Problems with Evangelical Beliefs
As an expression of New View, I have been working on a manifesto on climate change and global economy, and their common spiritual root - and the need for widespread work of the Holy Spirit if we are to tackle climate change. This is an email from Andrew Faraday in response to that manifesto, and I think it nicely portrays the problems specific to our fellow evangelical Christians, especially those in North America.
All you have written is very good but I still think you are only addressing part of the resistance to tackling climate change etc. with Christian principles. We have got to have the evangelical church on board fully if we hope to display Christian principles being used widely in this area. In the main the evangelical church is not engaged with climate change and is often hostile to the subject. I have listed below what I think are evangelical attitudes in this area which need to be confronted and modified or changed completely.
- We don't solve problems in our own strength - it is arrogant to try and we will fail.
- We solve problems by praying and waiting for God to act (may be a long time).
- God, when he acts, acts miraculously outside normal 'science'. He is not constrained by science. (e.g. he would just make the CO2 disappear miraculously.)
- Any social action should be on the personal level and definitely not enforced (that's communism / socialism to Americans!). No laws restraining personal freedom to consume etc.
- The widow's mite effect applies - effectiveness of action depends not on quantity put in but on 'heart' of the doer.
- Our greatest need is personal, spiritual salvation. We shouldn't be fussing about living standards possibly falling in the future.
- Any economic or resource problems are of our own making - so we should suffer the consequences. It may be God's punishment on us and we cannot escape it however hard we try.
- This world is only temporary - roll on the second coming!
- Arrogant 'science' refuses to acknowledge God so why should we listen to it. It can't even see creation properly and invents big bangs and evolution etc. Why should it be right about global warming?
I think they may also be an unconscious attitude which says 'God has blessed us in the west because we have responded to the gospel over many, many years. If the third world suffers more from climate change in the future they are paying the price of their forefathers' sins in not responding to the gospel'.
That is my take on the world view of many evangelicals. It will be a harder task convincing them than many of the non-believing rest. That is why I think it is imperative you focus on evangelicals well.
Created: 31 May 2009
by Andrew Basden. but mostly from Andrew Faraday's email.