Congressman Tim Walberg, a Republican from Michigan, told a town hall meeting last week that God will “take care” of climate change if and when it becomes a “real problem.” He explained his position this way:
“Why do I believe that? Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us,” he said. “And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, He can take care of it.”
Rachel Evans calls herself a Christian writer. Once a part of the evangelical community, she attended Bryan College, an evangelical school in Dayton, Tennessee. That’s where she says she was taught to distrust information coming from the scientific or media elite because these sources did not hold a Christian worldview.
“It was presented as a cohesive worldview that you could maintain if you studied the Bible,” she tells the New York Times. “Part of that was that climate change isn’t real, that evolution is a myth made up by scientists who hate God, and capitalism is God’s ideal for society.”
A worldview is all well and good. As Malcolm Gladwell tells us in Blink!, we need to have some belief structures embedded into our psyches to avoid being overwhelmed by the need to evaluate each and every situation that happens to us every day. Red means stop; green means go. There are some things we don’t need to think about.
However, the term “worldview” can be an excuse for irrational thinking. The Germans had a worldview when they deemed it appropriate to expropriate land from their neighbors. The Japanese had a worldview when they decided to declare the Emperor a deity. ISIS has a worldview, although not a very humanitarian one. A worldview should be subject to critical examination, not accepted without question.
Walberg’s position is like the man trapped by rising flood waters. To escape, he climbs up on the roof of his house. A person in a canoe comes by and offers to carry him to safety. “No, thank you,” the man says. “I am a devoutly religious person and I believe God will save me if it is His plan to do so.”
Later, a person in rowboat comes by and offers to carry him to safety. “No, thank you,” the man says. “I am a devoutly religious person and I believe God will save me if it is His plan to do so.” Later still, the flood waters have risen to the point where they have almost completely enveloped the man’s roof. He is hanging on for dear life to the chimney when a helicopter appears. The pilot offers to lower a rope and carry the man to safety.
“No, thank you,” the man says. “I am a devoutly religious person and I believe God will save me if it is His plan to do so.” Ten minutes later, the waters rise higher and the man drowns. At the Pearly Gates, the man finally comes face to face with God.
“Why did you let me drown?” he demands angrily. “I spent my entire life believing in you and you abandoned me in my hour of need.” Nonplussed, God replies, “But sir, I tried three times to save you. I sent you a canoe, a rowboat, and a helicopter. What more did you expect me to do?”
It’s all well and good to believe God will intervene when absolutely necessary, but what if, at the end of all this, He says to mankind, “I made the oceans rise. I made the Arctic ice sheet melt. I sent superstorms to warn you. What more did you expect me to do?”
The man who wears a belt and suspenders just to make sure his pants will stay up may have something to teach us. Faith is fine, but using a dose of common sense could be a vital part of preserving the human species as well.
Source: Think Progress