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The Premiere Christian Magazine for Southern Arizona

Environmentalism: The New Religion

Preserving the wonders of our Sonoran desert for our children and their children is a high priority in Tucson.  All of us who appreciate the beauty and bounty of the world God created for us want to insure future generations are not denied that opportunity.  I think I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would claim to actually want to trash the Earth.  So, if everyone is on the same side, what’s the issue?   Priorities! Of course.

As a vivid example, take the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta water fight.  Years ago irrigation turned this California valley into one the most verdant and productive farmlands in the world, filling the nation’s tables with fruit, almonds, pistachios, grapes, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, cotton, rice, beef, lamb, wool, and leather.  Some estimates place almost 10% of the value of our country’s agricultural production in this valley.  Then, a federal judge ruled in 2007 that pumps sending some six million acre feet of water annually to Kern County could result in the extinction of the delta smelt and ordered a reduction of nearly a third of the usual pumping.  A University of California Davis study estimates that in subsequent years between 31,000 and 80,000 jobs have been lost and between $627 million and $1.6 billion in yearly economic losses resulted from this reduction of irrigation.  (Source:  Howitt, Richard E., Duncan MacEwan, and Josué Medellín-Azuara. “ Economic Impacts of Reductions in Delta Exports on Central Valley Agriculture.” http://www.agecon.ucdavis.edu/extension/update/articles/v12n3_1.pdf )

A tough decision in a difficult situation?  Certainly, but a long way from unique.  We are being challenged constantly with this dichotomy:  People or the Environment?  It is estimated that millions of  African children have died needlessly from malaria since DDT was banned or restricted to protect birds.
(Source:  Finkel, Michael, “Malaria,” National Geographic, July 2007.)  Some assessments calculate that we must reduce our per capita energy consumption to mid-19th century levels in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions sufficiently to avoid catastrophic global warming.  (Say goodbye to your air conditioning and your cars.)  And all of this would be “helped” with fewer people on the Earth.

Given the complexity of these decisions, how should we set our priorities?  God tells us in Genesis 1:28-31 “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground. Then God said, Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.  And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life. And that is what happened.  Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good!”

But, I think what has happened in our increasingly secular age is the formation of new religion:  Environmentalism.  Humans have an innate predisposition for faith.  Secular scientists have faith that the world is purely mechanistic and material.  Secular environmentalists believe nothing is more important than their vision of a pristine environment without humans.  In its most potent form, this is worshipping the environment.  God calls us to worship Him, the Creator.  Worshipping His creation instead is idol worship.  This distinction is the fundamental concept for setting priorities:  Worshipping the Creator or worshipping the creation.  God calls us to be good stewards of His creation, but He created it for our benefit.  We must care for it so as to provide for the highest and best use for mankind.

Scott K Gordon

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February 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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