oversee it. At a certain time, He will favor it with an ultimate set of outcomes, both of judgment and blessing. Concerning the earth, we believe that its history has … and its future will … unfold according to His pattern.

This is the model that emerges from our faith, and it produces a certain way of thinking. We believe that this planet has been handed over to the stewardship of man. He has been given the prerogative of managing its systems for a certain period of time:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:27,28).
At the end of that time, the Lord will judge this world and its systems. The prophets speak of a tumultuous future period. This "day of the Lord," will radically remake the world, producing a favorable environment and perfect meteorological conditions for the Kingdom Age.

For us, this is an article of faith. For the thinker outside this faith, there is only fear and trembling, as he watches a burgeoning population, decreasing resources and destabilizing meteorology. He feels alone at the edge of a vast galaxy, isolated on a tiny ball, whose ecology he sees as perilously close to collapse, meaning the end of humanity.

On the other hand, the Christian way of thinking accepts the classic model of science, in which its theories and methodologies of its conceptual framework attribute reality to the hand of God.

Science has come to speak of a certain pattern of thinking, such as this one, as a "paradigm." This term generally refers to a template that describes the way everyday reality is viewed. Christians see the Lord as the innermost force of creation:
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:1-3).
These, the opening verses of the epistle to the Hebrews, clearly state that the Son – Jesus – is both Creator and Heir of all that we see. Furthermore, He holds the Creation together. His will is the primary factor of everything we call "reality."

And People Laugh at Bible Prophecy!

Secular minds tend to view humanity as an invading pestilence, crawling on the earth’s surface. Pundits and professors write that man is ultimately self-destructive and must be controlled before he reaches the point of catastrophic collapse.

An excellent example of this sort of thought can be found in a book written over forty years ago by Dr. Paul Ehrlich. In 1968, this professor of biological sciences at Stanford University wrote an influential book, entitled, The Population Bomb.

In the book, he authoritatively predicted that humanity was on the verge of a colossal downfall, perhaps within the next decade. At that time, using demographic observations and estimates of available food and water, he predicted that humanity was about to implode. He envisioned three possible scenarios. All three end in chaos:
  • SCENARIO I. In 1972, news of the war in Thailand occupies the headlines in the United States. China has had catastrophic floods, a breakdown of communications and massive famines. Increasingly serious food riots in China, India and Brazil are a matter of great concern to the Central Intelligence Agency. Ominously, Chinese propaganda blames U.S. political intervention for Canada’s refusal to sell further wheat to China."

  • SCENARIO II. In 1979 the last non-Communist government in Latin America, that of Mexico, is replaced by a Chinese-supported military junta. The change occurs at the end of a decade of frustration and failure for the United States. Famine has swept repeatedly across Asia, Africa and South America. Food riots have often become anti-American riots, as our enemies claimed we were withholding food from the starving."

    "During the Mediterranean crisis of 1978 the joint Mexican-United States expeditionary force had been withdrawn from Costa Rica, and the last American "volunteers" withdrawn from Chile. Only the outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of bubonic plague killing 65% of the starving Egyptian population had averted a direct Soviet-American clash in the Mediterranean."

  • SCENARIO III. In 1974 the United States government finally realizes that food-population balance in much of Asia, Africa and South America is such that most areas cannot attain self-sufficiency."

    In Ehrlich’s vision of the near future, people die by the millions. Then, international authorities come up with a population control plan:

    "The plan is to be initiated in 1985, when it is calculated that the major die-back will be over, using famine relief distribution stations as bases for both facilities and personnel. The plan will eventually cover the entire world and is programmed with a goal of a total world population of two billion in 2025, and 1.5 billion in 2100." (The Population Bomb, pp. 72-79)
The above speculations seem childish in the extreme … yet Ehrlich is lauded, while people laugh at Bible prophecy! He and others of his school of thought worship at the altar of the world system with a deep sense of dread. Nevertheless, academic leaders and government authorities followed Ehrlich’s lead, and went on to predict dire famine and pestilence for the concluding decades of the twentieth century. They actually take him seriously.

But take note … the world is now heading toward a population of seven billion, and doing quite well. Ehrlich thought that two billion people were too many.

In the years following the release of his book, there were local famines, some quite serious, but global upheaval and deaths in the hundreds of millions never came. In retrospect, Dr. Ehrlich was trying to stir up a crisis that would create a mandate for change. Secular authorities constantly operate in this way: Management by crisis creates the opportunity for control.

Green Politics

For him, the answer lay in social collapse, followed by rigorous, authoritarian control of global society to control population and fairly distribute the produce of the world economy. His approach now seems naïve and quaint, both in its predictions and its solutions to an imagined set of problems.

But others have followed him, evolving their own answer to the world’s burgeoning population. From their thinking has emerged a new paradigm. It is commonly known as the "green revolution."

Dr. Fritjof Capra, founder and director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, is perhaps the leading theoretician in this field of study. In 1984, he co-authored a book, entitled Green Politics.

In it, and in other publications since, he has advanced a new paradigm, or model, for the stabilization of planet earth, which he sees as threatened by human destruction. He is consistently critical of the "old science," which teaches that global ecology can be understood by studying its individual parts … biology, chemistry, the physics of weather, and so on.

Instead, he advances a theory, in which the earth is a "living system," which must be understood as an integrated ecology. He foresees a new science centered around "ecological literacy."

It is this area of knowledge that he envisions as the salvation of planet earth. Put simply, he believes that man’s destruction of the planet (through man-caused global warming or excess production of carbon dioxide) can only be stopped when humanity has risen to an acceptable level of ecological literacy.

Many now believe that perceiving the world in this way offers mankind’s only hope of survival. Al Gore’s documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is the direct outgrowth of Capra’s thinking.

Gore’s ideas of man-made global warming and the proposed cap-and-trade taxation of carbon are the direct result of the new "eco-literacy." The public school systems of the world are now being flooded with the new thought, called "post-modern thought," which distrusts classical education.

One leading thinker — Dr. David W. Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College — teaches that we must recognize that modern culture is not ecologically sustainable. Man’s behavior threatens all life on planet earth. He proposes that civic morality must be based upon Ecological Literacy, the title of his recent book. As a perfect model of post-modern thought, he proposes tailoring all education to this end.

He writes that he is concerned about...
"the role education must play in the journey to a post-modern world. Education in the modern world was designed to further the conquest of nature and the industrialization of the planet. It tended to produce unbalanced, under-dimensioned people tailored to fit the modern economy. Post-modern education must have a different agenda, one designed to heal, connect, liberate, empower, create, and celebrate. Post-modern education must be life-centered."
His writing makes it increasingly obvious that "life-centered" means what we would think of as the worship of life, itself, not God as the Creator of that life. It is nothing less than a new religion.

It is just as Paul wrote:
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

"And changed the glory of the un-corruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 1:21-25).
To the worshipers of ecology, evolution is god, and the greening of the earth is their worship.