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9 Reasons Christians Are Afraid of Those Wacko Environmentalists

In the Christian worldview of creation care we see that mountains, rivers, trees, the animals, and lakes are all meant to show us who God is, reveal his grandeur, and should inspire worship within us. One of my favourite dead theologians, Martin Luther, said it this way: “God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”

Creation is meant to point us to Creator.

Unfortunately, instead of creation pointing Christians to Creator it has led many of us to point fingers at those who don’t believe what we believe. Those we point fingers at, though very often hostile to the Gospel, have taken up the cause of environmental stewardship where Christians haven’t.

So why are Christians so afraid of those wacko-left-wing-hippie-environmentalists?

A version of this short list was originally drafted for a conference I spoke at on environmental stewardship. Conference organizers asked me to help attendees figure out how to connect with Christians. A problem that environmental groups are having is in trying to connect with and engage with Christians and churches. Funny, because usually when I speak it is to Christians and churches helping them learn how to connect with those scary people outside of the church. Anyhow, I began by explaining why Christians are so afraid to connect.

  1. Theological Integrity – There seems to be a fear that if Christians spend too much time in creation care they will somehow become pantheist new-agers. In Bible-Belt regions in particular, where Christianity seems to be quite orthodox, wrong belief or having the appearance of wrong belief could ostracize you.
  2. Hedonism – For some in the Christian community, things that bring joy are looked on with suspicion. I know, bizarre. In case you didn’t know, Christian, one of the 7 R’s of creation care is to enjoy creation.
  3. One might have to give up deodorant, fashion sense, and be otherwise inconvenienced to fit in with those radical enviro-nuts.
  4. What would happen if, gasp, we were to lose ground in the creation-evolution debate?
  5. Some are genuinely afraid that they might not be able to adequately defend the view of Creator God creating creation.
  6. It seems like a waste of time, after all, we have souls to save.
  7. Politically, environmental concern tends to lean left while Christian morality concerns tends to lean right.
  8. Some are afraid to be lumped in with extremists and agendas that are overstated. Some environmental groups can be characterized as one-issue voters that fail to see the larger picture.
  9. There is at least one highly clouted Christian organization that tends to defer judgement on environmental degradation until “scientific proof is conclusive.” I bet they wouldn’t apply the same criteria to their faith, would they? What is the scientific proof for Creator? Well, that’s not conclusive either so why not, in the spirit of conservancy, we take a conservative attitude to this “alarmist science?” Just a thought.

QUESTION: Why are you or your church afraid to partner with environmental groups?

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2 Responses to “9 Reasons Christians Are Afraid of Those Wacko Environmentalists”

  1. erica #

    I am shocked by this!! is this true?? I guess it is, in your experience as a pastor, or you wouldn’t have written about it.
    Anyway, I have many, shall we say, “granola”(1) friends and when environment comes up, religion never gets discussed. I don’t think people “out there” connect the two at all. I should like to think Christians are concerned about preserving God’s world and i support many environmental orgs.
    However, mixing in with wacky environments will always be a challenge for the Christians- any kind of wacky environment. This is especially true in the art world as well. I did my Visual Art degree for 4 years at SFU and I can tell you, I was definitely the lone follower of “our one true God,” aside from the Sikh kid next to me. I was not about to speak up about it lest be lumped in with those Campus Crusaders. In fact, many arty types center their art on how much they HATE the church- especially Catholocism. Honestly, I didn’t feel confident enough in my own beliefs to be able to defend myself for the next 4 years so i kept quiet.
    As a pastor, I think you need to try to get the people out of the church! I am convinced it’s the Christians who grew up in solid Christian homes that are mostly reluctant to get out there. Even in the friendly church we all know and love, I notice a lot of people staying within it in all their circles.Their kids in Christian private school down the road, friends go to the same church, dance studios that are run by pastor’s kids… etc. Nothing wrong with sheltering your kids at young ages but I would hope eventually, the kids will be pushed to venture out. Otherwise we run the risk of them viewing the non church goers as non-equals. Afterall, it’s rare a non-Christian would just walk into a church without knowing anyone there, right?
    All that being said, it goes both ways. I don’t see granolas asking to come and hear what the church has to say, either! They are as quick to jump on organized religion as we are on New Age theory. and not all granolas are New Agers, either. The important thing is to not judge at all and just try to love. Love the environment and the people in it.

    (1) friends like it when I call them granola but you should always ask first if you’re thinking about name-calling.

    January 7, 2012 at 10:10 am Reply


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