Several months ago, my Facebook post was titled “Climate Change is a Faith and Gospel Issue.” I admit, that was written in the heat-of-the-moment as I was frustrated by our president-elect’s claim that human-caused climate change is a hoax, and he followed that up by picking Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scott Pruitt is a former state attorney general who was a leader in battles against policies of the EPA to reduce human-caused climate change. Some critical Facebook comments were raised by some of my fellow Christians that I should not label human-caused climate change as a Gospel or faith issue. Points well taken. Also, my use of the commonly-used number “97%” as the amount of scientists across the world who believe that climate change is largely human-caused was challenged, again, mostly by some of my fellow Christians. My references used to back up that number may have been too opinion- and politically-oriented. Thank-you for points well made.
I’ll use the following quote from my book, A Search for Common Ground: Let’s Talk (http://peacewithinreach.com/my-books/ ), to get at the two questions raised in the title of this post: “SiouxFallsScientists.com, (a sub-group of Sioux Falls Free Thinkers, many of whom are atheists) has placed messages on billboards (such as the picture in blue) about climate change because some in Sioux Falls either deny or are not concerned about climate change. Some Christians in Sioux Falls who are politically conservative they downplay the concern of climate change in part because it is often embraced by those who are politically liberal. Some believe the concerns of climate change are based on bad science, and that God’s sovereignty over the creation is being questioned. Others are protective of their independence so they do not want people telling them how to live, including how to take care of the environment. Some believe our world has far more natural resources than we can imagine. Since those resources are inexpensive, and they believe the atmosphere is too big to be harmed by humans, they do not think we should be so concerned about climate change. Overall, Christians are viewed by many as anti-climate, as against “green,” the major color of creation, even as they encourage worship of the Creator. That seems hypocritical to others, which is a problem Christians need to thoughtfully address.”
If you are a believer in God like me, and you take the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) seriously, I believe that is a problem that we must address. When we are viewed as hypocritical, whether or not it’s an accurate portrayal, it is a stumbling block, and an obstacle, to those who don’t believe in God. The same is true to many of our own children up to young adults who, as I have often heard from them, feel like many of their older-generation Christians who they are supposed to look up to as spiritual mentors are putting their heads in the sand on some critical faith issues, at least in their eyes. In essence, sounding more anti-Creation than the secular population is confusing and seemingly hypocritical to some of our own children. If that’s the case then no matter what, it’s our responsibility to present things in a way that makes us seem less hypocritical, (not saying you necessarily are).
Perhaps a number as high as 97% is easy to doubt, but as a Christian, I will say that based on a lot of reading across the spectrum of political papers and scientific papers, including an extremely long and dry scientific article referenced here–http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024, it is becoming increasingly clear that a majority of scientists, both non-Christians and Christians, agree that a big cause of climate change is human-caused. So, really, finally, what is the point, as a Christian who is called to be a steward (Genesis 2), to make light of such a thought…”that a big cause of climate change is human-caused?” Putting politics and skepticism aside, what are the Christian reasons for doubting, and perhaps slamming, that thought?
Here is a 3-minute video by Christian scientist/professor Katharine Hayhoe–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1eGJLqxxKQ&feature=youtu.be. She and her husband–an evangelical pastor– wrote a book on climate change. (If you do anything with this post, please at least watch that short 3-minute video. Thanks.)
If we see our own children, teens, and young adults joining causes like Young Evangelicals for Climate Action–http://www.yecaction.org/, may we be proud of them, even if we aren’t quite up with them on the science. To down-play or even mock that, or other modern day issues, around the family dinner table, might actually end up biting us in the long run as commissioned Christians (Matthew 28:18-20).
So, whatever the facts are, is climate change a gospel issue? That depends on whether or not you believe “gospel issue(s)” can include issues and things that either help or detract a person from embracing God as Savior and Lord. If a position that we take, or at least in what manner we take it, either helps point a person to God, or presents an obstacle for that person in seeing God, then I suppose it’s a gospel issue.