On the Acton Institute’s PowerBlog, John Couretas has a good post (Got a feelin’ of Eco-Justice?) response to “the cascading daily disclosures of Climategate . . . global warming alarmist operating within the progressive/liberal precincts of churches and their activist organizations” have taken to dismissing science and playing ” the theology card!”
After reading what John had to say, I took a look at the original post (Snow and Climate Change) on the National Council of Churches site. Like John, I was struck by the writer’s contention that “our call to care for God’s Creation is not contingent on weather events or even on scientific proof. We are called as people of faith to live in relationship with all of God’s People and all of God’s Creation.”
It is certainly true that the human vocation “to care for God’s” is not “contingent on weather events or even scientific proof.” This is simply a statement of biblical faith. Humanity is called by God to be stewards of creation. But the policy question of how we are to address how human actions that have (or have not) “caused unbalance amidst that Creation” is necessarily a scientific as well as theological question.
I may have the intuition that my actions have harmed creation. But that intuition–even if it is true–needs to be tested and purified by rigorous scientific analysis.
The first thing that needs to be checked is whether or not human actions–my actions–have actually harmed the environment. This is not a question that theology as such can answer.
Assuming that my intuition is true, failing to do the hard work of scientific analysis means that, at best, I risk not correcting the damage I have caused. At its worst, my indifference to scientific research means taking a path that may cause additional harm in my attempts to just do something, anything. And this goes to the heart of point I want to make here.
The author of the NCC piece does not respect the work of the natural sciences. Like many others in the environmental movement the author seems willing to ignore any empirical data that does not confirm his own theological/political agenda.
Though the author’s theology & politics are progressive, I would argue he is as much a religious fundamentalist as an biblical literalist.