Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is It Biblical to Deny Climate Change?

One of the issues we face today that I find completely astounding (in that it is even an issue) is the issue of climate change.  I am continually amazed by the people I meet who still deny that it is a fact, and oppose the notion that we should try to do anything about it.  Since most of the people I have met who do this also claim to be "Bible believing Christians", I thought I'd tackle this issue from a Biblical perspective.

Of course we could get into how ridiculous it is to deny Climate Change is real when 97% of climate scientists agree it is, or we could take a look at the details of the science behind it, or we could even discuss the fact that the North Pole has a lake now:

Where's Santa's runway?

Or perhaps the most compelling argument of all: every major insurance company believes in climate change. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of that fact - think of it this way: if a single insurance company decided that they didn't believe in climate change and lowered their prices to undercut the rest, they would make a killing.  And yet every single major insurance company has weighed the risks, and found this idea too risky.

But I think there's more to this problem than science, and besides: there are much smarter people than me (they're called scientists) debating that side of the issue (try googling "climate change peer reviewed studies" sometime).

So I want to make an argument as to why it is not Biblical to deny climate change.  And the argument is really quite simple - so simple that it's baffling that so many people can't see through the rhetoric defending the other side.  The argument is: cause and effect.  Or, to put it in Biblical terms: sowing and reaping.  Galatians 6:7 says that "a man reaps what he sows", and Job 4:8 says that "those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it."  The prophet Hosea says that "they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind" (Hos. 8:7) and later on speaks of planting wickedness and reaping evil (Hos. 10:13).  And Jesus speaks in Matthew 7:15-20 of knowing a false prophet by their fruits - all throughout the Bible the theme of cause and effect are present!  

So when I approach the debate about climate change and face those who are determined to prove that climate change is made up, the astoundingly simple question which must be raised is: does it matter?  No really - does it even matter?  If climate change is all a made up thing, well then: what would be the worst case scenario if we were to trust those who claim it is a real thing?  The end goal of proving it is real is to demonstrate that we should stop sowing filth into the air.  In what universe is that bad?  At the very least I'd think we'd want to avoid having to wear masks when we go outside into the orange smog like they have in China:

But then again, why is it so incomprehensible that maybe...just maybe...maybe if we sow a bunch of filth into the air, there might be consequences?  Maybe Hurricane Sandy wasn't God punishing those secular liberals - maybe it was reaping what we've sown?  Maybe all that filth we put into the atmosphere is coming back to bite us - is that really such an outlandish idea?

In Luke 16:1-15, Jesus tells a parable about a shrewd manager.  And in this parable, he makes a statement that I find very interesting.  He says in verse 12:
And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
The reason I find this statement to be interesting becomes apparent when you consider whose property the earth is - as Psalm 24:1 says:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
I think we need to start thinking about what it means to treat the earth as if it didn't belong to us, but was on loan from God.  How would you treat a lavish home that a very rich and powerful person loaned you to live in?  And if you trashed it, how would you expect this person to respond when they returned? Revelations 11:18 says:
The nations were angry,
    and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
    and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
    both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth. [emphasis mine]
The final thing I would like you to consider is why someone would deny that climate change is happening, even in the face of overwhelming scientific proof.  And the answer is really quite simple: $.  We are so addicted to profit in our modern society that even the minor inconvenience of investing in cleaner energy is treated as a threat of epic proportions.  We are told that switching to natural energy cannot be done, but I know some young geniuses who would disagree.

I Timothy 6:10 says:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
So when you consider that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and is likely man-made, it then becomes interesting to question who the other 3% are, and then to apply the principle of I Timothy 6:10 to the answer you find.  It is the love of money which is the cause of most pollution in the world.  It is the love of money which resists implementation of technology that would reduce this pollution.  It is the love of money that is the only thing preventing us from working towards making this a cleaner world, filled with more life.

Romans 8:19-22 says:
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
If creation is waiting for the children of God to be revealed, do you think that the children of God would be the type of people who would carelessly destroy creation?  And if the creation is to be "liberated from its bondage to decay", do you think that means that the children of God will carelessly trample over it with irresponsible behavior?

I doubt it.  Rather, I think that if we are to be children of God, then we ought to take up the business of the Father - cultivating and caring for life.  If we are to make our lives a statement of the Lord's Prayer and pray "Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven", then we should be seeking to incarnate a kingdom where there is abundance of life, clean air, clean water, and no shortage of food for anyone.

After God created man in His image - male and female - he commanded us in Genesis 1:28 to "fill the earth and subdue it."  Do you think He'd want us to subdue the earth our way, or His way?  Do you think He'd want us to selfishly consume and destroy everything He made, or to be wise stewards of His creation and manage it in such a way that it brings forth life abundantly?

So what do we do?  What can we do?  That's the other side of this debate - when you're not trying to convince someone that climate change is actually a thing, you're butting up against a cynical attitude that says that there's just nothing we possibly can do - might as well give up.  This is also a lie coming from the powers that have trained us to think this way.  We need to climb up out of this cynicism.  One of my favorite quotes on cynicism comes from Stephen Colbert, in a rare, out of character serious moment:
Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. "Yes" is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.
If we could just stop making excuses, and as a collective start looking for each little thing we can do, I think we'd be surprised at how much we can accomplish together.  The American lifestyle involves so much waste!  Do we really need two of everything?  Do we really need to replace things as often as we do?  Do we really need to have so many lights on in our houses?  Could we take a break from the internet/TV and take a walk outside every once in a while?  Could we start recycling?  Could we bike to locations occasionally instead of driving?  Maybe we should stop voting for people who deny science?  When we run out of an item, do we really need to run to the store today, or could we wait until the next trip and get the item along with our usual shopping?  Do our vehicles really need to be the largest thing on the lot?  Don't let cynicism paralyze you!  Don't let those in power convince you that because you don't have the power, you can't do anything - just take a step!  Look for every little thing you can to make this world a better place and take one step at a time!


  1. I just met your blog and I like it a lot.
    Said that I would like to offer myself as a sacrifice victim, so you no longer have to argue with the the straw man. I'm a very skeptic of this "Global Warming" thing and I like to clarify some points

    First, All evidence points that earth climate is getting warmer. No doubt about it. No one with a minimum scientific criteria and minimal data will deny this fact.
    Evidence points that this process started 15000 years ago. Move evidence points out that earth goes under 100-200 thousands years length cycles of warming and cooling, having 4 or 5 mayors glaciation peaks. There are lot of theories trying to explain this, but no one can be considered as undoubtedly true or set on stone.

    So when I say that I'm skeptic of the "Global Warming" I mean skeptic of a certain ideological group, based on ecological and pseudo-scientific argument, but mainly trying to push certain "agenda" on our throats.

    The "Global Warming" advocates make severals affirmations , and many of them do not have scientific base
    1- the Earth is getting warmer (true, undeniable)
    2- Human activity had accelerated the process ( not enough evidence )
    3- We have the power to revert it (most likely impossible)
    4- By revert meaning preserve current Earth climate status ( wrong, ridiculously wrong)

    (2) this is controversial. There are several scientific methods to gather data and show a correlation. Technically, many of the methods are objectionable by one reason or another, but anyway, that doesn't matter. All current demonstration are simply based on establish correlation between facts. But correlation does not imply causality.
    As simple example of what I'm saying, there is a pretty good correlation between the number of Pirates and the Global Warming. The less pirates the warmer the earth gets. There is correlation in the data. Is there causality?

    (3) Without established causality there is no way to control the climate. We can take measures, like increase the number of pirates, and nothing will change.

    (4) And let's say we have the power to control or influence the climate: who did decided this is the 'best' of the climate states? The climate had been cycling for millions of years -we don't know why- We don't know the implications of stopping this process.

    Does my objections make sense?
    Ah, and by the way the argument that "97% of scientific community agree" is B.S.
    The 99% of the scientific community agreed that Madam Curie was crazy, 98% of scientific community was convinced that traveling more that 40 mph will cause death by suffocation... and so on. In regards scientific opinion the 100% means a clear thing and 99%, 97%, 50%, 2% means all the same.

    1. I really don't want to get into a scientific debate - that's honestly not my strong suit. In this post, I'm really trying to open up the discussion from an appeal to the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping. I would encourage you to do some research into the science - read some peer-reviewed articles on the topic. For a real quick and easy way of understanding how sowing and reaping applies to climate change, I'd youtube Bill Nye's climate change video.

      Two things I'd like to point out:
      You said that climate change started 15000 years ago. I'd counter by pointing out that the warming trends have gone up dramatically within the past couple decades.

      You also seem to take issue with the fact that I use the 97% statistic. I do not think it is wise to ignore that. I do realize that science has changed its mind many times throughout history, but in this case I'd also challenge you to take a look at the history in this particular case to see which way the pendulum is swinging - I believe the opinion that climate change is real is solidifying rather than disintegrating.

    2. Also, thank you very much for reading - I do appreciate it!

    3. > But correlation does not imply causality.

      It does when the causal mechanisms are well understood.

      Some reading material for you:

  2. Can you point out to references that explain causal mechanism of glacial+warning cycles?
    Or some paper that demonstrate that climate models are.not chaotic and can be predicted with kown accuracy for periods of thousands of years?