If the Bible can be used for good, what’s the harm? This question comes up a lot in various forms, but the essential argument is if religious belief produces a good, then it’s good (or at least not so bad). This is typical ends justify the means belief. Of course it’s rarely as cut and dry as saying battering your wife is ok if it gets her to keep the house clean. No, it’s usually something like belief in an afterlife is ok because it cheers people up when their loved ones die or belief in a “higher power” is good because it got you off drugs or booze. Where’s the harm?
I could easily write a post about why both of those aren’t good, but in short, belief in an afterlife may make you feel good but it actually prevents you from facing and really dealing with someone’s death. You’re simply pretending the end wasn’t the end, and the problem compounds with the extra baggage of the rest of the particular religious beliefs. Same is true for programs like AA, where rather than having you face your addiction and strengthen your will and your self-reliance, it instead tells you you’re powerless and completely incapable of facing your problems without the help of some magical “higher power”, and then it’s only natural to carry that self-deprecating dependency to every other problem you might face.
Alright, so I’m rushing because what I really want to get to is this, the new “Green Bible”. Yes, a bible has been made to sell Christians on environmentalism. Unfortunately I don’t have access to this charming doorstop, but it seems in it you’ll find highlighted verses that refer to “God’s creation” in an effort to inspire Christian stewardship of the Earth. This is something put forth by something called “Creation Care” (which some of you may have heard of before on this podcast). So if the Green Bible and Creation Care gets people to save and protect the environment, what’s the harm?
First, again, we’re talking about requiring a lot of excess baggage here, or what McCain would call “pork”. Do we really need to buy into all that Christian nonsense just to accept that we should be more eco-friendly? Second, why should saving the Earth only be worth it because a god created it AND now you can point to verses in your holy book which imply you should take care of it? How about taking care of it because it’s all we currently have? How about negative health effects and shortages of resources? Hell, even if you’re a rich, selfish prick, you should see the practical benefits of renewable energy meaning you could then pay less to fuel your toys, or even make some coin off of the Green movement. The point is there are many real and rationally arrived at reasons for being more eco-friendly. Creating a new Bible to sway Christians (and perhaps non-Christians, too) seems superfluous, ridiculous, ultimately causing harm as well as good, and just another example of ends justify the means belief.
Now don’t get me wrong, this Creation Care stuff is better than say the Christians who feel that because their god created everything, man can’t possibly screw it up since it’s divine and man can’t hurt that which is divine. This is what prompts a lot of global warming denial (the more moderate crazies do acknowledge it but refuse to acknowledge man has anything to do with it, since, you know, it’s impossible because of that divine creation crap). I would much rather see people not drive SUVs, not litter, recycle, and so forth, but I really don’t like this means of getting them to do it. It’s always been inherently dangerous that because people put so much stock in a holy book, that if you can interpret parts of it just right, you can then make those people do what you want. Sure, the Bible was used to argue against slavery, but it was used to argue for it, too. The Bible was used to justify denying blacks equal rights in the US, and also to justify they deserve equal rights. For some time now the Bible has been used to reject environmentalism, so now the Green Bible champions it. What’s the harm? Hmmmm