Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Green Religion

My dad pointed me to an article in the newest Carlsbad Magazine by Tim Wrisley, entitled "Green Revolution." Check out this paragraph:
"I have heard some people actually say that global warming is a myth. These must be the same people that told Columbus that the earth is flat, the Internet was just a fad, or leave your 401(k) alone, it will be fine. The point is, you simply have to look around and see that we are starting to overstay our welcome on the big, blue marble. Our landlord is going to ask us to leave soon if we don't change some our nasty habits."
Listen to his tone. Such devotion to the cause! Such derision for the unbelievers. "Some people actually say . . . probably the same people who thought the earth was flat . . . " So all these guys are flat-earthers too, right? This isn't a rational position, it's a religious one. He has strong faith, and anyone who questions his religion must be a heretic.

While we're on the subject, I can't be the only one sick of seeing the "Green" label pasted around absolutely everywhere. It has replaced "Low Carb" as the most obvious and annoying marketing trend. Greenists need their own Charlie Brown character to bemoan the commercialization of Earth Day. Is nothing sacred? They've robbed a spiritual holiday of its true significance. Instead of bringing glory and honor to Mother Earth they're just trying to sell you their product by telling you on the package that they recycle all of their employees' solid waste.

I do believe we (as Christians) should be good stewards of our resources. I like recycling (when I'm able), I don't like pollution, I like decreasing waste, I like all the new more efficient cars and appliances and other technology we're developing.

However, I don't attach a spiritual significance to these things. Taking in my cans isn't a sacrament. For a materialist, it makes sense that being Green is the equivalent of being holy. If there's nothing to life but particles, then protecting particles is the highest good one can aspire to. (Side-note: in what strikes me as eerily similar to naive church people over-reacting to the perceived dangers of Harry Potter, I see greenies over-reacting to the slightest perceived threat to "Mother Earth.")

But for a Christian, the material world isn't all there is. Recycling isn't the highest Good. We know that souls are more valuable than renewable energy and organic lice-infested tomatoes. So I get a little worried when I see Christians following the latest cultural trend with almost religious fervor. Remember, guys, we shouldn't look to culture to inform our values. We look to God. We look to His Word. It's a good thing to have light bulbs that use less energy, it's great to recycle, and I love the idea of more efficient cars (hybrid, electric, running on Dimetap, whatever). Efficiency and decreased waste are awesome and practical! But they aren't the highest good, and falling in lock-step with a cultural trend is dangerous, especially when the culture pushing the trend has a materialist worldview with different values at its core.

(I found the Green equivalent of a Christian comic: Betty & Veronica go Green! Read the description. Sounds more painful than any ham-fisted evange-comic I've ever read.)


jeri said...

The people with attitudes bother me, but pretty much nothing else does.

I didn't even mind last year when NBC inserted environmental references in its week of television shows (House did this week too). It made for a funny episode of 30 Rock.

I like seeing all the environmental products and things around because I might not notice or think about them otherwise. So when I'm in the store, and there's green cleaner or Pine-Sol, I grab the green cleaner, because it costs the same and accomplishes the same thing.

Word to the wise, though, the recycled towels are like mopping up your kitchen messes with printer paper!

So I agree with your overall point but felt like rambling. :)

Ryan said...

Ramble away!

I also tend to be skeptical of the Green version of products.

"Really? Is it really green? Or am I being duped because I have no way of knowing?"

Matt said...

I agree with your doubt as well Ryan. I find it similar to the trans fat nonsense. For a product to have the label as '0 trans fat', it can still contain some trans fat...just less than a certian amount. Not sure when the definition of 'none' became 'not having any, except for the times it has very little' but whatever.

For the record, this reply is green. I plan to purchase the carbon offsets available in order to offset the impact me breathing while typing has had on the planet. Feel free to recycle this post by either using words that I used, or simply posting it as a reply to any other post.

Ryan said...

You just left a carbon footprint. On my face.