Today is Earth Day. I know this because, as a father of three children, various television channels have been screaming “Earth Day is Thursday!” at my family for a week now. As I write this, these same channels are now spewing forth propaganda into living rooms across the U.S., as opposed to the stuff that my generation grew up with (and wouldn’t have a prayer of getting produced in today’s zealously PC environment):
Now, let me be very clear, I have nothing against living in harmony with our environment. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that we should be living up to our roles as the royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9) and take care of God’s creation (Gen 1:26). However, I do have a problem when we actively take God out of the equation. Though we are less than a month after Pascha (Easter) — and the Orthodox are still in the midst of celebrating the Resurrection — I have heard more about Earth Day in the last 24 hours than I have about the Risen Lord in the past month. This is idolatry.
In 2 Chronicles (33:7-8) we see King Manasseh become an idolater:
He put a sculpted image, an idol which he had had made, inside the Temple of which God had said to David and his son Solomon, ‘In this Temple and in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I shall put my name for ever.
In context of Christ, the Temple is now Humanity, because God now resides in us — both the Holy Spirit when we are chrismated, and in the person of Christ who is perfect God and perfect man. Thus, when we bring into our lives anything that keeps us from God or that we make more important than God, we have made it into an idol. St. Paul confirms this logic in Colossians (3:4-5):
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Environmentalist leaders, such as Al Gore and James Cameron have taken to calling those who question man-made global warming “deniers.” This kind of language recalls the lapsed — those Christians who, in the face of martyrdom at the hand of Roman authorities, denied Christ by sacrificing to the image of the Roman Emperor. Thus, we have replaced Christ with environmentalism, global warming and the earth itself.
Charging forward into a “green” lifestyle sans God, and without a careful examination of all the consequences, can only lead to disaster. Take the Toyota Prius, for example. It is one of the biggest users of rare earth metals of any object in the world. If every vehicle in the world became a hybrid or electric, we would be trading one limited resource (petroleum) for another more scarce resource. What are the long term environmental consequences? Those metals have to be extracted from the earth, just as petroleum does. What impact does this type of mining have? We still need to produce efficient electricity to run these vehicles — where does it come from? Are we asking these kinds of questions, or are we bowing down to the idol of environmentalism?
As Christians, we should be taking care of the garden — co-creating with God and sanctifying His creation. We also need to be prophets, warning the world that turning our back on God, as Adam and Eve did, has dire consequences.