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    Environmentalism v. Taking Dominion {Part I}

    June 10, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    I‘ve been immersed in environmentalism ever since I was a small child. Schooled by the government, the “science” portion of my education consisted primarily of propaganda from the global warming movement. I was never taught much {at school anyhow} about anything real and accessible until I was in college. My biology classes, in all thirteen years of my government education, consisted of animal-rights activism, musings about endangered species, and anything else both politically correct and environmentally “green.” In my last two years, I was introduced to both chemistry and physics. Because I had no working knowledge of the real, concrete things the items in the lab were supposed to represent, I remember nothing other than the details surrounding finding my senior prom date in physics class.

    So needless to say, I am not a scientist by any scope of the imagination.

    I am finding myself immersed in environmentalism once again, this time as I am researching materials and articles for our Homestead Binder. After all, many of the best places to research biodynamic farming methods make clear that their alliance lies with Mother Earth, and in opposition to all those evil Big Ag folks everywhere.

    And I find myself looking at this not through the lens of science, but that of Scripture. Like everything else, much of this is a battle of ideas. One might even say it is, in some senses, a battle of theologies.

    I want to spend some time off and on to consider this battle of ideas, and how I see Scripture at times agreeing with the Green Movement, as I’ll be calling it. At these times, I think it is best to see ourselves as cobelligerents. That’s what Frances Schaeffer would have termed it. At other times, Scripture stands in direct opposition, if not to methods, then certainly to the presuppositions. And these deceptive philosophies should not be allowed to take our minds captive.

    I think perhaps the best question that can be asked is why we do what we do. In this case, it would be why we “fight climate change” or perform whatever other environmentally conscious act is heralded in our day. And I don’t mean some sort of superficial rationale. I mean really, deep down, what philosophy is behind this sort of thing. What are we acting on? Or reacting to? And does the Bible have something to say about it? That is what I hope to explore in this series.

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  • Reply Brandy June 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Rahime, I love your points. They will fit right in to today’s new post. 🙂 It doesn’t surprise me that you are seeing the propaganda in religious schools. My theory is that religious schools are often (unless the headmaster is a rigorous defender of doctrine) only a generation behind what is in the government schools. As far as what I was taught as a child, this might also be connected to the fact that I changed schools (and districts) a number of times. I know at least once I actually took the same exact environmental sections of the same textbook because I moved midyear and the schools were doing things in opposite order. So I received no actual biology, but I did get an extra dose of propaganda. 🙂

    Kansas Mom, I think you are right on! Our actions as Christians stem from stewardship, and that makes all the difference.

  • Reply Kansas Mom June 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    We try to take the view of being good stewards of the world God gave us (just as we are good stewards of all the gifts we have). It requires a case-by-case decision in most things, but others are very easy to see as stewardship — buying locally grown food, growing some of our own, using a clothesline, avoiding phosphates in our cleaning supplies. In general, we try to minimize our impact on the land as a family, but we also recognize the environment as gifts from God for our use, so we don’t have a problem using gas to get where we need to go (for example).

    We’re still learning, though, and always open to changing our habits as we go.

  • Reply Rahime June 11, 2008 at 7:45 am

    btw: It’s interesting to me that you mentioned the propaganda in school as a child. With the exception of one teacher in 4th grade (who challenged our class to time ourselves taking 3 min. showers) I never really had any of the politically correct jabber about environmentalism in school as a child in so Cal (though I don’t think we actually learned anything in science until high school). However, I have noticed it becoming increasingly obnoxious in the textbooks of my students at (mostly) Catholic schools.

  • Reply Rahime June 11, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately since I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” (and, more broadly, since I’ve been living in close vicinity to Berkeley–real hard to live here without thinking about such things). I think your question is right on: Why? I think there are some fundamental differences in the why of Dominion and the Why of Environmentalism…even though some of the “how” looks identical.

  • Reply Brandy June 11, 2008 at 4:54 am


    Sounds like a very interesting class! I think I would have enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing how you contribute to the thinking-it-through process in the comments. 🙂

  • Reply Kimbrah June 11, 2008 at 1:56 am


    I remember being surprised to find out that Environmentalism was one of the topics in my Christian Ethics class in college. I am sure that the discussion generated here will be just as fruitful and enlightening as that section was back in college.

    By the way, our professor had a very healthy view and position on how Christians should handle environmental issues and I have used that as a basis for much of how I have conducted my life from that point on. I can’t wait to read this series, good idea!

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