The Genesis of arrogance toward nature.

Ecologically-minded Christians need not take offense, but there's a common correlation between fundamentalism and indifference, or even disdain, toward nature. Creationists who take the following passage literally can't see Man (in evolutionary terms) as part of a larger system that doesn't grant special privileges to humans.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:28)

The above is interpreted in different ways but it clearly states that Man's will is far more important than the status of other life-forms. Thus, it's no surprise that many fundamentalists are not keen on protecting species or wilderness that stands in the way of "human expansion." Probably 90% of anti-environmentalists are religious and they give more credence to a 2,000 year-old book than all the scientific evidence of human impact.

These people can't fathom the idea that they aren't part of some supernatural scheme, without which their lives would have no meaning. There's a desperate, fearful quality to their beliefs, which is why they invent elaborate "scientific" explanations for every Biblical talking point. When one fable gets debunked, they just dream up another. Logic gets kicked around like a soccer ball in the arena of blind faith.

Even if they do acknowledge Man's role in environmental problems, Creationists claim that God will be the final judge, conveniently deflecting any logical arguments. Former Interior Secretary James Watt was a prime example of this myopia, with his belief that rapid resource consumption was justified because The Rapture would render everything moot.

If you have any doubts about the connection, read this quote from the environment chapter in Rush Limbaugh's 1992 book, "The Way Things Ought To Be." Every time Limbaugh decries the latest environmental warning, keep this in mind.

"My views on the environment are rooted in my belief in Creation. I don't believe that life on earth began spontaneously or as a result of some haphazard, random selection process; nor do I believe that nature is oh-so-precariously balanced. I don't believe that the earth and her ecosystem are fragile, as many radical environmentalists do. They think man can come along, all by himself, and change everything for the worse; that after hundreds of millions of years, the last two generations of human existence are going to destroy the planet. Who do they think we are? I resent that presumptuous view of man and his works. I refuse to believe that people, who are themselves the result of Creation, can destroy the most magnificent creation of the entire universe."

Note how often Limbaugh uses the word "believe" in that paragraph. His is a faith-based reality, not a scientific one. Ignoring exponential growth, he trivializes the impact of "the last two generations" which added billions to the world's population and subdivided wilderness. He also contradicts his own beliefs by citing "hundreds of millions of years." Wasn't it a six day process, with Sunday to rest? Genesis 9:29 says Noah lived to be 950 years old, so Limbaugh can't pretend days are really eons in Canaan-speak. That's how Creationists try to evade the results of radioisotope dating. The meaning of Scripture can change in mid-sentence if it suits their argument.

With his "Who do they think we are?" line, Limbaugh uses a common false humility tactic. Man is all-important one minute, then a humble, feeble creature the next. Incapable of starting a nuclear war? Incapable of damming and diverting major rivers? Incapable of rendering hundreds of significant species extinct? Incapable of injecting enough CO2 into the atmosphere to upset the heat-balance we've counted on for centuries? Evidence shows us to be the most destructive species the planet has ever spawned.

Since many fundamentalists are unwilling to see Man's impact as detrimental, they conclude that environmentalists can only be motivated by "socialist" desires to control the human race. But religious zealots are the ones with the worst egos, claiming to have found the meaning of life while others wallow in depravity. To justify their vision, they make themselves scientifically illiterate and ignore the pillaging of nature. Ask hard questions of these people and ye shall find their motives.

"My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns."
(James G. Watt, Secretary of the Interior under Reagan)

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