A Golden Rule for God’s Green Earth

By Clark Strandfounder, wholeearthgod.com The Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is the … Continued

By Clark Strand
founder, wholeearthgod.com

The Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is the foundation of Christian moral teaching. But lately I’ve begun to wonder if that gold standard of ethical behavior really equips us for an age of global environmental concerns. Jesus teaches us to include other people in our prayers–even our enemies. But what about other species of plant and animal life? What about the atmosphere? What about the Earth?

As suggested by its color, the Golden Rule is defined primarily in terms of human commerce. Most of the examples of right conduct Jesus offers in the gospels involve the exchange of money, goods, or services. Not one addresses other species or the Earth. Does this mean that Jesus was as clueless as every other Homo sapiens on the planet when it comes to grasping ecological truths? If Jesus were here today, would he too live in denial of the coming environmental collapse?

A growing number of environmentally-concerned Christians believe the answer is no. Were Jesus with us today, they tell us, he would replace the Golden Rule with the Green Rule: “Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you.”

Unfortunately, that rule still reflects a dangerous bias. It still uses human welfare as the yardstick by which we measure what is good for Nature, and that simply doesn’t work.

What is good for human beings (all 6.8 billion of us) isn’t necessarily good for the planet. Current projections indicate that one half of all plant and animal species on Earth will likely become extinct by century’s end as a result of climate change and other anthropogenic factors — an inevitability which led MIT professor Stephen Meyer to ask in his 2006 book “The End of the Wild:” “What is the essence of our own morality if it fails to encompass most of life on Earth?”

For the past three millennia, the essence of human morality has been expressed primarily in terms of how we treat one another. Consequently, some version of the Golden Rule appears in virtually all of the world’s major religious traditions, making it the bedrock of human ethical concern. Unfortunately for us, however, it is not the bedrock of our biological existence on Earth.

The foundation for life on Earth is now just what it always has been — not how we treat others of our own species, but the planetary ecosystem itself. That system provides the air we breathe, the food and water we consume, and — at present — a range of temperatures conducive to our continued survival. For millennia now, we’ve lived in our heads as a species, convinced as one that nature would give way indefinitely before the advance of human ambition and desire. Our bodies tell another story. We are wholly dependent on the Earth and its bounty for our continued existence. Eliminate one half of that bounty, and pretty soon the Golden Rule, for all the beauty and nobility of its conception, won’t mean a thing. Or at least not for this world — presumably, those who believe in heaven can still follow it in hopes of the world to come.

Even the “Green Rule” is too timid a fix for the problems we face now. It isn’t just that the eco version contributes to our collective delusion of knowing how best to manage the Earth’s energies and resources . . . provided we think empathetically, that is. A bigger problem is its conception as a “rule.” Reality would be a better word to describe our relationship to the planet and its diversity of plant and animal life. A rule may be bent…or broken…or observed in some instances but not in others. Its very nature derives from the fact that we can elect to observe it or not. But there is no opt-out when it comes to the reality of Nature. There is no way we are going to live well or for long in a world where Nature has been cut in half.

Would Jesus have understood a “Green Reality” which says “As we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves”? I believe he would. The word “golden” appears nowhere in the gospels. Nor does “rule.” Jesus’ only comment on his famous maxim (“for this is the law and the prophets”) suggests that in his mind it was simply everything — a complete portrait of life and the world, rather than a simple plug-in prescription for what one was to do to others, or refrain from doing.

At its most profound level, Jesus’ central commandment is nothing less than a description of reality itself — the portrait of a working ecosystem. As you treat others, you treat yourself. As you forgive others, you are forgiven. “As you do unto the least of these, so have you done unto me.” Everything is inter-related. Not one of us exists independently or alone. That is the “Green Reality” Jesus would surely teach if he were with us again today. “What would Jesus do?” It’s the wrong question for the age head. The real question is, How would he think? And the answer is BIG . . . and for the long term.

Assuming that Jesus’ intention isn’t to save the few and leave the rest behind — including house sparrows, lost sheep, and lilies of the field — he’d have a way of looking at things that would serve to guide us on the long green road ahead. It’s painful to think of Jesus coming back to find that half of the plants and animals he knew intimately and referred to constantly in his teachings had simply disappeared. It’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t want to know what happened to them, and why. Or that he wouldn’t have a teaching on how to protect those that remained.

Clark Strand is the author of “How to Believe in God: Whether You Believe in Religion or Not,” and the founder of WholeEarthGod.com.

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  • dotellen

    Mr. Strand struggles within the confines of the Christian bible, all of which was written by men. As I recall, most of the New Testament was not written down until the third generation after the Resurrection (except for the plethora of Paul’s letters, and I consider him to be a carpetbagger).We do not know what Jesus might have said about worshipping the Father by preserving and protecting the planet He created for us. But we CAN use our God-given brains to figure out that our greed and self-absorption (think ‘human life is sacred’) is destroying that creation.

  • bean2814

    Isn’t it wonderful when people state with full authority what Jesus would do! I have heard so much of this and they always get it to slant heavily on their thoughts. Wait, there may be more than one Jesus because they all can’t be wrong. Or could they?

  • emrod89

    i think the other commenters, by focusing exclusively on the references to jesus, are missing the point of strand’s letter. we are not caring for our world and environment as we should, regardless of our faith perspectives (or lack thereof). no matter who or what we believe in, we urgently and desperately need to change the way we misuse and abuse this planet.

  • ThomasBaum

    As I have said before, God knew that we would wreck the place and that is one of the reasons why God came up with a Plan even before creation.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    dotellen You wrote, “But we CAN use our God-given brains to figure out that our greed and self-absorption (think ‘human life is sacred’) is destroying that creation.”If you are equating self-absorption with believing that human life is sacred, which it seems you are, then you do not have a clue.If one thinks that human life is sacred, it should go without saying that ALL of human life is sacred not just the one that one has. This, in and of itself, should reflect on how we treat others and the home that God created for us but as reality shows us, do we?Believing that God created the earth and all that is in it and besides that, the entire universe and that human life is sacred should lead one to take care of and share creation.Just because some, believers and non-believers alike, don’t care about others and creation itself is a reflection on themself not on the fact that human life is sacred but that we have a fallen nature. We do have a choice in how we treat others and the home that God gave us to live in.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • coloradodog

    How sad that the hijacking of Christianity by right-wing LDS, evangelicals and O’Reilly Catholics makes the phrase “environmentally-concerned Christians”

  • jakesfriend1

    “A Golden Rule for God’s Green Earth” I am reminded of many things when I read this article. First comes the creation story, if you are a believer. I believe that God intended men, women and children to enjoy the splendor of nature from that point forward. I am also reminded that God gives us custodial rights to conduct our affairs in the best ways possible. If I am to be a custodian of this earth and the environment, including people, at what point do I (we) give up our custodial right and turn it over to someone else to do what they please? When is it OK to give industries, organizations and countries the right to erode and destroy the very thing that was given to us as a gift? A gift with no assurances of regeneration in the event we destroy it.Many people allude to WWJD, however I am one that goes one step further, What would Jesus say if he were here today? Would he be happy with the state of affairs that reside throughout the world? We can only speculate based on how he addressed certain elements within the hierarchy of his culture. The article states that the Golden rule and the Green rule are synonymous, and I would have to agree. I look at the Lord’s Prayer though because when you break it down incrementally there are many portions which stand out and can describe our lives to a tee. However, when I come across ‘Your will be done…..’ that tells me God has the final say on what happens.Like any father who comes home after a long business trip and he finds a mess of things around the house, yard and general appearance; the words we hope to avoid are many. The words I never looked forward from my own father were “Who is responsible for this mess?” To me that speaks volumes. Whether it is our personal life, the way we conduct our affairs, the way we treat others are only examples of “Who is responsible for this mess?” To me that states each of us are responsible for our environment. Based on that view I have to remember He gave me the right of custodian throughout the circle of my life. If everyone were to cherish that context, we would not be having this discussion today now would we? Each of you have a great weekend.

  • daniel12

    Part three. Essentially the world other than man is politically disfranchised, does not have a voice in human affairs. As peculiar as it sounds, man must not just give a political hearing to those that can speak, that do have a voice if only allowed to speak–other humans in other words–man must give a political hearing to those that cannot speak at all. Man must divine the speech of animals and give them a fair hearing–and give them a place in his democratic reasoning. Animals not the subjects of man but subjects along with man. Of course many will say such a notion as I have proposed is preposterous because we need animals for food and scientific experiments for the benefit of man, etc.–that we cannot give animals the same rights as man–but so many idealisms have existed on this earth and it is just one more idealism that works toward making ourselves truly human–a species which does not distinguish itself from animals in the sense of being superior, but in the sense of being the cornerstone species on earth. So far man has just been the dominant animal in the food chain. In fact worse than such a dominant animal. An animal absolutely reckless in its ill understood power.

  • daniel12

    Part two.Our capacity to be dangerous to the total environment around ourselves is something quite new and has outstripped any morality within ourselves to solve the problem–if morality has ever had anything more than a tenuous hold on this problem. A plausible argument can be made that man’s capacity to reason has always outstripped his capacity for morality, for moral reasoning if you will. We can see immense evidence of man’s capacity to reason around us–and anyone can mention this discovery and that, this creation and that–but few ever have more than a few examples in mind of comparable moral action. Usually we fall back on default subjects to characterize the greatness of human morality such as Jesus. But then again, a default subject such as Jesus is spoken of as being the son of God and not entirely man.

  • daniel12

    Part one.The relationship of the human race to other species of animals?The human race clearly thinks there is nothing on earth that compares to itself. The human race thinks everything on earth exists to be put to the use of the human race. Some say religion is responsible for this attitude what with notions such as man having dominion over all the animals. But it would be more accurate to say that man never really has thought of himself in a more humble role with respect to the planet.

  • abrahamsadegh

    Jesus had to do with what was available to him nearly 2000 years ago. We have come a long way since then and have learned a great deal about ourselves and the Universe we are a vital part of. There is one of the greatest of humanity’s achievements that can be the cornerstone of what our collective responsibility is in this world of ours. That achievement was summarized in one picture – that of the full Earth taken from the Moon reminding us of what I call the Spaceship Earth. Comments by two of our Apollo 15 astronauts in July of 1971 also provide additional guidance as to what our role not masters of this planet but as its guardians should be. Consider what one of them said: “The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away, it diminished in size. Finally, it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.” James IrwinBy the way, not believing in a Supreme Being by those who do not should not change the essence of what James Irwin is saying.And the second astronaut:“Now I know why I am here; not for a close look at the Moon, but to look back at our Home, the Earth.” Then there is a very interesting symbolic idea in the story of Noah and his Ark that is very relevant to what is important today. He did not save just his own family but other creatures as well.Next we have the incredibly profound String Theory in which different forms of life are compared to different vibrating strings with each string representing one form of life and each an integral part of the symphony that makes life on our Spaceship Earth worth living and thus our responsibility profound.

  • PSolus

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum”As I have said before, God knew that we would wreck the place and that is one of the reasons why God came up with a Plan even before creation.”How do you know this?Don’t worry, be happy.Peregrine Bartleby Rumplestiltskin Solus

  • rtierney1

    Being grateful to God means being respectful, mindful, sharing and humane stewards of the earth and all living beings.

  • SecularHumanist1

    Whether one believes in Jesus, Mohammed, God, Vishnu, the Greek or Roman gods, the Tooth Fairy, or no god at all does not matter. Unless the human POPULATION on earth is REDUCED, nothing “green” that we do will do anything more than reduce the rate of decline of the earth’s environment and the average person’s standard of living.

  • hyjanks

    OK. So Jesus shows up on earth tomorrow. Then Allah appears. Buddha shows up. Thor checks in. Jupiter, Appolo, Venus and a host of other “mythical” gods make a return appearance in Greece. A few Mayan gods add to the mix, carrying the still-beating hearts of humans that were sacrificed in their honor.

  • caroleatlarge

    The ultimate hope for a Christian believer

  • bob2davis

    To the morons who believe in god and jesus: they never intervened in the destruction of human beings and they have yet to intervene in the destruction of the planet. What a useless god you have. And what feeble minds you have as well. The time you waste on “faith” would be better spent on protecting the earth from commercial polluters, the lumber industry’s destruction of trees, emissions from automobiles and airplanes, the poisoning of our crops, etc., etc., etc. Your silly prayers have had no impact at all. Get out and do something.

  • blasmaic

    Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.Seems Jesus believed God was omniscient in His love for all living things, not blind to the world where we live today.

  • morryb

    Actually the Golden Rule is:He who haseth the gold makes the rules.Actually the superstitious BS of religion has not done much good over all these times.Meacham and Quinn should ask themselves would they believe in this primitive superstion if they had not been endoctrinated when they were children. Naw that would be unreasonable since it may cause them to doubt their faith in the irrational.

  • probashi

    Money rules. Profit is the key. Nothing else matters. Excluding natural disasters, it is a greedy, selfish, rapacious bunch of people at the helm of nations and corporations who are responsible for most of the bad things — from wars to destruction of the environment — that happen on our planet. And they claim to believe in some faith or other. The system is rotten to the core. It is not going to change. Those who expect god(s) to intervene, makes things right, are like the three blind monkeys.

  • ramanan50

    -’May the four legged animals be Happy;May the two legged animals(Man) be Happy;May water reach the roots of the plants.May there be Happiness to all living beings.

  • DwightCollins

    first of all if GOD took an interest, we would probable have another flood and we would all be killed…

  • ThomasBaum

    bob2davisYou wrote, “To the morons who believe in god and jesus:”What about one who has met God, the Trinity Who is One and Pure Love.This one, me, has also met satan.You also wrote, “they never intervened in the destruction of human beings and they have yet to intervene in the destruction of the planet.”God gave us free will, if God “intervened” in the way that you seem to imply, than we would be nothing more than fancy puppets on a string, would we not?God does “intervene” thru people.Sometimes it is the “little” everyday things that one does rather than the “big” attempts to get the “other” to change, that make a difference.As I have said: God knew that we would “wreck” the joint but it is our choice in whether we will add to the wreckage or try to alleviate it.You also wrote, “Your silly prayers have had no impact at all.”By what you wrote, you seem to think that prayers are for the “express purpose” of telling God what to do.Prayer can be many things, one of which is for God to help lead us to do things.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • CalP

    The answer is that Jesus could only save the planet, if it were God’s will to have it done.I believe that the earth is some five billion years young and not just 6000 years old; and during its history, and long before humans were on earth, the earth has experienced several catastropic activities, some of which have reversed the poles. Therefore, it is not simply man’s behavior, because he believed, incorrectly, that he was given free will and instructed to dominate the earth, that we might be approaching the end of days, which we have, actually been approaching following day “one”.It should have been obvious from the Genesis story of the Bible, that man was given freedom of choice, and not free will. When one is told you can eat from all trees in the garden, except a particular one, one does not possess free will. After man disobeyed and ate from the tree that was fobidden, proof that man did not have free will was demonstrated, if one pays attention to the genesis story. On the issue of man’s right to dominate the world, I blame that on a misinterpretation, or mistranslation of drawings and/or symbols that really meant “stewardship”.I agree with scientist, Stephen Hawking, that for human life to continue, man will have to occupy another stellar body, which might be the “new world” as promised in the Bible where there would be “no more sea” and the old world will be forgotten. I, also, believe all that we have done (the good things, and the wrong things) have been permitted by God through “Persuasive Will”, which is ours, as directed through the Holy Spirit, if one is a Christian, and through some sense of responsibility and/or morality, if one is not a Christian; and the things we do, including sinful and evil things are permitted by God through “Permissive Will”, which is ours because of freedom of choice.I have to believe that nothing can happen in God’s world, unless God permits it to be so; and all things would eventually work for “good” in the end–this is in keeping with the statement in the Genesis story that God declared the world to be Good, at the end of its (seven Biblical days) creation. Our human problem is that we expect to experience and benefit from that “good” during our life time of about 75 to 100 years in a world that is about five billion years young. I believe this is the message from Isaiah 45: 5 – 7, in the Official King James version. It is what my faith (not my religion) teaches me to accept.

  • ricinro85212

    two possibiities:Either way, it is up to us to “get it” and clean up our act. Religion has proved itsellf useless for anything other than personal salvation whatever that means to an individual.And that’s history.

  • PSolus

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum”What about one who has met God, the Trinity Who is One and Pure Love.This one, me, has also met satan.”That makes you a delusional moron.Don’t worry, be happy.Peregrine Bartleby Rumplestiltskin Solus

  • misterfids

    EARTH….THE Classroom the Creator made for the human race and all the life it would need to support it…and we have acted like children with a substitute teacher who is out of the room..! Treat the planet like it was your kitchen or better yet like it IS your place of worship.

  • chatard

    This column is not about faith; never has been. It’s about Meacham and Quinn pretending to be god-fearing do-gooders so they can continue to goto and host all the best parties with the leftwing pseudo-intelligentsia, while mindlessly reelecting Democrats. It gets worse almost daily.

  • lufrank1

    Such nonsense.Might as well ask Socrates about the impact of nuclear explosions and computer science on civilization.

  • ThomasBaum

    CalP You wrote, “It should have been obvious from the Genesis story of the Bible, that man was given freedom of choice, and not free will. When one is told you can eat from all trees in the garden, except a particular one, one does not possess free will.”This is semantics, having free will does not mean that we are not responsible for how we use that free will.Being able to chose between right and wrong is free will, if one knows the difference between right and wrong, you may call it “freedom of choice” but the fact of the matter is if we did not have that “freedom” it would not be free and we would be nothing more that fancy “puppets”.You also wrote, ” Therefore, it is not simply man’s behavior, because he believed, incorrectly, that he was given free will and instructed to dominate the earth,”Semantics aside, there is a difference between subdue and dominate, between using and abusing.You then wrote, “, that we might be approaching the end of days, which we have, actually been approaching following day “one”.”We are in day 6 and have been in day 6 for quite some time. It says on the seventh day God rested, blest and made holy, Jesus said, My Father has been busy even until now, something to think about.New heavens and the new earth, day seven, God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable, see you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    PSolusYou wrote, “That makes you a delusional moron.”The people of Jesus’s day did not refer to Him as a “delusional moron” as you did to me but some did think that He was crazy, so I take this as putting me into Good Company, thank you.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • jayrkay

    Irrespective of religion or moral tennets behind them, we seem to be looking for the Great GOD to save us and the world. The God is within and without us. Every thing is on the PLATTER for us to act. If we look at us as part of NATURE- call it GOD or the other way, we all are part of the larger universe. Obviously, moral tennets are man contrieved when siciety was formed, primitive or not. Even animals and plants, live with in it to survive, but we as man kind, looking for higher power to our rescue. Just as all living creatures modify, man kind is still looking for an out side help. We are still babies and yet trying to survive. Some species, survive, others die. Does the same apply to those horrid creatures- Bacteris and Viruses, modify for survival or even advance their offsprings. We keep fighting them, but they keep fighting back. Mankind has not made enough to survive even under the most destructive moments. Man is numbed and looks for God to save us- every thing in the universe is DARK(BLACK), but we all know the speed of LIGHT, but do we know the answer to the speed of DARKNESS, we escape it saying light is when we can see. We have leant how to squabble on issues, but solutions are only compromises- not over coming. We fight for FREEDOM and PRIVACY, as if this solves every thing. When it does not work we turn to GOD. This shows how helpless we are. We fight for GREEN movement with out understanding the nature. The UNIVERSE itself is Dynamic- our arrogance refuses it. Man is not STATIC but lacks adaptability. We seek pleasure and when we get it, we thank GOD, when it fails, we blame the ALMIGHTY. We have to be Dynamic as a species, like all other living creatures.

  • PSolus

    Thomas Paul Moses Baum”The people of Jesus’s day did not refer to Him as a “delusional moron” as you did to me but some did think that He was crazy, so I take this as putting me into Good Company, thank you.”With that statement, you perfectly illustrate your delusion — congratulations.Don’t worry, be happy.Peregrine Bartleby Rumplestiltskin Solus

  • orthodoxheathen

    Working to save the earth is a noble goal, but not one that draws any support from Jesus. Yes, Jesus asked us to treat each other well, but in terms of worlds, he clearly wanted us to be more focused on the next one than on this one. Based on scripture, I imagine that if someone told Jesus the planet was dying, his response would be, “Don’t sweat it — just make sure you’re ready for Heaven.”

  • douglaslbarber

    How does a person with the values Mr. Strand articulates justify killing flesh-eating bacteria with antibiotics in order to save human patients? What rule of thumb determines which non-human creatures have a “right” to our deference? What, in principle, is the difference between an endangered species of minnow, and the HIV virus?

  • infantry11b4faus

    do unto others is not the foundation of being a Christian. Believing the Jesus Christ was the son of God and is therefore God is the moral foundation of being a Christian.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    This is an awfully idiotic essay as others have noted. According to various Christian web sites, Jesus supports particular basketball and football teams, so why not ecological soundness, as well?Certainly, an essay extolling the religious significance of preserving and honoring the earth would be welcome, even to this atheist. Christian populist man-godism, however, is silly, and not only to atheists, but to intelligent Christians as we see.Surely, there are more substantive ways to deal with this issue from a Christian perspective.

  • Dermitt

    If it results in profits there will be more of it. If it produces losses it is pollution. Toxic assets are toxic and are really liabilities.

  • Chagasman

    Overpopulation is killing the earth, thanks to the anti-birth control ideology of the Catholic church, the evangelicals, the Mormons, Islam, and many other religions. The human race is still as dumb as rocks, breeding more like animals than intelligent beings. The only hope of all other species of living things that inhabit the earth is that we finish ourselves off through war, famine, and environmental disaster before we render the entire earth uninhabitable. The only hope left for intelligent humans is that God comes down and raptures to heaven (or hell) not only the evangelical Christians but also the true believers of Islam. The world will be relieved of much the excess human population. Those of us who remain will be able get on with our lives in peace.

  • arancia12

    Most of the Christians I know cite the part of the Bible where God gave man “dominion” over the earth and all the plants and animals on it. They tell me that means we can exploit the earth however we wish because God will provide.

  • Chaotician

    If the man existed, maybe; but it is a clear that those who use his name in their racketeering schemes have no interest in anything except those shekels charged for the promised land and earthly abundance. The notion that Jesus would save Earth when Poppa has been Hell-bent on destroying is not going to happen…in our lifetime!

  • BlueTwo1

    You will get somewhat better results praying to Jesus than praying to Standard Oil or to the GOP. Face it. The business of America is business. Any proposed action that interferes with the flow of money into businesses or causes any inconvenience to business will be hectored to death. That’s true even when inaction likely will cause death and destruction down the pike.

  • aussiebarry

    we are not worried about”Mother Nature” we are worried about our survival.The “Earth” could not care less if we or anything else survives, it will still go on hanging around in space until it is burnt up by the sun’s final expansion and collapse. We are just an accidental result of other mass extinctions. We can try to limit the damage we have done and thus preserve ourselves and other species for a little longer, or not, The “World” doesn’t care.

  • cornbread_r2

    If you interpret the OT’s great flood story literally, then Jesus, as the eternally existing second person of the Trinity, killed almost every living thing on the face of the planet for no apparent reason. If you don’t interpret it literally, but still believe in an intentional Christian God, then Jesus has caused other numerous periodic mass extinction events. In either case, asking if Jesus was, or could be, a tree-hugger, seems ludicrous.

  • llewjones

    “Can Jesus Save Nature?” implies that he has the power to do so. The real question is does this apparently all powerful Jesus want to?It seems he hasn’t desired this in the past because fauna and flora have been going into extinction at a phenomenal rate long before we humans were on the earth. As far as the future is concerned his expositors in the NT tell us he plans to destroy this present earth and replace with a better one.

  • cleverdave1

    JESUS WAS THE IMPERFECT SON OF GOD! HIS FATHER MIGHT WANT TO SAVE US…MAYBE HE WON’T!

  • dotellen

    On September 4 TPMB wrote, “…Believing that God created the earth and all that is in it and besides that, the entire universe and that human life is sacred should lead one to take care of and share creation. …”You don’t need that “human life is sacred” stuff to feel responsible for respecting ALL of God’s creation, and besides it is so ARROGANT (and convenient) for human beings to judge God’s creation and decide that they are the best thing ever created.

  • rcvinson64

    Religion has not stopped us from killing ourselves or destroying the environment. It is tool to plunder pockets and justify murder. Jesus, Allah and Vishnu are fairies created to con folks.

  • nosova

    scripture, the word of God, clearly commands us to worship the creator, not the created.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    Had Chris Columbus and Leif Erickson and the Jesuits come to this land to be taught instead of teach they would have learned all the principals of God and Jesus. Instead we have preached the Gosp. of the Catholics, Lutherans-Missouri syn-Wis syn etc, United Penticostals,United Methodists, Episcopal, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ,Episcopals, Assembly of God,The Non-Denomational Denomations – etc etc etc. The only thing they all agree on is the others are all wrong. The Greatest lesson I ever learned years ago in life and I’m 72 now came from a very retarded 11 year old girl who was watching me water my garden. She came up to me, pointed to the flowers raised her arms up to the sky and went Ahhhhhhh. Put that one in your Gospel Book.

  • topwriter

    Never mind what would jesus do … what will you do? It’s interesting how, as the world burns and species day everyday, everyone seems to forget that, according to the bible, we were put here to care for the created because the creator told us to.No angelic cavalry garbed in robes and possessed of long beard is going to save us. We are alone. A terrible thought to many of you for sure, but it does make everything our responsibility and everything our fault.Deal with it.

  • MarineBugler

    If I remember correctly, North America was doing just fine, in ALL aspects, until Bible wielding Christians decided to ‘save’ the land from the ‘savages’ who were here first. I wonder what they thought of Jesus. If it ain’t conservative or a corporation, then it has absolutely no value. Right? Keep it simple folks.

  • Utahreb

    We have choice – and too many forget that. We can make good or bad choices as humans and that is what affects our planet and its future.The wildfires in California are a good example. For 60 years the underbrush and trees, some dead or dying, were allowed to remain and people built in the midst of those forests oor at its edges without clearing enough around their homes. That was their choice and some suffered great losses.Some people build on the edges of the shore in Florida and suffer great losses from hurricanes and floods. We do not build strong enough levees and other guards in areas like Louisiana and then blame Mother Nature.We have made choices – some good, some bad. Christians especially should realize that one of the most precious gifts from God is that of choice. If we do not use it wisely, then we suffer the consequences.

  • Utahreb

    We have choice – and too many forget that. We can make good or bad choices as humans and that is what affects our planet and its future.The wildfires in California are a good example. For 60 years the underbrush and trees, some dead or dying, were allowed to remain and people built in the midst of those forests oor at its edges without clearing enough around their homes. That was their choice and some suffered great losses.Some people build on the edges of the shore in Florida and suffer great losses from hurricanes and floods. We do not build strong enough levees and other guards in areas like Louisiana and then blame Mother Nature.We have made choices – some good, some bad. Christians especially should realize that one of the most precious gifts from God is that of choice. If we do not use it wisely, then we suffer the consequences.

  • pgr88

    Can Jesus save the environment??? Would Jesus approve of the South Beach Diet? Would Jesus be able to hit a major-league fast ball?I have a hard time telling whether this “On Faith” column is satire or not.

  • arancia12

    scripture, the word of God, clearly commands us to worship the creator, not the created.I can’t begin to say how offensive I find this post. Taking care of the environment is in no way “worshipping” it. Do I worship my home? No, but I do take care of it. I fix what breaks and I keep it clean. It too will pass away but while I occupy my home I will be a good steward of it. We are commanded to treat our bodies as temples. They too will pass away, but God created them and we ignore his warning at our own peril. God created all in the world and what gives any of us the right to destroy what God has created? Mr. Leroux should take caution in thinking he knows the mind of God. His arrogance is astounding.

  • jamesbatic

    The writer seems to have lost his mind. The poster who wondered if this article was satire was right on target.Dragging poor Jesus, kicking and screaming, into the writer’s personal musings about the environment is abusive and disrespectful. Hasn’t Jesus suffered enough?Here’s a philosophical question: If Jesus read this article, would he tell the author that as a writer, he would make a good blacksmith? Or would he refrain and leave it up to God to judge him – and his works?This article reminds me of Homer Simpson’s question about Jesus: “Could Jesus microwave a burrito that was so hot that he himself could not eat it?” And even that was more intellectually stimulating than this garbage!Strand, don’t quit your day job … whatever that is. And stop dragging Jesus into your deranged and tortured journeys of the imagination. It’s offensive.Here’s a quote from Jesus you would do well to meditate on: “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”Read it. Learn it. Live it.

  • qrxone

    While conversing with Jesus on my Cell earlier today, he advised me to continue praying to my stone idol, as he could do nothing that would offer any improvement.

  • TRACIETHEDOLPHIN

    Jesus couldn’t even save himself. People killed him and they’re going to kill the good mother as well. It’s what they do.

  • SteveSchofield

    This is not satire, it is just theologically deeper than most of you can comprehend. If Jesus is God incarnate as Christians believe, then it is crucial to understand His teachings about our relationship to this world that He created. Clearly Jesus teaches that not a sparrow falls without God’s providential knowledge. Psalm 104 provides a evocative description of the interelated system of nature that God has created and continues to renew through His Spirit. The Apostle Paul affirms that the invisible nature of God — even His eternal power and Godhead — are in evidence by the created works of His hand. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof . . .

  • kentigereyes

    What an idiotic article. The thing to know is that Mother Earth does not need mankind to exist. The reverse is the truth and mankind has blown it. I also believe that Jesus is a fictional character and that fact adds to the idiocy of this article. He, and God, were invented to control the majority of the population. People, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TFL, Ken

  • jamesbatic

    SteveSchofield wrote: This is not satire, it is just theologically deeper than most of you can comprehend. If Jesus is God incarnate as Christians believe …——————————————————————————————Here’s the voice of authority to inform us we are not smart enough to understand Strand’s writings …You start by claiming that Jesus was God. Can you cite any scripture to support your contention? I can cite 1,000 passages that disprove it.So-called “Christians” would do well to read the Bible; and not to believe whatever they are told by so-called religious “authorities.”"Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

  • douglaslbarber

    If I may leave Jesus to one side for the moment, my questions concern human efforts to formulate non-anthropocentric values, which is what I take to be Mr. Strand’s distinctive place in the spectrum of people who argue about religion.As best I can tell, a “value” is the result of a conscious human act. Rocks don’t engage in acts of valuation and neither do viruses or bacteria, to the best of my knowledge. Asking, “what is better, what is worse?” is a uniquely human undertaking on the planet I inhabit.I can well understand that as human understanding of humankind’s best interests broadens and deepens, humans assign higher and higher values to the survival of creatures and systems once thought worthy only of exploitation.Where Mr. Strand loses me is at the point where he suggests that allowing “humankind’s best interest” to be the ultimate value is an unjustified act of anthropocentrism.Again I ask: If that is unjustified, then how can the action of any antibiotic be justified? Was wiping Polio from the face of the earth an act of genocide akin to Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews?If not, why not?Based on what little I’ve read, I don’t think Mr. Strand can answer that question, and so long as he can’t, I don’t think he’s a particularly interesting voice when values (or if you prefer, “morals”) are at issue.Moses and Jesus were far more interesting, much deeper.

  • SteveSchofield

    As a theologically trained Minister, I guess I fit your definition of religious authority (even with the adolescent tone). For your perusal, I would suggest you start with: the myriad number of passages in the synoptic gospels where Jesus forgives sins, John 1:1-14, John 8:58, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:19-20, 1 John 5:20, Rev. 21:6-7, etc. May He who is the light of the world enlighten you; grace and peace to you.

  • jamesbatic

    douglaslbarber wrote: If I may leave Jesus to one side for the moment, my questions concern human efforts to formulate non-anthropocentric values, which is what I take to be Mr. Strand’s distinctive place in the spectrum of people who argue about religion.——————————————-You are beginning with a false premise – the idea that Strand is concerned here with “anthropocentric values.”Anthropocentrism is the practice of evaluating reality exclusively in terms of human values. Although there is a small amount of language in the piece which might suggest such, a careful reading of the article does not show any real treatment of the subject.Humans are barely capable of evaluating reality in human terms; why would anyone suppose they would be capable of evaluating reality in terms of “tree values” or “animal values”?Humans have their hands full just discerning human values, and acting on them. To try to do more than this would be irrelevant and self-deceiving.When environmentalists ask us to “save the planet”, they are employing a tactic known in debate as “appeal to authority.” Who could be opposed to saving the earth?Environmentalists who were also non-anthropocentrists would be advocating mass suicide as the best way of relieving the earth from the harmful presence of mankind.I know of none who have done so …

  • douglaslbarber

    @jamesbatic, please give me your best exegesis of this text, which to my mind is the central argument of the article we’re discussing:”Were Jesus with us today, they tell us, he would replace the Golden Rule with the Green Rule: “Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you.”"Unfortunately, that rule still reflects a dangerous bias. It still uses human welfare as the yardstick by which we measure what is good for Nature, and that simply doesn’t work.”

  • douglaslbarber

    “Nature” is itself a human mental contruct. It has a history. We pour all sorts of human things into it.I defy anyone to define “nature” in a way that will elicit consensus.The mere fact that we need “consensus” in order to *define* nature ought to be a clue that what’s at issue here is human activity, not human reverence for some non-human entity.

  • jamesbatic

    douglaslbarber wrote: @jamesbatic, please give me your best exegesis of this text, which to my mind is the central argument of the article we’re discussing:”Were Jesus with us today, they tell us, he would replace the Golden Rule with the Green Rule: “Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you.”"Unfortunately, that rule still reflects a dangerous bias. It still uses human welfare as the yardstick by which we measure what is good for Nature, and that simply doesn’t work.”——————————————-You got me on “exegesis” – I had to look it up! :)This is some of the language I mentioned that might support your view of the article.He mentions a “dangerous bias” dangerous to whom? To Nature?And again, referring to the “Do unto the Earth” passage, he says that “simply doesn’t work.” Doesn’t work for whom? The Earth?Nowhere in the article does he seriously examine what nature’s point of view might be, or the earth’s. And, “Nature” is not one thing, but a myriad of interrelated life (and non-life).Does strand weigh the values of trees agains those of fish? Nowhere in the article is any discussion whatever of alternate value systems. The entire article is couched in terms of man and his interests; in spite of a few misleading phrases like the ones you mention.There is hardly any mention of non-anthropocentric value systems; let alone any serious treatment of such.Thanks for your response.

  • douglaslbarber

    @jamesbatic, I hate to send you back to the reference desk, but your reply is really a non-reply. My argument with the author who is apparently “your guy” is that it’s impossible to frame coherent values which are aesthetically appealing to humans without reference to human well being – and I guess I should add that I believe that reason can’t decide disputes between people who disagree about ultimate values.That doesn’t mean that reason is irrelevant to arguments about values. In this case, in fact, I think your guy falls before the sword of reason. By that, I mean that I don’t think that he can mount a consistent argument over the range of things that people dispute over, which is aesthetically appealing to many.

  • Nevermore531

    What an utterly idiotic question! Jesus doesn’t live here last I looked.Mother Nature need to be saved by humans, not some figment of the imagination!

  • jamesbatic

    To: davidlbarber:I just realized I said “anthropocentric” several times when I meant to say “non-anthropocentric”. If this affected your understanding of my views – my apologies.I was trying to rush through the post and lost sight of some of the nuances of the conversation …

  • douglaslbarber

    One more time, here’s what I take to be the heart of Clark Strand’s argument. I’d love to know what people make of it.”Were Jesus with us today, they tell us, he would replace the Golden Rule with the Green Rule: “Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you.”"Unfortunately, that rule still reflects a dangerous bias. It still uses human welfare as the yardstick by which we measure what is good for Nature, and that simply doesn’t work.”

  • ccnl1

    And there once again is the infectious probability wave, “Homeland1″ who enjoys disturbing all with his/her constant gibberish!!And one wonders if he/she has any reinforcing waves on these commentary pages??

  • coloradodog

    If it came to a vote as to who is more annoying, JJ or ccnl, I think it would be a tie.

  • coloradodog

    Jesus might be able to save the environment if his Huckabee followers stopped denying global warming and believing environmentalists are tree-hugging, bed-wetting, gay, Muslim, illegal Mexican, liberal, Marsist, commmunist socialists.

  • vig_raman

    The Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is the foundation of Christian moral teaching.I am not a Bin Laden sympathizer, but preaching Christian shiit as Golden Rules carries huge risk. The sooner people realize this fact the better it will be for us common Americans.

  • clarkstrand

    Thank you to everyone for a spirited discussion. I can’t address all of the ideas, thoughts, and concerns raised in the comments, but I thought I’d reply to one of the more common threads in the discussion.This is the approach that treats environmental concerns as if they were just another government lobby or other “special interest” group. It is hard for me to fathom the level of denial required to see the matter this way. I find myself wondering what such critics think their grandchildren are going to be using for drinking water, or how they imagine that the human population on the planet can survive at anything remotely approaching its current levels with half of the world’s biodiversity gone. What do they eat now, these holdouts against environmental conscience? And what do they plan to eat in the future? And where do they suppose that it is going to come from?Of couse, there are a few comments (mostly from one or two people it seems) who believe these questions are irrelevant because Jesus will decree a new heaven and a new earth in some kind of divine bailout. I hope they are right. But in that case I can’t imagine that he will be very happy with those who made such a bailout necessary in the first place. Presumably Jesus won’t be handing out any golden parachutes to the very wrong-headed people who wrecked the planet in the first place. Then again, these last-minute reprieve scenarios always tend to be advanced by people who believe in their own righteouness first and last of all. So presumably they aren’t too worried. I, for one, am worried and therefore want to do all I can…even though I, too, have faith.

  • Paganplace

    Well, they keep claiming the dude ‘saves’… About time he helped save something usefully. :) Sure and we can find something for him to do, while his followers are trying to make the world safe for exclusive heterosexuality and overpopulation. :)

  • ccates

    Jesus only saves souls.And redeems them for valuable prizes!

  • 4thwatch

    Hello Clark .. Not so fastA previous example of consensus science now debunked was Carl Sagan and others declaring the world was preparing to enter into nuclear holocaust, temperatures would fall dozens of degrees over many decades causing most of humanity to perish and it was all the industrialized nations fault.I fully expect such misleading information from politicians. Now the elite scientists advance such assertions as reality when in truth it is unsupported by evidence or proof. Is that science?Clark, earth belongs to God, Ex.9.

  • ThomasBaum

    infantry11b4fausYou wrote, “The central commandment of Jesus was not go green, it was “I am the Lord you God” with some variations. Not one of them deals with going green.”The “central commandment” of Jesus was and is LOVE.You then wrote, “And when Jesus comes back – there will not be universal forgiveness – there will be hell to pay for our sins.You do not seem to know what “Christianity” is about and that it is just part of God’s Plan which God has had since before creation and is unfolding before our very eyes and will come to Fruition.Two of the things I have said many times: God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affilliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.Jesus, Himself, went to hell by taking ALL of the sins of ALL of humanity upon Himself and God had and has a reason for God doing this. Jesus is God-Incarnate and He has extended the invitation to us to become active participants in God’s Plan for the salvation not only of All of humanity but also for ALL of creation.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth on the seventh day.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    dotellenYou wrote, “You don’t need that “human life is sacred” stuff to feel responsible for respecting ALL of God’s creation, and besides it is so ARROGANT (and convenient) for human beings to judge God’s creation and decide that they are the best thing ever created.”Actually, I do not find that it is arrogant or convenient but rather humbling that God created not only everything else but also us humans and gave us free will and also that God came up with a Plan even before creation which is for the “benefit” of all. Also the fact that God became One of us for numerous reasons.One of the things that I find arrogant is when people try to cram God down other’s throats when in reality what they are trying to cram down people’s throats are their own “conception” of God.God forces Himself on no one and yet some of us try to force God on others or at least our “conception” of God.A lot of people are in for quite a “shock” and this includes both “believers” and “non-believers”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    nosova You wrote, “scripture states God is a jealous God”.Yes it does, but if you think that the “jealousy of God” is in anyway related to the petty jealousy of man that you just don’t know.”My Thoughts are not your thoughts, My Ways are not your ways”.God loved and loves us so much that God went to the uttermost depths of hell and spiritual death so that ultimately ALL will be in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.God-Incarnate, Jesus, took ALL of the sins, wrongdoing, whatever one wishes to call it, upon Himself which is Part of the Trinity’s Plan since before creation and God’s Plan will come to Fruition.By the way, hell is not some kind of “monolithic place” that some seem to think that it is but is personally built by the occupant.You also wrote, “eternity is forever”.We seem to either forget or have never noticed that time itself is part of God’s creation and the seventh day will arrive in due time, God’s Time.The seventh day will last forever when as it says, “God Blest, Rested and made Holy”.God will not fit into any box, expecially the box that those that have “figured out the bible”, have built for God.”Christianity” is not about receiving a “get out of hell” card but is just part of God’s Plan that is not only for ALL of humanity but also for ALL of creation.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

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