Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Gideon 300

I continue to marvel at how the Bible remains “new” to me. I have read it cover to cover at least twenty times in my life, but each time through it – indeed, in nearly every day’s reading – I find new and compelling stories. A day almost never goes by that I don’t say – “Hey, I never saw that before.” Mind you, it may be that my memory is eroding more quickly than my reading can compensate for – but I don’t think so.

This week, the story of Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites (Judges 7) stood out to me. Most know the story. Gideon went up to defeat the Midianites with 32,000 men. The men who were afraid were allowed to return to their homes. 22,000 left, leaving only 10,000 men to fight. This was still too many, so God used a small test to winnow the number down to a mere 300. And with that small band of men, Gideon routed the entire Midianite army.

And while this feat in itself is amazing, the part that stood out to me was the reason that God cut back on Gideon’s manpower. It wasn’t just to show how powerful God is, though it is an awesome display of His ability. Rather, verse 2 tells us God did this “in order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her”. God’s concern is with the Israelites themselves – that they will see the rout of the enemy and begin to think that they had something to do with it. Does that seem so crazy? Don’t we often try to take credit, even in a small way, for something that in which we may not have participated? I know it is sometimes a temptation for me.

This gets to the theme I have been writing about lately. I want every aspect of my life, and every minute of it, to be utilized for glorifying God. That is a tall order, but is it too much to strive for? What if I challenged myself to live for one week where every waking moment was spent in the pursuit of godly purpose, in holiness, and in service to Him? Would I be able to do it? What if it were just a concerted effort for one day? Could I do it for one hour?

One thing is certain – this is hard for me. As I’ve written previously, my life is consumed with distractions. I have nineteen tabs open on my Firefox browser at the moment – because I feel I need all of them, I guess – and any one of them could create a diversion for me at any time. This is not to say that all distractions are of an ungodly nature. My children are a constant demand for attention, and I love it. Building them up and spending time with them, helping them prepare to serve the Lord is a worthwhile pursuit. But clearly, not everything in my life is worthy or necessary. Can I start giving up some of these unneeded things?

It is inspiring that God was able to defeat a large army with only 300 men. It is even more motivational to me that God hand-picked these men to pursue His intentions and to bring glory to His name. And I believe with everything in my heart that these 300 soldiers were not just randomly selected to serve. I believe that God picked the best and most worthy of Gideon’s army to be used for His glory. They passed the bravery test in the first round. Ultimately they were most certainly called out for special duty. For me, when God is winnowing His army for service, one thought rises above all the others.

I want to be one of the 300.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Johnny Cash’s Great Discovery – And Mine, Too

I feel as if I’m on the cusp of a great discovery. Something life-changing is in the works.

For several years now, I have grown increasingly aware of how much stuff I own. And how much distraction I am subject to. There is a lot going on in my life – and most of it would be deemed as good by almost anyone. And yet, I am not satisfied with where I am. And I think I finally know why.

I try to live my life in a way that is true - honoring others, and yet one which has an eternal purpose. Nearly anyone who has known me since I was small will likely attest that I have been “good” and have sought a spiritual aspect in almost everything. But deep down, I have always suspected that my life as a Christian might not be considered truly sacrificial. I think I’m finally coming to the realization that it is not.

I was reading a book the other day, when the following phrase sprung to mind. I wrote it down, and I’ll share it here – “Living the Christian life should not be considered just ‘a good thing to do’. There must be more to it than that.”

What does it mean to really, really live as a Christian? Not just a good life in comparison with 99% of the other people on the planet, but a life as Jesus Christ would live it if he were in my shoes? I am convinced that the feeling I often get of “comparative faith” – that is, one where I say, “Hey, I work harder, pray deeper, and ponder the Scriptures more than most other people” – is a comfortable lie given to me by none other than Satan himself. I can picture him laughing at my reasoning and self-justification, while all the time opportunities slip from my grasp. Those opportunities, if seized, would glorify God in ways I have never dared. And yet, I am deceived into thinking that I’m firmly on the narrow path. I give thanks for God’s grace which has placed me on that path nonetheless – but am I living my life in a way that completely honors God and achieves the very greatest purpose for His glory? I know that the answer to that question is “No”.

God has directed me to contemplate the life of Johnny Cash recently. Cash did not start out well – suffering through divorce, drug addiction, and brokenness. And yet, if the stories are true, he ended on a high note – confessing Jesus and openly admitting his devotion to God in venues where he would not have done so as a younger man. One of the most deeply moving videos I have ever seen is his version of “Hurt”, which was originally written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. But Cash made this song his own, giving it an overarching contemplation of a life that could have been better lived. I’ve posted it here. Watching the scene where he breaks down in tears at 3:13 has changed my life in some way. I want to be as broken as Cash over my own sin.

I want to live a life that fully honors God. In every minute, and in every action. I want my life to be full of meaning and purpose. I want to finish well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don’t Worry – Be Happy?

Are we entitled to happiness in this life? Is that to be our goal? After all, it’s in the Declaration of Independence – “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Many of us spend our entire lives trying to find happiness here on earth. “Life is Good” apparel is popular and ubiquitous, smiley-faces greet us in e-mail and instant messages, and battery powered fish are mounted on a plaque and sing “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” to us. Is this what God intends?

Candidly, James 4:4 (NLT) says, “If your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.” Some translations clarify this by saying that you can’t be a friend of the world and a friend of God simultaneously. This certainly fights against our daily instinct to please ourselves and reduce our own potential suffering. For most of us, a good deal of time is spent working hard to ensure that we have no needs in this life – this attitude has obviously been taken too far when one observes the amount of “treasure” most of us have crammed into our garage and our basement. And really, does it make us truly happy?

Here is a tough question. Does God want us all to be healthy, rich, and happy? At first glance, the answer might seem to be “Yes”. Jesus healed people who were sick, so health is a clear goal, right? Television evangelists and other media types are constantly telling us that we deserve to be wealthy, and give us ideas about how to make it a reality. Many of us possess health, riches or happiness, but it is not clear to me that this is a guarantee to those who seek Him. Why not?

In the context of the verse in James 4, we see that people were quarreling because of jealousy and the desire for each other’s possessions. Their motive is revealed in verse three – selfish pleasure. James tells us that this motive is wrong. You see, being happy is not wrong. But it is wrong to live in this world for the primary reason of finding a selfish, personal happiness. God does not intend for us to spend our days finding rest and ease, however comfortable and good that may seem.

What, then, should our motive be? The answer is revealed in the surrounding verses. Verse five says “to be faithful”. Verse six tells us “to stand against evil desires”. Verse seven pleads with us to “be humble before God”. And verse 8 implores that we “draw close to God”.

Is it wrong to be happy regarding physical things? Of course not. But our ultimate goal should not be this result. Our real goal should be to glorify God, and to find joy in the cross of Jesus Christ – a paradoxical statement at first glance. It would be nice to say that God promises us all the wealth, health, and happiness we can stand if we just come to this realization – but it is not true. God may choose to give us one or all of these three things. And He may not. He is God, and He holds the plan. But there is a different kind of joy and reward that we can derive from living in God’s presence. Paul told us that he had learned to be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11) – and yet, look at the shipwreck, pain, and sorrow that his life contained! Am I prepared to adopt this same attitude?

P.S. – I will be writing more on this subject in the near future as I feel I am on the verge of something important. I’ve been reading John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, and have found some much-needed motivation in his presentation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Committed to Christian Principles, or Rightwing Terrorist?

The United States Department of Homeland Security, led by Janet Napolitano, is taking some heat over a recent assessment released as an unclassified document. The news outlets have focused most intently on the report’s fear that terrorist cells may spring from returning US military personnel, who may be disgruntled over the new administration or who find it difficult to integrate back into non-military society.

The report is titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" and is a fairly short read. It is interesting that in a time where Homeland Security has insisted that we not label radical Muslim or Islamist groups as “terrorists”, the article uses the phrase “domestic rightwing terrorist” three times. If the World Trade Center attack was not terrorism, what was it? Are we really in more danger from our own people who have conservative principles than those with an agenda of viewing our country as “The Great Satan”? I remain unconvinced.

Having read the assessment, I am struck the most by a paragraph at the bottom of page three. It states, “Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” Within this paragraph, I find two items of concern.

The first item has to do with “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority”. It is clear to me that the federal government is interested in usurping as much power as possible – perhaps beyond the powers granted within the US Constitution. Our Constitution is very clear on this point. The Tenth Amendment very succinctly states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The founders’ intent was for states to individually enact laws that governed the people, leaving very little for the federal government executive branch to do beyond making treaties, appointing ambassadors, and commanding the military. It’s ironic that the majority of this report demeans returning military veterans by proclaiming that they pose the greatest terrorist risk to our nation at the moment. For more on states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment, visit this previous blog installment.

Even more disturbing is the implication of danger emanating from people who are passionate about an issue such as abortion. Do I need to fear that my own government will label me as an “extremist” because I am willing to march, protest, write, and preach about the evils of abortion? Who are the terrorists on this subject - the people trying to prevent the murder of unborn babies, or the people who make it perfectly legal and divert tax dollars toward its subsidy? I wonder how the baby would answer that question.

As a dedicated God-follower, I will not deviate from the principles that He has given. If I must defy my own government to remain faithful to God’s ways, then I will happily do that. Watering down our Christian beliefs in the name of “tolerance” and “open-mindedness” are traps set by Satan himself. I’m reminded of a quote I recently read from Dante – “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality”. Satan is working through some of the laws in our own beloved country to attempt an attack on God’s purpose. If I don’t stand against this onslaught and am labeled as an extremist for my beliefs, so be it. In the end, when the trumpet sounds, where do I want to be found standing?

I recognize that this government report most certainly falls short of labeling every pro-life advocate as a terrorist. But it represents just one more step away from the godly principles upon which our country was founded, and which God lays out in His Word. A step here, a step there, and we will find ourselves outside of God’s grace because of our own neutrality. Stay vigilant, be aware of the constant erosion of Christian morals, and look for opportunities to take a stand against evil!

To read the entire nine-page government article, just click here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Am Offended

Our president recently visited Turkey, and said these words:

"One of the great strengths of the United States is we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

As most prepared statements doled out by government officials are prone to be, this one is carefully constructed to be populist, to cast a wide net, and to be inoffensive.

But I am very offended.

In a nation that was built on Christian ideals (not one bound by an ethereal “set of values”), President Obama’s statement demeans our forefathers who unashamedly proclaimed Christ. The very reason that the Puritans boarded the Mayflower and set sail for America was to escape a king who had abandoned Christian morals and had become oppressive to their clear mandate – to bring Christ to the world. Our founding fathers had this in mind when they wrote the Constitution and when they governed our nation. If you doubt this, take a look at some of these quotes:

“Whoever will introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it tied together in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

“God has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” – John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Patrick Henry
I ask you to compare these words, spoken by men who founded this nation and who were not ashamed of Jesus Christ, to the words of our leaders today. There is a difference between a watered-down mass appeal and a true conviction.

Two thousand years ago, a man named Peter also denied Jesus’ supreme authority when approached directly by others. His motivation was exactly the same as that of our leaders today. Don’t offend… and save your skin. While churches and Christians all over this land consistently claim that Peter’s denial was treacherous, many of those same people see Obama’s words as being “inclusive”, “visionary”, and “tolerant”. But I see little difference between Peter’s denial and Obama’s politicking.

Do you?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Was There Another Way?

As we celebrate the Easter holiday, my thoughts are drawn to the layout of God’s plan for our salvation. Simply put, it goes like this:

1) God defined the line between good and evil, He told us what sin is
2) He promised that sin must be atoned for with the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:7) and with death (Romans 6:23)
3) Man sinned (Romans 3:23) – every person who ever lived was guilty
4) God maintained His promise AND delivered our salvation by sending His Son to shed his blood and die – in our place
5) He resurrected His Son after three days, and Jesus is now preparing for the Second Coming – when the entire history of mankind will be judged

The power and simplicity of God’s plan still amazes me. If I were designing a plan for salvation, I would have been tempted to install a system of restitution and restoration – basically, one where a person has to “earn” their way back into God’s favor through good works. Indeed, many religions (even of the Christian variety) operate under such a system. It seems to be a human tendency to demand penance and good deeds to make up for sin. Offering my own son as a sacrifice for many? That wouldn’t have occurred to me.

Could God have achieved His purpose in another way? He could have put in place a design like mine where a person could “work off” their sin. He could have made the rules and expectations much more lenient. He could have put in place a “cap and trade” system (so popular with our government) where “sin credits” are bought and sold, at least by those who have the money to participate. A poor sinner (I mean one without cash) wouldn’t fare well under such a scheme. So why didn’t He choose a different method?

Because God’s nature is both perfect and inviolable. That is an extremely important distinction, and one which sets God’s plan apart from any system that man can devise. He is the embodiment of goodness and perfection, and He cannot tolerate the presence of evil. His faultlessness is unchanging and clearly in evidence. Would we really want a God who was anything else?

Was there another way? I think not. Since God is perfect and all-knowing, I believe that He chose the single, best way to accomplish our forgiveness. It’s not in His nature to do anything else.

We happy few are given the blessing to live forever in the presence and service of God Almighty. 2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.” We have a means to participate, not under the broken and unjust rules of the world, but in the very “divine nature” that is God. And that glorious outcome is not given to us for a few moments, but will last for eternity – world without end, Amen!

Happy Easter Sunday! This day is not about bunnies, candy, or even a family get-together over a meal. Today is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the fulfillment of God’s plan which allows us to spend an eternity with Him. Could we celebrate anything better?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Radical Environmentalism – Does National Geographic Magazine Teach Good Science? (Part 3)

Part of growing up was my fascination with the wonder that was National Geographic magazine. The subject matter was always exotic and I dreamed of going to the places that were shown in the photos. The pictures were beautiful and I tried to look at every single one each month. Finally, the science within the pages was attractive to me, since knowledge and scientific method was always my passion.

My wife and I have never really subscribed to magazines, so it has been years since I have been regularly exposed to National Geographic. Recently on a trip back to my parent’s home, the April 2009 issue was on the table and I picked it up to enjoy some time in the pages.

The places are still exotic; the pictures are beautiful. But the science is gone. National Geographic has become a huckster for bad science and the environmentalist movement.

When I was in junior high and high school, I thoroughly enjoyed the science classes which had a lab. We were taught to employ the art of hypothesis testing. We would dutifully read about the upcoming experiment and we were often asked to choose our hypothesis – what would happen as a result of the experiment? To get a good grade, it was not necessary to be right about this guess. But it was absolutely necessary that we used facts to prove or disprove our hypothesis. Is there more vitamin C in the skin of a potato than in the flesh? Does a wooden sphere have more rolling friction than a steel ball bearing? Take a guess – but draw no conclusions until you have performed the experiment.

It must be pointed out that global warming is still just a theory. A mere twenty years ago, most scientists believed that we were heading into another Ice Age. Many scientists today are suddenly being forced to conclude that parts of the earth are getting colder, much to the consternation of those who preach global warming as a fact. But open up the latest National Geographic and then count the number of times that global warming is mentioned not as theory, but as a foregone conclusion. Here are some examples from the April 2009 issue:

- “Australia’s Dry Run” – the continent is currently undergoing a seven-year drought. The reason given? “To many, the erratic precipitation patterns bear the ominous imprint of a human-induced climate shift. Global warming is widely believed to have increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters like this drought.” My high school science teacher would have circled this in red and asked me how I could tell the difference between a human-imprinted climate shift and a natural one.

- “Changing Rains – Outlook:Extreme” – The article opens by telling of an ancient culture called Akkad, which went through a sudden decline – “Akkad’s collapse was caused by a devastating drought”. So, how does this touch our situation today? “By contrast, climate change brought about by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations is our own doing. It, too, will influence precipitation patterns, in ways that, though not always easy to predict, could prove equally damaging.” That’s quite a dramatic step, with no intervening logic given to jump from one conclusion to the other. It should not come as a surprise that this article was written by Elizabeth Kolbert, who also authored a book titled Field Notes From A Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.

- “Polar Bear Paradise”“The days of outright slaughter are gone, but humans continue to pressure wildlife here in indirect ways. Toxins like PCBs and perfluorinated compounds…polar bears carry much higher levels of the pollutants…climate change, meanwhile, forces a retreat of the summer ice pack, imperiling the region’s polar bears…the wildlife that thrives up here has adapted to one of the toughest habitats on Earth. As temperatures rise, those birds, fish and mammals will be forced to adapt even further.” The author spends half the article talking about how polar bears live life on the edge because of the cold and lack of food, then jumps into the assumption that man is causing global warming. But I say, might global warming actually might make the region more habitable due to an increase in plant growth for food? The polar bears might actually be appreciative of the relief from the harsh cold, if it’s really happening. If they didn’t like it, why don’t they move fifty miles north? I’m not trying to be cheeky here – I’m just pointing out that there is a lot of science that needs to be explored before drawing the conclusions that the author makes.

- “The Vanishing – Race To Save The Frogs”“We are witnessing a mass extinction. An exotic fungus is delivering the fatal blow to many amphibians already hit by habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.” The impact of these events is implied to be an environmental and ecosystem change brought on by man. The article concludes: “The story is much bigger than frogs. It’s about emerging disease and about predicting, coping with, and fighting things we don’t fully understand. It’s about all of us. Everyone should care.” Had I written a conclusion in my science lab book that says “we don’t know what causes the phenomenon but I’m going to draw a conclusion anyway”, I would have received a less-than-stellar grade. How does this same poor technique find its way into a national science magazine?

Let’s face it – there is big money in preaching a gospel of global warming. It provides a launching point for those who are anti-industry and anti-human-achievement. A reverse-course that sends us back to the Dark Ages would be welcome to many who value the earth above human life. Unfortunately, National Geographic magazine has fallen into this trap. My high-school science teacher would be forced to make them take the course over again. For creative use of photos, they get an “A” – but for scientific method, they get an “F”.

Next in this series.......
Back to Part 1 of this series...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Radical Environmentalism – Paganism, Earth Worship, and Al Gore (Part 2)

The idea that “the earth is our mother” is not new. In Greek mythology, the goddess Gaia was the deity which personified the earth itself. “Gaia” literally means “grandmother earth”. The idea of the fertile female representation of earth is not unique to ancient Greek culture – many other cultures adopted just such a goddess to worship.

Gaia worship has been revived recently, notably through James Lovelock’s 1979 book, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. Through this book, Lovelock promoted the idea that all things on the earth, both living and non-living, are part of a cooperative dynamic system which forms the ecology of the planet. He put forth the idea that the whole system could be thought of as a single self-regulating organism. Later, he supported the theory by postulating a fantasy system called Daisyworld, in which white daisies and black daisies cooperate to regulate the temperature of their fictional planet.

Since publication of Lovelock’s book, there has been a substantial rise in the belief that the earth is sacred, often to the point of the earth possessing god-like qualities. This has become more evident each year as the rise of environmentalism attacks the purposes and rightful place of man as the steward of the earth. It has reached such proportions that man is frequently relegated to second-place status, even by those who deny God’s existence. The earth is often assumed to have anthropomorphic qualities, able to regulate and maintain itself as long as cruel man is finally stopped from pursuing his own selfish and evil purposes.

A new pagan promoter has come on the scene in recent years. While his grandmother was raised in the strict Campbellite Church of Christ tradition, and though he has maintained that he is a Baptist Christian, Al Gore may have done more to raise the awareness of Gaia worship than any other individual in our world today. He has certainly become well-known as an avid promoter of global warming theory and anti-industry efforts in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. I have watched the movie and read the book. It is full of fascinating pictures and stories designed to convince the public that 1) global warming is real, 2) man is the primary reason for global warming, and 3) we have very little time left to change our ways before we cause irreversible damage. For the uninformed, it is at the same time an interesting and terrifying presentation. That probably explains its popularity.

So if we are to follow Al Gore’s philosophy, putting aside for the moment any question into the veracity of his scientific presentation, we should know a little about his thinking. For the Christian, it is imperative to compare any teaching with the ultimate Source and Creator. The Bible warns that men will be led astray by false arguments which have the look of wisdom, but which are foolishness at their core. If foolishness were obvious, very few would fall for it. Radical environmentalism, while foolish in its premises, is not an obvious fallacy to the many who have come under its spell.

In his book Earth In The Balance, Gore maintains that man has abandoned his responsibility for the earth precisely because he is devoted to God. On pages 258-259, Gore says, “The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own systems of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilization's responsibility for the earth is concerned." In this statement, Gore essentially pins environmental blame on Christians for sticking to their faith, and not being open to other teachings which might open their minds to diversity.

In Romans 1:21-23, the Bible says, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” This warning is precisely fulfilled in the modern environmental movement. Adherents like Gore would have us add man’s wisdom to God’s teaching, but this is the very temptation that we are warned about in the closing words of the New Testament - the last words left to us in God’s book (see Revelation 22:18-19).

Christians need to be aware that there is an insidious temptation to compromise God’s word, even to seemingly “good” causes such as taking care of the earth. While there is a need for godly stewardship of the things we have been given, the elevation of these efforts as being superior to God or man is wrong. Should we listen to new age prophets such as Al Gore? When asked about his feelings on the Christian faith of George W. Bush, Gore commented in an interview with The New Yorker magazine that, “It's a particular kind of religiosity. It's the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common. In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it's not going to be the source of your salvation. And the deepest roots are in philosophical and religious traditions that go way back.”

We must decide where our source of salvation comes from. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). I’m willing to stick to that – and only that.

Next: Part 3 - How National Geographic has adopted an unscientific and pagan approach

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Radical Environmentalism – “Earth Hour” and Bad Science (Part 1)

Last Saturday marked the third annual observance of “Earth Hour” – an environmental event where people around the world switched off their lights for one hour in order to call attention to the dubious problem of global warming.

The Internet is full of pictures, observations, praise, and comments about the significance of the Earth Hour event. One website posted pictures of several famous places around the world, showing them brightly lit up before the hour came, followed by a “fade-to” photo of these places as dark monuments during the observance hour. These photos included darkened images of Hong Kong's financial district, London's Parliament, the Acropolis in Athens, the Water Cube in Beijing, the Colosseum in Rome (maybe it became the “Colo-not-sseum”?), the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower and The Strip in Las Vegas. I cannot help but draw attention to the fact that darkening these places is nothing less than a step back in time, and represents a denial of human achievement. No doubt, there are many who long for that very thing.

Comments posted about the event included “wonderful to see the world participating....we need to be united in these efforts as we all are part (sic) responsible and guilty for this climatic change, let’s do our small bit for the EARTH” and “I am so glad that people are getting on the move and expressing their love for the earth. It is a grand place to be and so appreciated. As a person, I do all the green that I can and encourage my family to do so.”

Curiously, Al Gore came under fire when someone took photographs of the trees on his lawn being lit up at night during the event. It seems that the chief promulgator of global-warming hype either forgot about the event, or just assumed that no one would notice his non-participation. The irony almost makes the whole thing worthwhile.

I enjoyed one individual’s comment, who pointed out the senselessness of Earth Hour when he said it was "a great attempt at futility. Maybe if everyone held their breath for one hour, we could reduce the CO2 a lot more effectively."

The danger inherent in radical environmentalism is that it is based largely on myth and propaganda. Until someone can definitively prove that global warming is really occurring (and the seeds of doubt about this theory multiply every day), or until someone can demonstrably show that global warming is attributable in large part to human activity (instead of solar cycles, ocean currents, and cyclical weather patterns like El Niño), this is all still very much a theory. But the news media and millions of people are content to settle for bad science, even in an age where we pride ourselves in our advanced scientific process. Global warming and increased carbon emissions from human intervention are accepted as fact, and anyone who questions these scientific assumptions risks ridicule. Scientists who are promoting this dubious theory would fail basic high-school science class methods of hypothesis testing.

To many, Earth Hour was akin to a religious experience. They worship Planet Earth as if it is the goddess mother of all. Indeed, that is what many believe. But the earth is not our mother. What has been forgotten by many is that God is our Father. The Bible points out this very phenomenon in Romans 1:25, when Paul observes that “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” When man forgets God the Creator, and turns instead to the things which God made for man, then God turns him over to “foolish thinking”, as verse 28 promises. Aren’t we witnessing this very thing all around us right now?

Next: Paganism and anti-Christianity are promoted in Al Gore’s book Earth In The Balance.