Why Us Religious Folks Should Care About the Environment

Today is Blog Action Day. Bloggers all over the place are posting on the subject of the environment. All of my professional blogs address the environment. And here on my personal blog, I thought I’d talk about something that reallly bothers me about how some religious folks view the environment.

One of the things I have heard recently from Mormons and a few others is that it doesn’t matter what we do with the Earth because Jesus will just make it right at the advent of the Second Coming. Maybe this fits into religious beliefs where you don’t have to do anything but say you believe, but the LDS religion teaches something a little bit different.

One thing Mormons believe is that we have to do something in order to be “saved.” The grace of Christ is necessary. Humans could never in eternity “work their way into heaven” on their own. Grace from Jesus is definitely a factor that every human needs. However, I’ve noticed that Jesus doesn’t do for us what we can do for ourselves.

There are plenty of things in this life that Jesus could fix, but He generally allows us to do these things (like performing charity for others, paying tithes, etc.) so that we learn and grow. This includes taking care of the environment. Sure, He could fix it, but I bet that he has us spend part of the time after He arrives in the Second Coming cleaning up the mess we made of the Earth He created for us.

I don’t think that He is going to be happy that we took the “it doesn’t matter; he’ll fix it” attitude, either. We’re supposed to take care of the Earth, not rape it. When there are viable alternatives to what we are doing, when we know that what we are doing hurts Earth, we aren’t being very good stewards if we continue on that path. We now know what fossil fuels do. How dangerous they are to health (through pollution), workers (through mine collapses and oil rig explosions) and the planet. “He’ll fix it when he comes” sounds a lot like “planned repentance” to me.

Besides, who knows when that will be? Is it moral to hand our mess down to our children and ruin the world for their children? And even if we wait until He tells us to clean the mess up during the Second Coming, last I checked it is an “unwise and slothful servant” that has to be commanded in all things. We should be doing it right now. We should be showing gratitude for an Earth created for us by doing what we can to reverse the damage and become truly good stewards.

For your reading enjoyment:

Our Deteriorating Environment (from the Ensign)

What It Means to Be Green (from the New Era).

Preserving God’s Creations (from the Liahona)

Ecology, Pollution and Consumerism (from the Ensign)

Using Earth’s Resources Well (from the Ensign)

Earth – A Gift of Gladness (from the Ensign)

Improving Our Environment (from the Ensign)

2 Responses to Why Us Religious Folks Should Care About the Environment

  1. Great post, and thanks for the links to the articles. This is such a strange issue in religion, most everyone in the Christian world seems to be against environmentalism and I was not really sure why. I agree the argument is a weak one and if you applied the same argument to other principals in Mormonism it would look pretty silly, such as “I don’t need to read my scriptures, Christ will just give me all the knowledge I need.” No one would use that argument in regards to another person, “I can be rude to that person, hurt them, and even kill them, it won’t matter Christ will resurrect them and make things better when he comes again.”

    In religion, but outside of Mormonism; Richard Cizik is a Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, a very very conservative organization. Clizik has been branded a heretic, threatened, and had his job called for by many of his associates. Why? It is not because he is pro abortion(which he is not) not because he is pro gay marriage(which he is not); it is because he is pro environment. He has spoken out on the need to be stewards of the Earth, and has tried to influence legislation to pro environment. Because he is concerned about the environment this is what has happened to him.

    Earlier this year, dozens of prominent evangelical leaders criticized the National Association of Evangelicals’ vice president, the Rev. Richard Cizik, for his global warming activism.

    These leaders, which included conservative ministry leaders Dr. James Dobson and Gary Bauer, criticized Cizik’s green activism for stealing the spotlight from what they deemed as more important issues – such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.” In a letter to the NAE board, the leaders called the board to either stop Cizik from speaking about global warming or for his forced resignation.

    So I guess there you have it, being an environmentalists is worse them being an abortionist or a same-sex marriager. Many people in the Mormon religion follow closely to these heavy conservative groups; so will environmentalism become a social sin in Mormonism the same way being a democrat has become?
    Q&A with Rev. Cizik.
    Christian Post article.

  2. Loved the post!
    To an extent the “let it be, It’ll get fixed.” people are technically right. Earth will be restored to it’s paradisiacal glory.
    That being said, of course we need to take care of this planet and live as healthy as we can. Is that not the backbone to the WoW? Are we not taught to live in moderation, and to beautify the earth (along those lines…)?
    On a somewhat related issue. It facinates me to see how through time we’ve come from living in harmony with the planet (way back), yet had much less knowledge. Then hits the industrial age, and our knowledge grows exponentially as a race, but we also become dependant on fossil fuels. Here’s the cool part…now we are still gaining in our knowledge exponentially, and this knowledge is allow us to learn how to live in harmony with the Earth with implementing so much of this newer highest technology that’s coming.
    Like the Industrial Age was a mear stepping block to get us to a point where we are nearer to godliness in our abilities and knowledge.
    When you step back and see the whole picture. Eternal Progression is an amazing thing, how it’s happening without most of the world even realizing it. Instead of bulky metal monitors, we now have fuild liquid monitors that hardly consume power that you can fold. (small example)
    That being said, I do not buy into this we’re killing the Earth with global warming. We need to live cleaner and smarter, because it’s healthier and better, not jsut because the Earth will heat to the point where we cannot live.
    Earth has always had periods of heating up and cooling down. It’s naturally heating now, and given time, it will cool again. (notice the increase of ice on the back side of the “melting” arctic shelf. but no one is talking about that.)

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