Friday, December 30, 2011

Religious Views, World Views & Environmental Issues

I guess in time, I will need to get back to the Subject I was Previously Focused on, which is Libertarianism, yet since I have such a diverse Audience, something New has come up in the Mean Time.

Since our Spiritual Beliefs have an Effect on how we View our World, this can not help but to have an Effect on our Politics.  Many Environmentalists are overly Zealous in their Cause Primarily because they have a Very Different View of the Relationship between God, Man and Nature then Christians do.

First, I will Explain the Christian View on God, Man and Nature and then I will be Explaining the Political Implications.  Please Bear with me as I Explain a Religious Idea, for I will not be Explaining why this Idea is also a Political One until the End.  For now, let me just say that we all have World Views and that the Christians are not the Only Ones who have such World Views.

Here is the Christian View on how God Feels about His Own Creation...

"And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.'" (Genesis 1:26, KJV)

According to the Bible, the Main Difference between Animals and Man is in the Fact that unlike the Animals, Man is Made in God's Image and this is the Reason why man has been Given dominion over the rest of God's Creation.  There are some who have Reacted Negatively to this Verse because they Feel that it Gives us License to Ravish and Abuse the Earth, yet I do not at all believe that this was God's Intent.

In the Comment section of another Blog, I recently said this...

"Certainly Man is expected to Treat God's Creation with at least some level of Respect and not Ravish her until she is Totally Barren and Empty of her ability to Sustain Life.  Such a Level of Disrespect should not even be given to that which we have been Given Dominion Over.  Certainly we should be Better Stewards of that which God has Entrusted to us."

The Very Fact that Man has the Power to be so Destructive in Relation to Nature is Evidence of the Dominion that he has been Given, yet just because we are the Ones who have the Dominion does not Mean that we have the Right to Ravish and Trample on that which has been Entrusted to our care.

Here is another Verse that Shows that God does indeed Value His Creation...

"26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  28) And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;  29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  31) Therefore take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?'  or, 'What shall we drink?'  or, 'Wherewithal shall we be clothed?'  32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:26-33, KJV)

And also...

"29) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?  and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." (Matthew 10:29, KJV)

If God did not Value His Creation, He would not take so much Care to Nourish her and "Cloth" her, yet...

"30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31) Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:30-31, KJV)

So we are Clearly the Favored of God's Creation and are most Precious to God.  Here are a few more Verses...

"35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35, KJV)

This Exact Statement is also Repeated in Mark 13:31 & Luke 21:33.  Also see II Peter 3:10, which Adds more Detail.

Which Leads us to the Next Thought...

"18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Corinthians 4:18, KJV)

To Keep this in Balance, I must add that somehow there are those who have Gotten the Impression that Christians require that we "Renounce this natural world".  The Word "Renounce", though, is a Little too Strong, for this Implies Abandoning and Refusing to Acknowledge.  Even God does not do that.  Instead He "Feeds" and "Cloths" His Creation.  We are just not Supposed to Value it above other Things that are Spiritual in Nature.  It is more of a Priority thing, than a "Renoucing" thing.

On the Other Hand, if we Value Nature so much, so as to View it as God and thus, Worship it, then we end up Renouncing God Instead.

The Last Couple of Verses that I want to share may come across as Confrontive to those who love Nature, yet do not Acknowledge the Creator, yet without these Last Verses, the Discussion of the Biblical View on the Issue is not Complete.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork."  (Psalm 19:1, KJV) 

"19) Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.  20) For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:19-20, KJV)


"25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.  Amen." (Romans 1:25, KJV)

The First two of these verses talks about how there is Evidence of God in His Creation and the Second describes the Worship of the Creation as is Viewed in Christianity as a Form of Idolatry, just as the Bible also says...

"3) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3, KJV)

Ok, now for the Political; Like Usual, it all comes down to Balance.  Protecting the Environment is Important, but not at the Expense of the Livelihood of Man.  Plants and Animals are Important, but not more Important than Man.

By now, you may be saying that we should Keep our "Religious Views" out of Politics, yet in this case it is not Possible to entirely Remove our "World View" from our Political Views.  Either you Believe that Man and Nature are Totally Equal, or you do not.  There are no other Options, and to Believe that Man is not Created in God's Image and is nothing other then another Animal is no less a Spiritual Opinion, than to believe that Man is Created in God's Image. 

There is an Inequality in this Country based on the Fact that Atheism is not Viewed as a Religious Idea, yet how can the Belief that there is no God not be a Belief about the Nature of God?  So you see, Atheism is a Religious Opinion as well because it is an Opinion about God.  Quite Apart from that, though, there are Religions that Teach the Belief that Animals are equal to People because of the Reincarnation Cycle, thus Making this a Religious Idea.

No matter how you turn this Issue, the Underlying Factor that Drives our Environmental Politics is Religious in Nature and to Deny this Only Confuses the Issue.

As you can see, the Christian View of the Relationship Between Man and Nature is quite Different than the View held by Buddists and Hindus, yet again we need to Understand this is Accordance to Balance, for it is not Correct to Assume that Christians do not Value Nature, cause we do and we are Required of God to be good Stewards of that which He has Entrusted to us.

Consider this, for Example, if a Dog Owner Trusts someone to care for their Dog, can the one who has been given the Responsibility for the Dog Neglect to take care of the dog?  No One Argues against the Idea that People are the "Pack Leaders" and not the Dogs, yet if you Neglect to meet the Needs of that which you are in Charge of, you are Behaving Irresponsibly.

Things need to be kept in Balance, though, for Nature does not Rule over Man, and therefore, what Man Needs in order to Exist, should not be Disregarded when Making Environmental Decisions.  This is Why Economy and Jobs is just as Important as the Environment and Why things must be kept in Balance when making these Decisions.

Interestingly, the Comment Section has Taken Off more in the Direction of a Validity of Scripture Discussion, rather then a Discussion about Environmental Issues.


radar said...

Well said! Here I just finished doing a blog on the four faces of Atheism...wish I had thought that phrase up before I used it.

Yes, we were intended to be in charge of the world and all of the living creatures thereupon and you use the Bible very well in this post!

Happy New Year!

Lista said...

Well, Thank You, Radar. Long Time no See or Hear. Thanks for Dropping by.

BB-Idaho said...

Matt. 1.29 got me interested in
the value of a 'farthing'. We understand from the verse's context that sparrows are cheap,
but being the curious type, I
delved a wee bit into historical
numismatics, particularly biblical times .
The farthing was
first issued in 1216 AD, so we will credit KJV for putting that
coin in Matthew's mouth after a millenium. It was cheap; two farthings to make a half penny. In Jesus' time, there
were small coins from various
sources, Greek/Roman/Hebrew/Herod
but other than 'widow's mite' (prutahs issued by the Hasmoneans) and the older Greek 'assarian'. 16
assarians equaled one Roman denarius.
While I prefer KJV and accept the anachronism, other versions
translate as 'penny' 'copper coin'
'a cent'..and one cool modern version as 'loose change'.
We can only imagine what coin Matthew actually penned; he was a former tax collecter with broad
familiarity of Hebrew currencies.

Lista said...

Would you Believe that that was Matthew 10:29. I just now Corrected it in the Post. I hope that there are not other Errors. I'll have to Double Check those References.

The Original Greek Word that was Translated "Farthering" is "Assarion" and I see you have Included the Definition of that in your Comment. You are Correct that King James Used a Word in his Translation that came from a Later Time. The "Penny" is not Actually the Correct Coin either. An "Assarion" is what Coin was Originally Described in the Greek Translation.

We can more then just Imagine what the Coin was. We Still have the Greek and Hebrew Texts and the Accuracy of what was said can still be Derived from them.

BB-Idaho said...

The Greek text seems more valid;
fragments of Matthew have been dated to about 100-150 AD. Apparently the Hebrew text was quite a bit later, translated by
Jewish rabbis in their counter
arguments with the Christians.
From a textual standpoint, there
are always questions concerning
translations. We depend quite a bit on early 'church fathers' like
Ireanius, Papius and Eusebius..and
there is some reason to believe that the original Matthew gospel
was written in Aramaic. I guess we could call that Hebrew, being a
similar semitic language.

Lista said...

For the Most Part, the Old Testament was Written in Hebrew and the New Testament was Written in Greek. Yes, there was also some Aramaic and those are the Absolute Earliest of the Translations. I Use the Strong Concordance, which Provides an Index of Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) Words. I Guess that a Serious Scholar will go back to the Absolute Earliest of the Texts, most of which are still Available for Study.

Lista said...

Since I Used Scripture in Order to Make my Point, this Appears to have Turned into a Validity of Scripture Discussion and all I can say is that I've been Told that the Bible Holds up Better to the Scrutiny of Historians who Study Literature better then any other Holy Book and that there have been several People who have Written Apologetics based on the fact that they Decided to become Christians, not because of Personal Experiences and Testimonies, but Because of Intense Skeptical Study. Two of my Favorites are Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel.

One Interesting Misconception is Worth Noting and that is that it is not True that Over Time Translations get more and more Separated from the Original Meaning of the Scriptures. Instead, Translations are Improving in their Accuracy as Older and Older Texts are being Discovered and Archeology is Revealing more and more about the Hebrew and Jewish Cultures of the Audience and the Authors.