Who says the Bible is irrelevant?

Please do not worry that I am suddenly turning all Evangelical on you. Far from it. I just cannot get over how relevant the following words seem. They were written by former Pharisaic Jew, Saul – known to Christians as St Paul – to his young protegé, Timothy, in 66-67 AD.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God… (2 Tim 3: 1-4)

I am trying hard to fend-off a potential Messiah complex with regard to environmentalism but it seems, to me at least, an incontrovertible aspect of modernity that we have now fulfilled this 1950 year-old prophecy. However, as regular readers of this blog may well be able to guess, what concerns me more is that the greatest failure of modernity arose out of the Age of Enlightenment: This seventeenth-Century revolution in natural philosophy meant that Western science emerged from the Dark Ages but, from it, along with all the positive benefits of building on Chinese and Islamic scholarship, we sadly inherited the idea that humans are superior to Nature – rather than part of it. This is a fallacy that underlies the inability of many to accept the reality of ACD (i.e. anthropogenic climate disruption). Either that, or they are deluded into thinking that: 1. Humans are incapable of affecting their environment (despite the precedents of industrial pollution causing Acid Rain and CFCs creating the hole in the Ozone layer); or 2. God will not allow humans to trash the Environment (due to infantile reliance upon things like Genesis 9:15: “I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Yes, Senator James Inhoffe [R-OK], I am looking at you).


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Environment, Ethics, Intergenerational Injustice, Modernity, Religion, Sustainable development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Who says the Bible is irrelevant?

  1. Oh Good- time to plug my book again- serpent in the labyrinth- The Christians just borrowed Jewish end time prophesy and by Christian I mean Greeks across the East. If I’m correct the End time was the supposed return of atmospheric dust loading by the sky dragon [we know it as the burnt out comet Encke] but read Revelation and you can see it is a collection of half a dozen end time narratives [that is why it seems to be so deranged] that speak of a flying Jesus and dragons [and a stink- which after research seems to be connected to fireball reacting with air to create nitric acid rain- the Greeks also report comets being stinking hair]. In some respects it is completely bonkers but in others the original Jewish End Time was a community getting together- planning for a future ‘on Earth’ -not so much the evangelical off to heaven more the socialist Methodist building of a brave new world- a new Jerusalem of harmony in God’s kingdom for a 1000 years- the Universal church hijacked it and made the pope the king of a new Jerusalem on the foundations of Rome’s- But the principle of working together and building a better future is as human as going to war and fighting over the corpse of the planet. But yes Rick- it is all about AGW- forget about saving the rainforest- or fishing quoters- or the economy- until we deal with AGW I am wondering if we should really bother with anything else.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Jules. I will have to add your book to my reading list. I agree that the Book of Revelation is very disjointed and, perhaps more so than almost any other book apart from Genesis, hard to make sense of (if you are inclined to take things literally). I am glad to hear you think AGW is the main problem; so many people think it is a distraction from solving our real problems (like poverty and malnutrition). Sadly, rebutted that argument very successfully on Grist recently, when he pointed out that climate change is a cumulative problem that is getting harder to solve the longer we fail to address it. http://grist.org/climate-energy/two-reasons-climate-change-is-not-like-other-environmental-problems/


  2. Thomas Foster says:

    I am not well-versed in “chinese scholarship” but, having lived and worked in China in the 1960’s I can only report on what I saw, experienced and heard. And that the Chinese, in toto, would will and do destroy and eat anything that flies, creeps, swims, slithers or simply is! And, as regards the environment under the aegis of the “islamic scholarship”, well, monumentum requiris circumspice – my latin is awfully rusty – the whole of the islam-infiltrated world is an ecological disaster area, from East to West, North to South. All cultures have, somewhere within their fabric, the ineradicable belief that we are superior and that the world was created for our pleasure and domination. Although a non-believer, in my opinion Christianity is no better or worse than the other mental aberrations which pass for moral guidance. And the problem is really not AGW: the problem is 7 billion Homo sapiens.


    • I think Rick [I don’t want to speak for you!] means that whilst Europe [re]adopted scholarship with its contacts with the East and far East he is bemoaning the fact the philosophy did not include a love of nature. In a word it is consumerism, and to borrow Bible speak we are the scorpion spider locust monsters in Revelation who make life an ultimate living hell. Perhaps it is just part of the social evolution we have to go through. In Holland the land is so managed, the land is so manmade that the backlash is that they are very pro nature, you don’t know what you have until you lose it. Whether we like it or not- whether we have a hand in it or not, humanity will be a neutral carbon species within a couple of generations.


    • Rick Altman says:

      I think Jules has understood me correctly: I was acknowledging that Christianity is not the source of all wisdom and cannot take the credit for all the good things (there were many) to come out of the Age of Enlightenment. However, I was also suggesting that the fallacious belief that we humans are superior to Nature could therefore have come from reliance upon early Chinese and Islamic scholars (in maths and science). Indeed, if you exclude the utilitarian attitude prevalent within the sphere of Chinese and Islamic influence today, there is a great deal of biocentric egalitarianism to be found in non-Western countries elsewhere.


  3. pendantry says:

    Typo alert: “…terrible times in the last days. PeopleSheeple will be…”


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