Does Extinction Rebellion want to prevent extinction? Or encourage it?

1Consider what immense love the Father has given us in that we should be called Sons of God.

1 John 3: 1 – The Keys of the Kingdom Bible

10aIn this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us…..

1 John 4: 10a – The Keys of the Kingdom Bible

With thanks to Bob Moran

‘Scientific evidence confirms that natural cycles, volcanic activity, galactic cosmic rays and changes in solar activity from sunspots have had a negligible effect on our current temperature rise.’

‘There is nothing magical about the greenhouse effect. We know exactly how to deal with it.’

So states the website of ‘Extinction Rebellion’.

Wow! My mind boggles at how the tests for that ‘scientific evidence’ could have been designed, measured and recorded. In view of the (I think generally accepted evidence) that average global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degree Celsius since 1800, ie by an average of 0.005 degrees C per year, I can only imagine the astonishingly clever ways in which they can state with such certainty that all of those things have had a ‘negligible effect’ on what is such a small number! And presumably they’re confident about the absolute accuracy of the global temperature measurements from a barely-discovered world, dating from 200 years ago?

It’s partly because of the fantastical claims of statements like these, that I feel that in centuries to come, historians of this period will be struck by a number of questions:

  • How on earth could people in the early 2020s, only a couple of hundred years after the first faltering steps of the Industrial Revolution, have claimed to be so omniscient? Where did such extravagant arrogance of certainty originate? Surely the period 2020-2022 had proved to them that they didn’t even fully understand how their own bodies functioned?
  • In view of this astounding level of accuracy and certainty about such incredibly complex matters as climate science, how did people become so pessimistic about the future of the planet? Why did they not think that maybe such clever scientists would find solutions, without people having to suffer huge privation?

You might find the title of this blog to be an odd question to ask, but I wonder if any of you reading this have been as struck as I’ve been, by the fact that these campaigners are so often uniformly pessimistic and lacking in any hope in the future? Is it a coincidence that there’s such a close connection between these campaigners and those advocating eugenics? I remember, many years ago, thinking that the early campaigners had all ignored the ‘elephant in the room’ ie the contribution to global warming of the inexorable rise in the world’s population. It would now seem that there’s a belated acknowledgement of this, but there’s still a hesitation to state publicly that ‘global warming’ can only be dealt with by some accidental, or even deliberate, reduction in population? I was shocked to read this week that the population of Pakistan has grown by 50 million in the last twelve years.

The statements about global warming often remind me of this quotation from Jonathan Swift, whom I studied 55 years ago:

‘But what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wringed and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.’

(The King of Brobdingnag addresses Gulliver in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, published in 1726)

I surely can’t be alone in having heard stories of children being terrified of the pronouncements that our planet is going to burn up, with the loss of all life? What gives people the right to terrify an entire generation? Do we not have a duty to deal with adult problems as we can as adults, whilst protecting the next generation from visions of apocalypse, before they’re ready even to understand the nuances of the arguments?

People often ask people like me what gets in the way of people adopting Christianity. I think the best answer is the inability, for whatever reason, to accept that God loves you. For accepting that, whatever you do, you’re still a beloved child of God, is Christianity’s greatest gift. And with that comes a necessity to accept that your fellow citizens are also and equally God’s beloved children.

I’m struck by the stark difference between the Christian view of life, that God loves us and cares what happens to us, and the ‘Brobdingnag/Extinction Rebellion view’ that we are a ‘pernicious race of little odious vermin’.

There seems to be, in some circles, a view that we have to ‘deal with the climate issue’, even if it is at the expense of mankind; that people may have to suffer, or even die out completely, in order to save the natural world.

As two small examples:

  • Should we condemn the millions in the third world who have to cook using animal dung, to give up breeding and eating animals in the interest of reducing CO2 emissions? Or are they expected to use insect dung?
  • Why do we care about those who die from excessive heat, but not care at all about the much larger numbers who die of cold every winter, nor about those who are dreading the coming winter?
  • I can’t help thinking that if God loves us, then He would surely want us to thrive and flourish and be happy? And are not the future of the planet and us inextricably linked?

I fear that those who have such an apocalyptic view of the world have stepped into what Nick Hudson describes as a ‘God-shaped hole.’ We have deliberately, in cold blood, abandoned God, and have replaced Him with a vision of hell. No wonder mental health problems are soaring globally!

Christianity is nothing if not a vision of hope and optimism in the light of God’s love for us. If we claim to have any faith at all, and if we care about our fellow citizens at all, we’re called to comprehensively reject such a vision of doom and disaster.

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will breathe into us a sense of care for others and that those who govern us will make decisions based on what will improve the lives and mental health for our fellow, equally loved citizens. Amen

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