5 Stars Out Of 5
What does the Bible teach about environmentalism
June 10, 2011
I read this book a couple of months ago. So here is a real review, from someone who loves God's creation, and has actually read this book cover to cover.
In Resisting the Green Dragon the background of the green movement is brought to light. The author is a PhD in physics, and a Christian, and he critiques many of the religious, philosophic, and scientific claims of the green movement. Anyone interested in understanding what Christians believe, or at least what the Bible teaches, about Creation and our relationship to it will find this book a great help.
The very premise of the book will not please those who are using religion, Christianity in particular, as a tool to advance environmentalist agendas.
The book is *extremely* well written, and I found it hard to put it down. In fact, it is hard to believe a scientist can write so incredibly well. Given the topic, it is surprisingly humorous at times, and there were several times where I was rolling on the floor laughing. This combination alone makes this a rare and worthwhile read.
But I had to have a break, because I couldn't read it all in one sitting. The research that went into this is very deep, and the book is 270 pages, plus 30 pages of extremely well referenced footnotes for those who want to go further in their understanding, or just check sources.
Those genuinely interested in understanding the roots of the green movement, and how it seeks to modify traditional religions, will find this book very helpful. According to Dr. Bron Taylor, a leading scholar of radical environmentalism, and author of 'Dark Green Religion', "those engaged in nature-based spiritualities ... are converting many to an evolutionary worldview and an environmentalist spirituality and ethics," and this is one reason evangelical churches are "having trouble even keeping their own children in the fold." Taylor a professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida, writes (in Huffington Post)that Resisting the Green Dragon is based on "an accurate perception that there is a religious dimension to much environmentalism".
Taylor supports what he calls 'Dark Green Religion', yet he does not stick his fingers in his ears when hearing about Resisting the Green Dragon. Ignorant people do the opposite, and just say they don't like something, or that something is useless or bad, because they do not care to challenge - or have challenged - their own perceptions of the world.
Resisting the Green Dragon has seven chapters. Chapter 1 gives background about the green movement, and delves into the philosophy and reasons why environmentalism is suddenly rather dominant in society, and the world. It argues that it is extremely broad, and attracts everyone from Christians to atheists, to Zen Hollywood stars. I found this background, and discussion of Malthusianism very informative and perceptive. I think the main point of this chapter is that the green movement is not a fringe any more, but is mainstream. Nobody would deny this. Green agendas influence everthing today.
When Wanliss quotes the actual beliefs of mainstream greens, things that are not commonly known - this is disturbing. I thought that large green NGOs might be simply focussed on helping animals. Boy, was I wrong. I'm not going to send any more support to the World Wild fund for Nature (WWF), whose former president wants to be reincarnated as a killer virus "to contribute something to solve overpopulation."
In Chapter 2 Wanliss argues that the reason the green movement is so dominant today is mainly the fault of the professing Christian Church, which today embraces such interesting ideas as ecotheology and ecofeminism. This chapter was a surprise! Usually critics blame everyone except their own party. And I think, after reading the book, that I agree. Wanliss explains that with the rise of progressivism in the 20th century the Christian Church lost its focus, which is fatal to its mission: "Important as good works or social activism may be, they can never replace, displace, or substitute for the dominating focus of Christianity... to know... Jesus Christ and Him crucified."
Chapter 3 is an exceedingly careful examination of what it means that humans are created in the image of God. It was really beautiful to read the heights of glory which we have as humans. But there was real balance, sobering balance regarding human nature and pride. He admits how easily we abuse ourselves, others, and the creatures God has made. He also attacks the humanist view that we can do as we like pillaging the planet, whether because we are the pinnacle of evolution, or because we are the special 'image of God'. He writes, "Imperious human pride is unbecoming of a creature formed from dust of the Earth." It was humbling to read this Chapter, but left me feeling hopeful, at the end. He quoted Blaise Pascal approvingly: "Christianity... orders man to acknowledge that he is evil, even abominable. Yet it also bids him to desire to be like God. Without such a counterpoise, this dignity would make him horribly vain, or promotes such humiliation that would make him terribly abject."
Chapter 4 deals with those who grant that humans are special, but then who say that all creation is just as special. There is a fascinating discussion of the role of Darwin's evolution of life theory, which Wanliss argues provides the essential cosmology of the environmental movement. He gives various examples, from Richard Dawkins to Bill McKibben, to show how evolutionary thinking informs views of reality. In critiquing the evolutionary view that animals are my brothers, Wanliss argues that, "I am one with all other humans; it is the doctrine of creation, not star stuff in our veins, that makes all men natural brothers. The doctrine of star stuff makes of me an animal."
In Chapter 5 we get into the question of dominion, which God commands in Genesis 1:28. Again, the insights here are stunning as God's dominion is discussed in detail with constant reference to the Bible, and how our dominion is related. Wanliss' devotion to knowing and doing what God teaches is quite clear. He answers those who think Christians should just wait for the end and ignore our environment and not care about the health of other creatures: "Environmentalists imagine Christians think that man receives authority to crush the Earth. Not so, for the Earth and all creation is also the private property of God. If man is then granted possession of anything it is through an act of God's grace and not something to be sinfully abused."
Chapter 6 deals with the issue of sustainability, and anyone who is confused about where this (political) idea comes from, and is going, will benefit from reading this. Wanliss discusses the ideas of biodiversity, natural equilibrium, collapse, and so on, all with a very conscious reliance to see what the Bible has to say about these things.
The last chapter wraps up this excellent book, arguing that environmentalism is a religion that is incompatible with Christianity. The only hope, not only for the Earth, is that the true gospel is preached... the green gospel is a lie. Christians in particular, therefore, need to balance their concern for God's creation without being caught in unbiblical ways of thinking.