When Ecology Replaces Theology

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Is saving the earth what remains when liberal churches are no longer concerned for the salvation of souls? Have these churches replaced theology with ecology?

    Frank Furedi is a British sociologist who teaches at the University of Kent. He is also a controversialist and a public intellectual. In a recent article published at Spike, Furedi suggests that some religious institutions are "busy reinventing themselves by promoting ecological virtues and preaching against the eco-sins of polluters." He offers a most interesting argument.

    Furedi contends that a crisis of authority has shaken many churches, and that modern societies the have largely given up on saving traditional morality. In his words:

    Sometime back in the 1980s, Western societies gave up on the project of rescuing 'traditional values' and morality. From time to time, conservative politicians and moral entrepreneurs have attempted to launch back-to-basics crusades promoting 'family values'. However, their lack of popular appeal has only exposed society's estrangement from these traditions. Indeed by the Eighties, even religious institutions found it difficult to uphold their own authority with conviction. Instead of influencing society many churches began to internalise the attitudes associated with the lifestyles of their increasingly individualised consumerist flock. The last quarter century has seen a steady diminishing of religious authority in Western societies. Debates about the role of women priests, homosexuality and marriage indicated that religious institutions have become confused about their own relationship to traditional values.

    Furedi suggests that these churches are now seeking to find a new platform in order to assert a new claim to authority within the culture. This new platform appears to be ecology and the goal of saving the earth.

    His argument is compelling:

    In recent years, some in the church have sought to gain the public's ear through the greening of traditional doctrines, and Christ the Saviour is fast becoming Christ the environmental activist. Western society is continually in search of rituals and symbols through which moral probity can be affirmed. It appears that, for many church leaders, the project of saving the planet offers more opportunities for reconstituting rituals and symbols than the saving of souls.

    It is not just the odd priest offering absolution through the ritual of eco-confession. Church leaders have embraced the rituals of eco-morality to demonstrate their commitment to a higher good. Absolution through carbon offsets appears to be the way forward.


    More Here
     
  2. Aaron

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    Enter Rick Warren . . .
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    don't drag this off topic
     
  4. donnA

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    it has become a religion of it's own, some christians are apparently replacing Christ with mother earth.
     
  5. Johnv

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    It's all well and good for churches to encourages its members to be good stewards of the earth. But this is not to be the prime purpose of a church.

    I would, however, refrain from casting an aspersion on a church just because it teaches good environmental stewardship. There are many, many churches that do so, which have not compromised the preaching of the Gospel at all. Neither would I presume doctrinal soundness simply because such a teaching is absent.
     
  6. fbcodr

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    I believe it can be a bad side issue if the Church allows it to be. It can be a good or bad side issue. When a side issue is put to the forefront, that's always bad.:thumbsup::jesus:
     
  7. ccrobinson

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    So, if you "green up" the doctrine of the blood, does that make Jesus a Vulcan? :smilewinkgrin:

    I hope you laughed, because that question is just as laughable as a church "greening" traditional doctrines. If you're going to make Christ an environmental activist, then you are no longer allowed to call yourself a church.
     
  8. Peggy

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    I shudder to think of the religion of Gaia replacing the gospel of Christ.

    However, I do believe that worshipping "Mother Earth", the ecology, and the environment really is a religion among many climate change scientists and their secular followers.
     
  9. windcatcher

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    I think much of this has to do with the indoctrination of society.... and while I think the media plays a huge role.... I believe our institutions of education and particularly our higher institutions are the ones mainly responsible. Its my understanding that the text books which are written and supplied to colleges and universities on the undergraduate and graduate level are mainly printed and supplied by 3 or 4 main publishers.

    These publishing houses are the gatekeepers of what they accept in textbook manuscripts and who and what is published........ and they make their determination based upon various factors which, in a nutshell of simplicity, can be summed up as politically correct. Because of the control which they exert on what is accepted as standards of 'higher' education and availability of texts.....it is reasonable to conclude that few if any private or religious institutions of higher education are able to avoid concessions to these text books in those accademic areas of general studies. This means that regardless of any previous foundations laid, professors are somewhat limited by their reliance on these instructional materials and students are limited also to what is supported in their text books and have limited time to research beyond the scope of course requirements and term papers which are narrow and too specific to venture far into oppositions.

    That being said..... secularism and humanism is strongly supported, and spiritual matters which would relate to salvation and the meaning of life.... become a redirected into preservation of the earth and dedication to it. Evolution is promoted as fact through out all course material... not just science, along with other theories, which are unproven, and opposing teachings such as 'intelligent design' may not be discussed at all unless offered as a specialty course or in a specific area of science. Evolution and preservation of the earth is presented even in a liberal arts ciriculum.... socialogy, philosophy, psychology, English/ languages, factors in mathmatics problems etc. It permeates the literature.

    "Liberal' education has come to mean that which destroys the traditions and challenges the beliefs of previous generations and opens the mind to new ways of thinking after removing or surpressing the 'indoctrination' of the past. A student is challenged to make his grades and past the tests according to the teacher's expectations.... and must be exceptionally gifted if equipped to make a sufficient challenge to his professors to obtain both grade and respect through a successful contest.

    This means..... that both those who are attending church and many who are leaders in the church are products of the educational system which endoctrinated and directed their interest and focus. It takes a while to expunge this brain washing by the experices of applied faith, living, and prayerful study of scripture. The processes of modern living discourages against the time this takes and presents what appears to be such immediate issues pertaining to the problems in the envronment, political policies and human misery, wars and justice, etc... that the distractions are great which are made to appear of immediate attention that the spiritual relevance is lost.

    It is unfortunate..... and has eternal consequences to those who seek spiritual refuge and might come to know God.... but who attend a church in which the emphasis is more of the same as the secular life in which they are already held bound .... and instead of hearing the gospel, they receive more earth worship or humanistic 'man saves himself' type of endoctrination. They may feel more comfortable by not being confronted with their mortality.... but it does nothing to present Jesus Christ for the saving of their souls or add meaning and value to their existance.

    Yes, I do believe it occurs somewhat more than it should throughout Christian denominations and even much of the literature which is supportive of 'church' training and Sunday School incorporates these messages.... sometimes with token pieces of scripture and equates interest in the envirnoment, or sympathy and sensitivity to social issues as a substitute for morality and confrontation with sin and its consequences. In such churches.... Sin, Judgenment, Hell, and the Blood of Jesus are avoided and uncomfortable subjects. Even the 'end times' gets transformed into saving the earth.... and globalism is promoted as the answer to man's quest for peace instead of finding attonemetn at the cross of Jesus Christ and comfort and peace in the holy spirit, and a looking forward to the coming of Jesus or an expectation of judgement.

    Fortunately, i don't detect it (environmetnalism) so much in evidence in the SBC which I attend.... and certainly not to the degree that it could be called a substitute for the gospel or morality. But one doesn't have to go far..... to a 'Christian' book store to find plenty of material which emphasize environmental issues or new age ideas and humanism.
     
  10. Marcia

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    I agree. It seems in so many cases that the culture is dictating the priorities of the church these days. Why didn't churches address this issue of stewardship of the earth in the 8th century, 18th century, 1901, 1935, 1955? Because environmentalism as such did not exist. But if stewardship of the earth is biblical and so important, then why is it only now that environmentalism and ecology are big in the culture that churches suddenly are jumping on board the Green Wagon?
     

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