Multi-Faith Australian Religious Leaders Demand ‘Climate Justice’ … to the Disservice of God, Human Flourishing and Science
Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist leaders in Australia “say climate change is impacting the future of religion,” ABC Radio News, Australia, reports.
It never quite becomes clear just how climate change would impact the future of religion, but one certainly gets the impression that one of the chief ways is by furthering religious syncretism — the watering down, compromising, and intermixing of doctrinal distinctives in the name of cooperation with other religions.
The article begins, “The world is in the midst of a climate change crisis with the average temperature for oceans the highest on record, and extreme heat and rain recorded across the globe this year.” Never mind that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which climate alarmists constantly hold up as the world’s most authoritative body, never refers to climate change as a “crisis” — or for that matter, a catastrophe, an emergency, or an existential threat — in its scientific assessment reports. For that language, you have to go to the exaggerations by UN diplomats and other politicians, as well as leaders of various environmental activist organizations, and the mainstream media.
Anyone moderately informed about climate and weather knows instantly that reporter Zena Chamas, writing for “Soul Search,” a regular ABC feature, knows little about either ocean temperature or extreme heat and rain.
Extreme Weather Hasn’t Gotten More Extreme
Have the oceans been warming? Yes — the upper 2,300 feet by about 1.5°F since 1900. That’s 0.15° per decade. But the vast majority of water in the oceans is way below 2,300 feet. The average depth is about 12,000 feet, and the deep, cold waters mix with the upper, warmer waters on scales so slowly they’re measured in millennia, not centuries. So there’s been hardly any warming down deep.
But the real laugher comes from her saying “extreme heat and rain [were] recorded across the globe this year.” Yes. They were. And they are every year. Somewhere. So are extreme cold and drought. Every year. Somewhere. And so are average heat and rain. Every year. Somewhere. That’s just the way it is with weather.
But there has been no upward trend in any extreme weather events during the “modern warm period” — not hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, heat waves, cold snaps. Nada.
Oh, well, so much for picky details like facts.
What do these religious leaders have to say?
Laughable Definitions of Justice
The report focuses on the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, or ARRCC, which says it “unites religious communities for climate justice.” It’s worth noting that the ARRCC’s 100 amount to under 7% of all Australia’s clergy, so it’s not clear that they’re representative.
But what are they saying? They demand “climate justice.”
Just what “climate justice” means is up for grabs, “justice” being a term in high demand lately. “Justice” demands racial reparations in California — people of today paying people of today for harms done by other people to other people 170 years ago, though the people of today never did those things, and the other people of today never suffered those things. “Justice” demands allowing members of previously aggrieved groups to steal from retail stores with impunity. “Justice” demands redistributing the world’s wealth in the name of “climate change,” as former IPCC co-chairman Ottmar Edenhofer has said.
But, at the very least, for the ARRCC, “climate justice” seems to require that religious people “take action against climate change.”
Apparently “Love” Demands That People of Faith Agree With These Notions
“I just don’t see how a religion can remain relevant if it doesn’t address [the climate crisis],” said Tejopala Rawls, an ordained Buddhist involved in the ARRCC. Why? Because — of course! — “the concept of universal love and kindness within Buddhism” requires it.
Oh, yes, I see. A must do B because love demands it. I hate to be a little crude here, but that’s the standard line of teenaged boys with their teenaged dates. “I love you, and if you loved me, you’d let me.” No, according to Romans 13:8-10, love is not the violation of any of God’s laws — including the laws against adultery and fornication — but the fulfillment of God’s laws.
So, no, love doesn’t demand everything somebody says it does. Certain details need careful attention — like, will this action really help, or will it hurt; will it help some at greater loss to others?
Spending trillions of dollars to fight climate change by switching from abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuels, which continue to provide over 80% of the world’s energy, to diffuse, unreliable, expensive wind and solar will slow, stop, or reverse the conquest of poverty around the world — all to prevent global warming that even the IPCC says would only reduce global gross domestic product per person by about 2.6% from a level that would already be nearly nearly nine times what it does now. And poverty is a far greater threat to human health and life than anything related to climate. That demand doesn’t seem very loving to me.
“Redefining” Their Understanding of a “Good Christian”
What else do these religious leaders say? Well, Sureka Goringe, National Director of Uniting World, the aid agency of the Uniting Church in Australia, says climate change is “redefining” what it means to be a “good Christian.” I guess the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the like aren’t enough — not to mention the Bible and faith in Jesus Christ.
The report quotes Dr. Goringe saying “climate change throws up deep philosophical and existential questions. Some people are seeking answers to those questions from their religion. For example, there have been several significant natural disasters, including tropical cyclones, earthquakes and severe weather storms in the Pacific region since 2014, all linked to climate change.”
“It’s about helping people understand,” she says “that, while climate change isn’t so much as God smiting you because you’ve done something wrong; but it is, in fact, a consequence of human behavior.”
Now, I’ve already pointed out that there’s been no increase in the frequency or intensity of any extreme weather events during the modern warm period. In fact, some have decreased, like tropical cyclones. But how Dr. Goringe thinks earthquakes are “linked to climate change” I can’t fathom. Nonetheless, supposedly good Christians are going to recognize, somehow, that these things are the consequence of unwise, even sinful, human behavior.
An Opportunity to Stand for True Religion in the Midst of Blindness
There is a tiny ray of light at the end of the ABC report, and it comes from Goringe. She says, “We have faith in a God who doesn’t give up and, out of the darkest night, God is that ray of light. There is no dark that cannot be penetrated by people who care for each other.”
Okay, true enough. But in the Bible, over and over, light is a metaphor for truth. Jesus says He is the true light that lightens the world. He says His followers are supposed to be the light of the world. He says He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but by Him. Which suggests that perhaps the Christians involved in the ARRCC should be evangelizing the Muslims, Buddhists, and other non-Christians. Somehow, I doubt any of that is going on. These people, after all, think climate change is redefining “what it means to be a good Christian.”
What we really see here is one of an ongoing series of instances of climate-alarmist politicians, activists, and even some scientists taking advantage of the gullibility and ignorance of self-professed “religious leaders” who blindly equate “love of neighbor” with spouting the climate-change catastrophist narrative and embracing its every policy.
Oh, for Christian leaders with the wisdom to recognize the deceptions and the courage to stand firm against them!
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is President of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.