Jesus is Coming. Look Busy.

jesus.jpgEditor’s note: Chad Crawford, our regular writer on the intersection of religion and the environment, is taking some vacation time this week, so we’re pleased to offer another post from one of Professor Siman Sethi’s students in her Media and the Environment course at the University of Kansas. Writer Lauren Keith originally published this post to the course blog on Tuesday, March 11, 2008.

Are you there, God? It’s me, global warming.

When I logged on to Facebook yesterday, I was disturbed to see that my two least favorite things (organized religion and Yahoo! Inc.) have friend requested my best buddy, the Green Movement.

And the Green Movement accepted their friend request.

In a story posted yesterday on Yahoo! Green (which I had no idea existed until 12 hours ago), the Catholics’ second-in-command declared pollution a sin.

According to the article, the Pope has made a decent fuss about environmental problems, enough so to scare some churches to invest in eco-palms for this year’s Palm Sunday.

As much as I disagree with everything else the Pope stands for, I like seeing a major religion acknowledge and combat the climate crisis. In fact, the Vatican announced plans last summer to become the world’s first carbon-neutral state. Yahoo’s article said that photovoltaic cells have been installed and that the Church has discussed the consequences of global warming.

Even though pollution is now one of the seven deadly sins, recent studies show that fewer Catholics are attending confession. It’s okay, sinners, the rest of the human race doesn’t want to own up to global warming yet either.

While Catholics only have a few new sins to steer clear of, I’ve compiled the Green Movement’s 10 “Greenmandments” to make sure the rest of us can also avoid eternal damnation.

And Mother Earth did spake:

I: Thou shalt have no other planets before Me.

II: Thou shalt not exploit resources in vain.

III: Thou shalt take a break from electronic devices and unplug them while not in use.

IV: Thou shalt recycle, even if thou must driveth to Wal-Mart in thy carbon dioxide emitting, 10-miles-per-gallon-getting Hummer.

V: Thou shalt not kill animals grown in factory farm conditions.

VI: Thou shalt not sleep with polluters to convert them to thine side.

VII: Thou shalt not steal, because then thou art consuming earthly goods.

VIII: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor’s greenhouse gas emissions.

IX: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s solar panels, greywater irrigation system or organic garden because thou shalt soon have one of thine own.

X: Thou shalt not key thy neighbor’s Prius, even if thou would like to own one or thou knoweth the truth about its origins.

Hallelujah! Praise be with the planet.

Image credit: midiman on Flickr. Photo made available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

  1. Bea Elliott

    I like these commandments – I am an atheist but could live with these quite willingly….. My only issue is with V – “thou shalt not kill” still sounds the best – Not man nor beast (unless it’s a raging tiger going after my throat) – Slaughtering anything be it for war, for “food”, or for leather shoes is wrong….. For health & heart – GO VEGAN

  2. Bobby B.

    Creative…brilliant…depressing…and completely devoid of any cogent argument.

    Let’s start with the sentence just prior to the Greenmandments:

    “While Catholics only have a few new sins to steer clear of, I’ve compiled the Green Movement’s 10 “Greenmandments” to make sure the rest of us can also avoid eternal damnation.”

    What damnation do you need to avoid? If organized religion is loathsome and there is no God, it would stand to reason that there exists no soul to suffer any sort of eternal damnation. Freedom from an eternal judgment that just might lead to Hell is, after all, the basis of all anti-religious movements. This, by the way, is how such movements have justified the slaughter of millions throughout human history. The term “atheist morality” is a classic oxymoron because an atheist has no basis for morality. A true atheist believes that there is no such thing as sin. Additionally, a morality that can be used to govern a society must originate with a being of greater stature than even the best individual member of that society. Otherwise, what right do I have to impose my morality upon another, or vice versa?

    However, if we are to believe that a soul can exist in the absence of God and green (Giaism, pantheism, etc.) is a religion all its own, does Mother Earth assume the role of the angry, white-haired grandparent casting her unjust judgment upon the souls of the deceased? Since Mother Earth is now god and “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy”, is there a heaven and a hell for all animal – or even plant for that matter – life? What must a “lesser” beast do to earn absolution from its sins? Does the lion go to hell for murdering the spring buck, even though his inability to survive on a vegan diet demands he do so? Does the rooster risk eternal damnation for his unrepentant raping of the hens in his flock? Will the hoofed beasts have to answer for the rise in global temperatures that can be traced to their incessant flatulence? What exactly is Mother Earth’s code of moral conduct for all living things?

    Now, moving on to the “Greenmandments” themselves, why use ten as the magic number? If you are going to break with Judeo-Christian doctrine and set up an alternate set of rules, why not pick another number taking special care to avoid any of the significant religious numbers (i.e. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 12)? If you truly loathe organized religion, why focus your angst only upon the Catholic Church? Are not the Jews, Protestants, Islamists, Buddhists, etc. “organized”? Where is your anger against them? Surely, they lack perfection.

    To close, I must admit that I have no idea why Yahoo! Inc. is included on your list of least favorite things. They are partially to thank for the exponential growth of the internet, which you bloggers so enjoy. However, if they are part of the problem, I would like to offer the 11th Greenmandment:

    Thou shalt not blog upon the electronic internet until both thy computer and thy communication network can be powered by thine own body’s neural impulses, and thy body can be nourished without imbibing the beasts of the field or the field itself or the waters which nourisheth the field.

    Maybe that is the pathway to heaven…

  3. Bobby B.

    I got a reply over at “mediaenvironment” where this article originally appeared. The reply asked a couple of questions, which I felt deserved a response. Here’s the exchange:

    Q: “Who is best positioned to speak for mother earth or “lesser” beasts?”

    A: Good question. The lesser beasts can not speak for themselves and Mother Earth has yet to inspire man to pen her holy scriptures. So, if man takes it upon himself to speak for the lesser creatures, he again exalts himself superior to those beasts and breaks the “rat…pig…dog…boy” equality declared by Ingrid Newkirk (PETA).

    Q: “& what does it mean for a religious group to declare pollution a sin?”

    A: Another salient point. As you probably know, almost any piece of any religion’s scripture can be used to support nearly any belief system. My background is Christian and I really do not possess much understanding of the other organized religions that I referenced. However, other than a few references to stewardship, The Bible does not make it a point to focus on things like pollution, animal rights, green living, etc. Rather, it focuses on how man can attain a personal relationship with God and outlines statutes for avoiding many enumerated sins. Interestly enough, pollution is not listed.

  4. Allan Svensson

    I found your Web Site by Google
    And I wish you the best you can get,
    the peace of God through Jesus Christ.

    Welcome to visit my Site.
    Allan Svensson, Sweden

    Why does the revival tarry? It is because God’s
    people tarry to obey the powerful command of
    the Lord in Rev. 18:4. This is the most powerful
    revival message of the Lord to his people in our time.

    The coming revival, a nameless revival

    Why was the Pentecostal Revival stopped?

  5. Nathan

    I’m passionate about caring for this planet, but I’m even more passionate about Jesus Christ, through whom this beautiful earth was made. It all gives glory to Him!

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