What Fundamentalists Believe About… Global Warming

Welcome to the first of a new series. It should more accurately be called What I Used To Believe About… but that wouldn’t be as good for SEO. Fundamentalists can’t be lumped into one big group. Aside from a handful of core tenets (Jesus is the Son of God who rose from the dead, the Bible is inerrant), you can’t say “This is what all fundamentalists believe” with any authority.

Of course, as I’ve already argued, the fact that fundamentalists claim to take the Bible literally, yet can’t agree on the interpretation of all but a few points, should shoot the whole thing down before we start. But that doesn’t seem to put them off, so we’ll fight on.

I’m going to tell you what I believed, and I’ll cite books and videos where I got my ideas, to prove I wasn’t the only one.

Recycling and the Christian Right

Doesn’t it seem odd to you that the Christian Right is strongly associated with climate change denialism? How does this square with God’s command to replenish the Earth? You would think, would you not, that the proper Christian response to environmentalism would be that, as good stewards of God’s Creation, they should do all within their power to save the earth. In fact, that’s not what we see.

There are three reasons for this. Two you might be able to guess, and the third I can almost guarantee you hadn’t seen coming.

1. Jesus Will Come Back Before Anything Bad Happens

The Christian Right is expecting the Rapture any minute now. If you’re lucky enough not to know what this is, they believe that’s when all True Christians (ie, them) will suddenly disappear into heaven. Most non-fundamentalists are hoping for a sudden disappearance of the Christian Right too, but so far no luck. They believe this rapture will precede a seven year tribulation, a time of the most unimaginable suffering when the wrath of God is poured out upon those who rejected Him, before the end of the world. This is when the Antichrist will come to power and the whole world will be one big Iron Maiden video.

At the end of the tribulation, there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). So what does it matter if the Earth is in bad shape? It’s going to be rebuilt anyway! Luke 21:25 is also interpreted by many believers as an indication to expect freak weather patterns in the Last Days. So when climatologists tell us that hurricanes and tsunamis could be related to global warming, it’s all part of the Divine plan.

For these fundamentalists, predictions of fossil fuels running out make total sense. It shows God’s infinite wisdom! He put just enough resources in the ground to last until the end of the Age. If we’re running out of oil, that’s just more evidence that Jesus is coming soon.

2. Fundamentalists Are Used to Denying Science

Those scientists! They’re always indulging in conspiracies. For example, they’re always suppressing the evidence for Creationism. Creationists seriously think that evolution is shaky at best, but there’s a big effort by Science to hush up all the problems with it so they won’t have to believe in God. Climate change is just another example of scientists silencing the evidence that disagrees with them, in order to promote their agenda. Denying climate change is a logical step from Creationism. In fact, in their minds, it bolsters their argument.

3. Ecology is Part of the New Age

Particularly in the late 80s, but continuing through to today, there is a great deal of hysteria in the fundamentalist church about the New Age Movement. This is linked to everything from Satanic Ritual Abuse to the United Nations. The New Age Religion, they say, is a front for everything from devil worship to a conspiracy for One World Government (on which more in a later post). The New Age Movement, argues Pat Robertson in his book New World Order, can “syncretise with any religion except Christianity.”

Because the New Age movement is an amorphous body of inclusive beliefs, it is anathema to Christians who hold that Jesus is the only way to God!!!!!! These Christians argue that the New Age Movement’s agenda is to destroy Christianity.

Frank Peretti, for example, is the bestselling fundamentalist author; he almost single-handedly launched the genre of Christian fiction. In his bestsellers This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness (3.5 million copies sold), New Age conspirators threaten to destroy the church through universities, governments, and schools. The stories are told on two levels: You see the interaction between the human characters, as well as a battle between the unseen forces of angels and demons.

In This Present Darkness, a pastor preaches about “saving the whales” and condemns cruelty to animals. This pastor turns out to be the villain. He is part of a group of Satanists trying to take down the church from the inside. In Piercing the Darkness, another bunch of Satanists again take on the church, and they have a “religious devotion to Mother Earth.” At their headquarters a man gives a talk on “Ecology: The Merging of Earth and Spirit.” A good thing, right? Not exactly:

“The demons among them were enjoying it as well. Such worship and attention as they were now receiving was like getting a good back rub.”

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, but Peretti was writing fiction.” Yes, but it’s marketed as plausible. The dust jacket on my edition describes them as “chillingly realistic.” And every Christian I knew read them.

Carman is one of Christian rock’s biggest selling artists, and he holds the record for the best attended Christian outdoor and indoor concerts (80,000 and 72,132 respectively). In the 1990s, his Time 2 TV show ran on TBN in the US and the Christian Channel Europe (now the God Network). There’s a genius episode called New Age: The Deadly Deception, which you can buy on his site, in which he gathers the Christian Right’s leading experts on the New Age to explain the conspiracy.

Johanna Michaelsen tells us “What they’re seeking to do is bring about a One World government. We hear about the New World Order.”

Paul McGuire chimes in: “The downside to a New World Order and One World government is that Christianity will be the enemy of the Superstate.”

Chilling stuff. And then Carman’s voice intones, “Every day you are invited to join them, through seemingly noble and innocent causes.”

How exactly? Bill Honsberger explains: “Much of what goes on [at] the recycling plants here is all part of the New Age… One can begin to worship ecology. And much of the reward, if there is monetary reward, goes to help their causes.”

So there you go. By recycling, you’re putting money in the pockets of organisations which are a front for devil worshippers and which seek to destroy Christianity. It’s a conspiracy promoted by atheist scientists, and anyway Jesus is coming back later this year, so it’s irrelevant anyway.

Not to panic you or anything, but people who believe this stuff help fund the Republican party. And while they’re much quieter in the UK, there’s evidence they’re on the move here too.

About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on June 6, 2012, in Christianity, Creationism, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’m afraid you right about a lot of this Jonny. But to balance the ledger a little, there are a lot of climate change deniers who are not christians of any sort (e.g. the Murdoch press – one of Australia’s more toxic exports!!!), and there are a lot of christians who are strong environmentalists.

    I worked in environment protection for many years, and had the opportunity to learn a lot about the impacts of western culture. I was able to talk to climate change modellers, and I support decisive action now (if not sooner!). We have recycled in our family for more than 40 years (my wife has always been a passionate recycler and we had to drive all over the place to get our tins and paper and bottles to the rare places the recycled in those early days).

    But conspiracy theorists cannot generally be convinced, whether they are climate change sceptics or historical Jesus sceptics (just thought I’d throw that in there!).

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks for coming by again Unkle E. For sure, there are Christians of all stripes working against global warming too. Glad to hear you’re among ’em.

    • “we had to drive all over the place to get our tins and paper and bottles to the rare places the recycled”

      I am afraid that I had to laugh at that.

  2. What, I’m not supposed to recycle or believe in global warming now? I wish I knew that before our blue bin was collected this morning… 🙂

  3. You must be reading my mail. I was just thinking of posting on this topic. I remember viewing a Creationist video at a Christian bookstore a few years back. They used the example of global cooling from the 70’s as an example of why climate scientists can’t be relied on.

    Of course, this misses the whole point that science is not dogma. Back in the 70’s, climate scientists were unsure if increased particulates would cause global cooling, or if increased atmospheric carbon would cause a greenhouse effect. Since the late 80’s, the overwhelming conclusion has been that the evidence for warming will outweigh any cooling effect.

    My guess is that most Christians are primed to disbelieve science because their creationist beliefs demand distrust in the scientific evidence for Evolution.

  4. “I am afraid that I had to laugh at that.”

    Yes, we had to wonder whether the gain was worth the petrol consumed, but mostly we fitted it in with other travel.

  5. “My guess is that most Christians are primed to disbelieve science because their creationist beliefs demand distrust in the scientific evidence for Evolution.”

    I think you are broadly right, but I’d modify slightly from my experience:

    1. In my experience (middle class Australia), most christians are not dogmatic about evolution, and I would think most accept it.

    2. I think evolution would be more accepted if scientists like Richard Dawkins didn’t link it so strongly to atheism. I think many would subconsciously think if you can’t trust a scientist to separate his science from his dogma, then maybe you can’t trust him about his science. I understand where Dawkins is coming from – anti-religion seems more important to him than science – but I think the more agnostic and less dogmatic approach of scientists like Martin Rees, David Sloane Wilson and others is more helpful to science and to truth.

    3. There are other scientific issues that worry christians – the most obvious being stem cell research and other reproductive engineering (though I note Francis Collins is OK with most of this) and GM foods.

    • ..’I think evolution would be more accepted if scientists like Richard Dawkins didn’t link it so strongly to atheism. I think many would subconsciously think if you can’t trust a scientist to separate his science from his dogma, then maybe you can’t trust him about his science.’..

      Richard Dawkin’s dogmatic view towards religion is just that dogmatic and nothing more. It’s just that much of what the fundamentalist believe is not what he would call good religion. He knows his science and therefore is very anti ‘creationist belief’ for what they teach as ‘science’. He fights against the anti-evolution but I wouldn’t cool him anti-religious. Being an atheist should not label him as anti-religious. He just doesn’t have a belief in God/s. If he was to be shown evidence for a God/s, then I am sure he would then be a believer. Heck so would I!

      • Hi Tess, thanks for your comment.
        “Richard Dawkin’s dogmatic view towards religion is just that dogmatic and nothing more.”
        I’m not sure what you mean by dogmatic in this context. That sounds like a criticism of Dawkins to me, but then the rest of your comment defends him. Anyway, glad to have you here.

  6. “Being an atheist should not label him as anti-religious. He just doesn’t have a belief in God/s.”

    I’m not sure whether this is worth discussing, but I feel this isn’t true. Scientists like David Sloane Wilson (atheist) and Martin Rees (agnostic) put their science first, and would rather help christian people to a better understanding of science. These guys, and many others I have read, are critical of Dawkins and a few others who want to link science and anti-religion so strongly that they argue that a christian should not be acceptable in a scientific position, and thereby turn some christian people away from science – hence my comment that his anti-religion seems to be more important to him than his science.

    He is, of course, entitled to his viewpoint, but it’s not helping science in my opinion, and that’s the conclusion of some of his fellow scientists too.

  7. John F. Willcutts

    Keep Preaching “Global Warming” Brother/Sister. Intersting to note that the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conversation Service, outlawed the term, “Global Warming”, in their political P.R. “information” literature, to only allow “Climate Change”, since they are politically correct or religiously acceptable to the conversationists, who changed their name from the dirt dabber, Soil Conservation Service, to the notorious NRCS, so they could get away with mere talking and no longer be required to get their habds dirty or possibly damage their manicures by getting some dirt under their nails, a total disgrace in “God” (i.e. jealous, greedy, beligerant, egotistical ManGod) “Bless” (i.e. by cursing everyone else living everywhere else and not attending their churches) “America” (i.e. named for Amerigo Vas Puchi or Fart, and taken away from those heathen native aboriginals not worthy of the gospel or thier homeland by Providence, Manifest Destiny and Emminent Domain, as according to Joshua chapter 12, etc.)
    You better believe or else, uh you might miss the rapture and goto the White Male made MadGod of “Love” eternal Hell with fire and brimstone and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Honestly, having to hang out forever in “Heaven” with a bunch of sadistic hypochristains laughing as the look down on the eternal suffering of those buring alive forever in Hell, hanging with these stuckout, destructive elitist warmongers, that sounds like total Hell to me.

    Be Fruitful, like plant fruit and nut trees now, or this winter, and “Replenish the Earth” and compost pile, etc.
    Take care of our/your Home, or uh Home Planet = Great GrandMother Earth, She’s Great, She’s Grand and She’s our Mother.
    The King James Bible, is the only translation that states, “Replenish the Earth”, like nuture, take care of, restore to former beauty and natural Goodness. The King James is also the only translation that refers to the Earth in the feminine gender, like after Cain kills able and the Earth will no longer yield forth “Her” strength, and “Jesus of Nazareth”, that prophet/savior, son of Mary, remember, the carpentar too who was crucified at the demands of the religious leaders, historical equivalent of T.V. preachers, etc, in the Gospel of Mark chapter 4 said, the Earth brings forth Her fruit … a hundrefold, among his agarian parables, etc.

    Praise Goddess, and put away the Man Wrath and War for much needed Peace and trees…

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