Environmentalism > Contemporary Questions
1. Is the environment naturally good as we find it, or do human beings have a contribution to make in improving the natural world?
2. Do human beings belong in the natural world, or is our presence inherently destructive? (perhaps because we cannot live in the natural world without altering it…)
a) The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement—a rather extreme expression of the Deep Ecology movement…
From the VHEMT website:
As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens… us.
Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom.
When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s “experiments” have done throughout the eons.
3. How are the demands of economics and environmentalism to be balanced?
4. Do Christians have an obligation to care for the non-human creation? non-living? Or are concerns for anything other than human souls beyond the scope of Christian theology?
5. Are ecological degradation and global warming 1) a reality, 2) caused by human beings, and 3) a proper area of concern for Christians?
6. What is the relationship between the current created order and the new heavens and the new earth? Does caring for our current environment have any implications for life in the world that is to come?S
b) Moo JETS article
Concerns and Controversies Within the Evangelical Church
1. Environmentalism is an “unsettled” issue
2. Environmentalism is rooted in an anti-human sentiment
a) Humanity (at least in large numbers) seems to be viewed almost as a form of pollution within environmental circles. (I believe this comment was made by John Neuhaus in First Things)
b) Human need as secondary to animal or material existence
3. Environmentalism vs. Capitalism
a) Environmental concerns retard economic progress and therefore harm the poorest of the poor. We are effectively sacrificing human welfare on the altar of the non-human creation.
(1) Beisner and the Cornwall Alliance
(2) But is there a place for restraining growth for the sake of our treatment of the world? Even from a human standpoint, is our greatest problem really the restraint of free markets or the refusal to restrain human greed?
(3) Schumacher’s triumvirate: permanence, beauty and health—perhaps a good corrective to production, consumption and growth as the only things that count.
4. Priority of Salvation
a) Human salvation is the point of the biblical story and takes precedence over everything else. All things circle back to the redemption Christ effected on the cross.
(1) But no, the glory of God is what takes ultimate precedence—and it is dangerous to reduce all of God’s glory to human salvation. Creation declares his glory too…
(2) If God has ordained non-human creation to sing his glory, who are we to silence the song? Who are we to say that our song alone is what really bring glory to God. We are creation’s steward, not its owner and not its goal. All things where made by him and for him, they were not made by him and for us.
(3) I heard a story of a pastor from Seoul Korea who was 40 years old when he traveled to Regent College/Vancouver and he said he had never before seen the stars (Seoul has unusually bad air pollution)…are we silencing creation?