I imagine I just got two reactions to that title:
SIDE A: Yeah, Christians should kick Trump out of office and jump back into the Paris Agreement and punch those money-hungry corporate cutthroats in the junk!
SIDE B: Yeah, Christians should knock down this pseudo-science and call the power of Jesus down on people who are out to take our jobs!
Both of you need reread that title.
It doesn’t say “Why Christians Should Care About the Paris Climate Agreement,” or “Trump’s Environmental Policy,” or “My Side of the Argument.” It says we should care about “The Climate Change Discussion.”
Because that’s exactly what it should be: a discussion.
As Christians, are we adding to the discussion or just the noise?
The point of this post is not to try and convince you to one side of the argument, but rather to enforce the rules of engagement that Christians must uphold:
Fight smart, fight fair.
Why? Because Christians are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and…mind. And to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s literally the entirety of Christian life (Matthew 22:37-40).
So, are we doing both, no matter what side of the argument we stand on? Or are we letting other factors poison our Christianity?
Because Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
I defy you to find one line in the Bible that promotes ignorance as a virtue. But on the other hand, the book of Proverbs is full of exhortations to gain knowledge and wisdom.
I’m not saying you need to be an expert or an activist on this or every subject, but it’s amazing how many people want to give their opinions without even glancing at facts. And in the internet age, that’s just commonplace.
But Christians are called to be better. God chastised Job for speaking “words without knowledge.” (Job 38:1) And Proverbs 17:28 says that even a fool is considered wise until he opens his mouth. God would have us speak with wisdom or shut up altogether.
Christians who say climate change is Irrefutable: When you berate Trump for taking America out of the Paris Agreement, do you even know what the Agreement said? If not, why defend it? Do you believe in human-caused climate change because of careful study or catchy memes on Twitter?
Christians who say climate change is Fake Science: When you dismiss the other side’s claims, do you know the science yourself? When you say the environment is just fine, what are you basing that assumption on? Or are you just repeating what someone else told you?
In short, when you as a Christian fight the other side, are you using sound logic and defensible thought patterns? Or are you just fighting with emotion?
Or worse, politics?
Because People are Frightened on Both Sides
When one side says to the other, “How dare you think what you think?!” they prove they’ve forgotten that people are on the line. The climate change debate is about more than a planet and more than jobs or money. It’s about people.
It’s easy to caricature the other side as tree-huggers or greedy tycoons, but reality is seldom that cut-and-dry. Your opponents are people.
And the people are scared.
Christian champions of climate change, it’s easy to say a sacrifice is worth it when it’s not your job on the line. What of the coal miners and oil rig workers who can’t feed their families because all their job skills and experiences are now obsolete? Do you have an answer for them or have you forgotten they exist?
Christian opponents of climate change, can you not see the worry in your enemy’s eyes when he looks at his children and imagines their future? Even if he’s wrong, can’t you see he’s thinking about someone other than himself? Do you want to assuage his fears or laugh at them?
Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44) so there’s absolutely no excuse for hating the opponent. The arguments, the principles, and the dogma, perhaps, but not the people.
And there are people on both sides.
Because Christians are There to Bring Christ Into the Situation
I can’t stop spam wars on Facebook (I’d be the most powerful man in the world!). People are always going to fight stupidly and cruelly because they’re petulant children who see humans as obstacles.
But Christians have no excuse for such behavior. Jesus never raised up political parties, causes, or even social justice as an end. He lifted up God and lowered himself.
Are we lowering ourselves? Do we keep silent when our opinions vastly outnumber our facts? Do we ask people to present their cases or try to shut them up? Are we wanting to raise up Christ or just use him as a means to an end?
Jesus will never die for a cause; causes must die for Jesus. God is the only thing we should be lifting up to be glorified. Not science, not politics, not jobs, nothing but God.
And when God is lifted up, when humility, charity, kindness, self-control, and love are held up as indisputable requirements, then we can finally have a calm, rational, considerate, and dare I say productive talk on climate change.