Feature Article 14 March 2020

DOOMSDAY MESSAGE HAVING DANGEROUS EFFECT ON CHILDREN

There’s a new fire and brimstone, but it’s not coming from preachers.  It’s coming from climate alarmists and it’s causing children to panic, according to a new report.  Imagine Christianity stripped of all its redemption. We are imperfect sinners, eternally at odds with God, bound for damnation, and there’s no way to change course, there is nothing that can put us in right standing with God.  Imagine the bleak reality of a Christianity without Jesus.  That’s the artificial religion of climate change.  It has religious teachers, such as scientists, environmental activists, and progressive politicians.”  It even has evangelists like 17-year-old Greta Thunberg.  But there is no redemption.  There is no hope.

The religion of climate change is like a doomsday device with no solution.  I’m not an expert on the environment nor do I know the intricacies of the science behind it, so I’m not making an argument here about the legitimacy of the issue.  But I do know this: our way of talking about the climate is dangerous.  A newly released survey from BBC Newsround found children are suffering nightmares, losing sleep, and developing unhealthy eating habits over fears about climate change.  There has been plenty of other research, too, showing climate change alarm is bad for mental health.

In fact, in a 2018 review of the psychological effects of climate change on children, Australian researchers found the issue increases kids’ risk of developing PTSD, depression, anxiety, phobias, and substance abuse problems, among other things.  But I think the research is getting it wrong.  The catalyst for people’s anxiety is not climate change.  It’s the idolization of the hopeless issue that’s causing problems in people’s lives.  We are, as pastor and author Tim Keller put it, taking good things, like tending to the earth (a role God gave to humans), and making them “ultimate things.”

“Sin is not just doing bad things,” Keller said.  “It’s turning good things into ultimate things, because it ruins your soul, destroys community, and dishonours God.”  Every climate change evangelist is preaching the hopeless message of eternal destruction with only one patently impossible solution: every leader around the world simultaneously embracing their particular solution to the issue.  I don’t blame Thunberg and others for being so fearful.  In 2018, climate change scientists claimed we have only a dozen years to quell the environmental “catastrophe.”  And 1 year ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Dem-New York) admitted she fears the world “is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

So we shouldn’t be surprised when Thunberg says things like this: “This is all wrong.  I shouldn’t be up here.  I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.  Yet you all come to us young people for hope.  How dare you.  You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.  We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you.  For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear.  How dare you continue to look away.  It’s sad, not because I judge Thunberg or others like her for their fears or their passion.  It’s sad because they have been sold a religion without redemption.

They have bought into a belief system that puts total trust in things that are created rather than in the God who created them, and in the end, it is guaranteed to fail them.  In his letter to believers in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote: “My dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.”  At the time, the Corinthians were tempted to put their trust in pagan statues made of wood or stone.  Our idolatry doesn’t look like that anymore, but it’s still very much alive.  Nowadays, it’s sneakier, and disguised as compassion and zeal for things that matter.  We should be concerned about things like caring for our environment.  But we shouldn’t, as Keller said, take those good things and make them “ultimate things.”

There’s no doubt this earth will ultimately fail.  But it will fail not because we didn’t work hard enough or because we didn’t pass the right legislation or because we didn’t take action quickly enough.  It will end because, one day, Jesus will return to form a new heaven and earth.  In the meantime, we should work to care for the world around us, steward our time and resources wisely, and trust in God’s ultimate promise of redemption.  Don’t put your trust in a small-G god who can’t deliver; trust in the one true God who already has.

Source: Tre Goins-Phillips, Editor Faithwire

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