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home : opinion : columnists June 28, 2016

12/19/2012 3:10:00 PM
Humans destroying our planet
Dear Editor,

Political party loyalty combined with distorted religious thinking may end life as we know it. When considering human activity, it is impossible to confirm its total impact on climate change as it relates to wild fires, droughts and the rise of ocean levels. There will always be those who refuse to acknowledge human caused pollution as a factor even though science has confirmed this relationship. Republican Party loyalty insists on disregarding any scientific data that goes against their market based solutions as it relates to nature, social challenges and economics.

Some churches have preached eloquent words concerning how life has been created and then unknowingly mislead too many with the concept that humans should 'subdue' the earth. It is popular for the literalists to interpret 'subdue' as the domination of nature allowing for the removal of any and all substances that are available, especially if financial gain is involved.

Over the years this understanding of the Bible has developed an attitude perpetuating a battle between humans and the future of our planet. Remove as many trees as possible, drill baby drill and suck the earth dry and remove all the minerals even if mountains are destroyed and water is polluted. The truth is that nature was not created to serve humans but rather all nature including human life was designed as a single unit providing for mutual benefit and survival. At this point, human activity isn't a cooperating partner which is resulting in increased suffering and death for nature and humans alike.

I personally think the correct translation of subdue is 'caring for', or 'nurturing'. This translation changes our approach to nature from 'taking and destroying' to 'managing and 'sustaining'. Using biblical passages to justify destroying the environment makes no sense if we celebrate the love and creative genius of God. The God who lovingly created the flowers and the butterflies certainly isn't encouraging us to destroy the creation that sustains life, including our own.

Too many of our church members are convinced that whatever God has created we have a right to take for our own use because we have been taught to subdue the earth. Perhaps the Old Testament account of 'Moses and the daily manna' has taught us the wrong lesson of how God cares for our needs. We can either learn to partner with nature and sustain life or we can destroy nature and eliminate our own existence. The impacts of climate change are slow in developing. At first they are tolerable but unless we take corrective action, we will soon join the frog in the water gradually being heated. It's OK to question what we hear and see but let's not allow politics and the misunderstanding of religious teachings to mislead us concerning the critical relationship between nature and human life.

Werner Janssen


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