The Spectacle Blog

What Does the Bible Say About Global Warming?

Answer: Nothing, as theologian Cal Beisner explained on Tuesday at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute. 

By on 5.20.10 | 2:24PM

Answer: Nothing, as theologian Cal Beisner explained on Tuesday at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute. Jeff Poor of Newsbusters reports:

According to Beisner, the belief that fighting global warming was a component of helping the poor was specifically used by the Evangelical Environmental Network and endorsed by others to make this case.

"They jump quickly from, ‘We need to help the poor,' to ‘global warming is going to hurt the poor, therefore we need to fight global warming,'" Beisner said. "In 2006, a group - the Evangelical Environmental Network launched a new project called the Environmental Climate Initiative, which put out a statement, ‘Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.' And that statement was endorsed by 86 different leading evangelicals - presidents of the evangelical colleges, admission organizations. And I went down the list of endorsers. There was no list of authors of that. I later found out the main author was an ethics professor named David Gushee. When I debated him over that at this university, he told me before the debate, ‘You know when I was preparing for this debate, I found out the science was a whole more nuanced than I realized when I wrote the paper.' I thought, ‘David, you should have known that before you wrote.'"

A non-theologian (me) wrote about ECI for Spectator Online four years ago:

These "social Gospel" passages can hardly be construed as a legitimate case for the fight to reduce global warming. The first misinterpretation is the proper role of man in relation to the creation. Calls to "stewardship" in the Bible never have to do with caring for some pristine earth -- for its own sake or for God's. Instead God gave man "dominion" over the world and its creatures, for human consumption and use.

Of course, that doesn't mean you pollute willy-nilly. Dumping oil or chemicals where they can seep in someone's water supply certainly is unneighborly. But that has nothing to do with Biblical "earth" stewardship, and linking disputed negative global warming effects to proper social practices is misleading at best. If environmentally conscious Christians want to do something that will clearly and measurably help their poor neighbors, why don't they invest in waste removal in places like Port-au-Prince and Bangladesh instead?

We're still waiting for this band of misguided Jesus freaks (especially the Southern Baptist Co-opters) to get their priorities straight.

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