Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 22:28:07 EST

Which is to say that the type of evangelical leaders you describe (a) have a view of the "special place" of humanity in creation that is so special that it fails to take seriously the clear biblical witness that links us with the rest of creation, (b) don't see that part of our specialness is the human responsibility to care for creation for its own sake & (c) have so conflated their religious & their political views that they're no longer able to tell the difference.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: George Murphy
  Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:16 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

  I agree with you ,George, that environmental concern doesn't have to become a religious "ism" and is very much central to a Christian understanding of creation and vocation. At the same time, it doesn't take much digging to uncover the very anti-Christian worldview and ethics underlying some aspects of the contemporary environmental movement. IMHO, it is very hard, if not impossible, to make common cause with folks who hold the view, for example, that human beings are ethically equivalent to any other animal(ala Peter Singer), or that the earth is a quasi-sentient "Gaia" organism. I think this concern very much underlies the split within evangelicalism over global warming. One concern of the "Interfaith Alliance" group (the group of evangelical warming skeptics), I think, is that the evangelical leaders who accept global warming as a problem are somehow ceding ground to worldviews that fail to give humanity a special place in the created order. (Another major concern, of course, is a deep political suspicion of government regulation, and of international organizations in particular, which is probably way the skeptic group includes religious right figures such as James Dobson).

  On 2/21/07, George Murphy <> wrote:
    Yes, environmentalism can be a religion. So can money, sex, the American way of life & virtually anything else. So throw your money away, take a vow of celibacy & become the man/woman without a country.

    The fact that environmentalism can be a religion should not be countered by denying legitimate concerns about the environment but by showing how the calling to care for the natural world is properly understood within the context of Christian doctrines of creation & vocation. See, e.g., the environmental statements of churches such as the Presbyterian Church in the USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, & the Orthodox Church (the latter, of course, a real band of wild-eyed liberals!)

    I'm assuming of course that this concern about "environmentalism is a religion" is real & not a red herring, though I'm not so naive as to think that that's the case for all who raise this cry.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Jack
      To: Rich Blinne ;
      Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 8:41 PM
      Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address

      Arent you at all concerned that environmentalism, just like atheism, and materialsim, and any other numerous ism's, are a substitute for Christianity?

      You keep ignoring Holden's use of religious terminology. Why do you think Holden spoke in those terms? Was it just an unfortunate choice of words, or is he trying to encourage this to be a religion to his followers, and to himself? After all this was a scientific conference not a religious one.

      I am concerned about the use of religious rhetoric in a conference such as this. Everyone needs to fill their "God-shaped hole", and certainly environmental zealotry would fit that bill. While I am not opposed to faith/science discussions, I am concerned that Holden is subtly using this human need for religion to advance an agenda, and by doing so is leading people away from Christ. He may not be doing this, but I dont think that we should be endorsing his use of relgious rhetoric.

      Frankly I dont understand his point of tithing anyway. Shouldnt we be using well more than 10% of our talents towards the good of humanity?
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Rich Blinne
        Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:24 PM
        Subject: Re: [asa] AAAS President Keynote Address


        On 2/21/07, <> wrote:
          Rich, hang on a second. I still think you are missing
          Janice's point.

          Even though tithe literally means %10, it is clearly
          associated with religion, with churches, wouldnt you agree
          with that?

          Janice is pointing to Holdens use of this term as an
          example of what Crichton is calling Environmentalism.
          That is a zealous religion of defending the environment.

          This has nothing to do with Christianity and rationality.
          Crichton is trying to make the point that there are
          environmental scientists that are zealots, and have their
          judgement clouded. I dont agree with him, and you dont
          agree with him. But unfortunately, Holden's use of a term
          that has religious connotations, makes it appear that
          perhaps Crichton is correct. That is Janice's point. It
          has nothing to do with her faith, fideism, or anything of
          the sort.

        That's Janice's point but it is not Crichton's. Because environmental scientists can be religious zealots, you still have to take one more step in the argument and show how their judgment is clouded and why scientists should not devote their time for the benefit of humanity and why the use of religious rhetoric is bad particularly when science is supposedly atheistic. Crichton short-circuits that analysis by making ALL religious thinking suspect. Science, as defined by himself, of course, GOOD, religion, BAD. Then he only needs to show that there is a religious component and go straight to Q.E.D. Ironically, he gets to his conclusion by mis-labelling scientific thinking as religious and vice versa. Crichton is a dangerous ally for Janice and other Christian environmental skeptics to have because of this. His cure is worse than the disease. If Janice and others are concerned about the New Age influence in environmentalism -- and I am not saying that concern is illegitimate -- then she should join me in my original proposal to coopt the AAAS president's proposal. It should be Christians in science that (legitimately) tithe our talents for the (true) good of humanity.

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Received on Wed Feb 21 22:28:30 2007

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