RE: Jerry Falwell -- global warming is "junk science"

From: Tjalle T Vandergraaf <>
Date: Tue Feb 14 2006 - 17:32:31 EST

I wonder, if denominations would speak on _theological_ issues, they would
even have the time or the resources to deal with environmental issues. What
I think usually happens is that a denomination will hop on the next
available bandwagon, with mainline denominations favouring liberal
bandwagons and more conservative denominations looking for conservative

Another problem I see with denominations getting involved in
"non-theological issues" is that they tend not to understand the robustness
of a theory or lack thereof (I cannot think, offhand, of a better way to put
this). Increased CO2 emissions and global warming is one example. Common
wisdom has it that there is a link but my guess is that atmospheric
scientists will acknowledge that there is still some uncertainty and that
other factors may play a role. For a denomination to take the link between
CO2 emission and global warming as "gospel truth," it may not recognize this
uncertainty or know to convey it.

The impact of a proposed change is often ignored as well. It's easy for a
denomination to advocate a change in lifestyle without considering how this
change will impact on society. I will cite the opposition by some
denominations to nuclear power as an example. If some denominations had
their wish, nuclear power plants would be shut down. However, other than
some vague hand waving, no alternatives to nuclear power plants are
presented other than to "reduce consumption."

When a denomination becomes identified with a particular non-theological
issue, and it turns out that the premise on which this issue was based is
wrong, where does that leave the integrity of that denomination and how will
its message of the Evangel then be received?

My experience with some denominations (and some clergy!) has been that
beating the environmental drum or the social drum is easier than to work on
theological issues. One thing that annoys me to no end is to go to church
and, instead of a sermon expounding God's Word, to get a lecture on the
environment or on some social issue from a non-expert.

Chuck Vandergraaf


A responsibility for churches that is even more fundamental than speaking
about ethical issues connected with the environment is speaking about
_theological_ issues: Our ethics should grow out of our theology. &
churches should deal with the task of environmmental theology whether or not

global warming is actually occurring & whether or not it (if real) is
anthropogenic. I.e., our environmental theologies ought not be just
superficial responses to the most recent scientific data but should be
explications of what the Christian faith implies about the natural world &
our place in, & responsibilities for, it.

But that shouldn't be left at the level of generalities. We also need to be

able to speak to specific real concerns. & when scientific evidence becomes

very strong then churches should be prepared to say "If X is true - as
scientific evidence presently indicates - then we should do Y & not Z."

Received on Tue Feb 14 17:34:17 2006

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