Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Al Gore, Global Warming and Christianity

I read this article yesterday and found it indicative of how far Christianity (at least in the United States) is moving away from the Bible and immersing itself unnecessarily in scientific politics.

Al Gore's Global Warming Rant via Christian Post

Christians the world over - including myself - often complain about how the world gives us an unfair rap. We're laughed at for not accepting Darwinism at face value (even though there is no actual proof of his theory as I ably pointed out to my High School Biology teacher, much to her speechless consternation); for believing that there will be an end to this world (even though physical evidence supports our spiritual beliefs); for some modern variations to the Gospel where material wealth is obsessed over and seen as something to be gained on earth (even though the Bible doesn't encourage that tenet).

Moreso than other religions, Christianity is the subject for many a late-night TV gag reel or caricature on "contemporary" shows like Family Guy and the like. So perhaps, you can understand why Christians sometimes have an in-built defense mechanism.

Sometimes, however, we Christians don't make things easy for ourselves. I recently came across this article depicting Al Gore's (latest) rant on global warming and his vitriolic words towards those who don't believe that the world is in imminent danger. I have no problem with that. My issue begins from about halfway into the article breaks down the argument over climate change into a Christian versus Others debate.

I understand that it is the "Christian Post" and they have to try to slant everything (do they really?), but what does the viewpoint of Christians on global warming have to do with Al Gore's rants? Surely, Al Gore wasn't ranting against Christians - he's a confessing Protestant on paper - but against scientists and special-interest groups, which are more likely corporate than religious.

By bringing the argument down to religion, the paper effectively strikes a blow at its apparent position on the topic. Reducing an argument that has significant scientific weight on both sides of the debate to one that supposedly juxtaposes religion with modernity smacks of the kind of silliness that has seen liberalism in the United States turned by the right-wing media (often claiming Christian antecedents) into a haven for druggies, communists and the sexually immoral. Not remembering that there is an element of liberalism that would naturally appeal to Christians - the teachings of Christ on love for one's neighbor, on being peace-loving, on sharing with the poor. Not to mention that the right-wing features in many cases, greedy, racist and judgmental people.

It's the same in the debate over global warming. Many missionaries and people of faith have seen the effect of the earth's warming on indigenous populations the world over and have led the charge for something to be done. In the same regard, many atheist sociologists/anthropologists have denounced further action, saying that the world is just balancing itself, i.e. going through another phase of evolution and change as it always has for millions of years.

In their haste to crucify all progressive theories as being counter to religion, organizations like the Christian Post and the Christian Science Monitor (who I used to be a fan of) are doing more harm to Christianity than the very theories they despise. As long as they continue to present Chrisitianity as a bastion of rigid viewpoints and one-track minded individuals, Christians will continue to get a bad rap and be hindered in their efforts to present Christ's gospel to an increasingly cynical world.

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