Falsehood’s seductive charm

Once again, we see a lie’s allure when matched with the abrasive truth – especially after the tyranny of the urgent locks us up and tosses the key.

The truth: Newly-released NASA and NOAA reports say 2017 was one of the three hottest since recording began – and the most stifling without an El Nino (NASA ranked it the second warmest while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rated it third; the agencies analyze global temperatures differently). This news comes as Cape Town, South Africa, braces for an impending “Day Zero” in April – a three-year drought may nix the city’s water supply — and 99 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s temperature-influenced sea turtles hatch as females.

Climate change marches apace, deaf to K Street lobbyists and the tumult of a government shutdown. Angela Fritz and James Samenow displayed the evidence in a January 18th Washington Post article. They sampled five 2017 climate events: Warm Atlantic water fueled hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, leaving Houston submerged, Floridians without power, and Puerto Rico’s electrical grid devastated. The New York Times analyzed the data and estimated the Puerto Rican death toll at 1,052. Then there were the wildfires in California and Portugal; flash floods in Peru, Sierra Leone, and China; world-wide heat waves; and arctic warming and melting sea ice.

Call the ambulance. The Earth has typhoid.

But Donald Trump’s administration follows the lie’s allure. Cynicism prevails. A Columbia Law School study shows he’s exercised scientific censorship 91 times. He’s the first president in four decades without a science adviser and he hasn’t filled a slew of federal scientific slots. His it’s-all-a-hoax climate stance collides with the US military’s, which views global warming as a severe security risk. The clipped sentences of generals and admirals may yet stem the tide of an ecological fiasco.

Such facts should grab the attention of pro-life Christian thinkers (contemplate innocent children dying in the dust), but they walk in the same haze afflicting the rest of society. A survey posed a question to leading intellects: “What are the most pressing cultural issues facing Christians in 2018 and what will Christian faithfulness look like in light of those issues?” The answers ranged from sexuality to immigration to abortion to denial of objective knowledge to cultural fragmentation – and then some. No one mentioned climate change. Maybe all the tweet storms blinded them to the hulking behemoth lumbering toward civilization.

Our leading lights can’t see beyond the momentary headlines and partisan wrangling. There’s no denying that sexuality and immigration and abortion and the nature of knowledge are vital concerns, but surely Christian thinkers can address them while discerning even greater issues and root causes, one of which is the temptation to play God (Genesis 1:26-31; 3:5). We’re stewards over the earth, not tyrants. We nurture the life God has made; we’re not meant to destroy it beneath a canopy of CO2.

Personally, I’m praying that our bright men and women will peer through the symptomatic reek and see that pitiless monster.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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One Comment on “Falsehood’s seductive charm”

  1. Anna Waldherr Says:

    I join in your prayers.

    Reply

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