Climate? Warming? God’s in charge. Humans powerless? Yes, but why? The Bible’s their authority, God has absolute control. And yes, that message is absolutely clear, says Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the powerful Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future:
Inhofe says “climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will. The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.”
For years Inhofe has been preaching this biblical message: “My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” In other words, if the planet’s climate really is changing … it’s not “human-caused,” God’s in charge, so God is responsible.
So blame God? Or is there some Grand Cosmic Plan unfolding, one that evangelicals grasp? As Joseph Campbell put it in The Hero With A Thousand Faces: “From the perspective of the source, the world is a majestic harmony of forms pouring into being, exploding, and dissolving. But what the swiftly passing creatures experience is a terrible cacophony of battle cries and pain.”
We also know Senator Inhofe is no lone voice crying in the wilderness. Millions of Americans agree with him. A Washington Post’s religion column brought this point home: “People are seriously wondering whether God is punishing us with the 2016 election,” wondering, is this the “end-times?”
But what if Inhofe and the evangelicals are wrong—what if God is not in charge? If this is all part of a plan? Yes, God may just be testing us, as in The Book of Job, testing the “most righteous of all servants,” when His “Whirlwind” was unleashed, creating death and destruction. He may be seeing how we do with free will, with the brains given us for managing Creation? Or what if God’s more of a diving intelligent designer who created the universe, set it in motion, then stepped back, observing till later, keeping score till judgment day?
Humans Are Short-Term Thinkers, We Delay … Till It’s Too Late
Worse yet, tens of millions don’t even think about God’s role, or care enough to spend taxpayer dollars to solve our climate warming problems. In fact, the Yale University’s “Six Americas” study, Gallup polls and other research tells us that a majority of Americans actually do agree with the good senator.
In fact, just last year an overwhelming 76% of Americans put climate change near the bottom of 15 “national problems” in Gallup polling. Yes, global warming is a problem. But not today, they’ll worry about it later. Somewhere between 100 million and 225 million Americans, hard-right evangelicals, superrich capitalists, employees of the fossil-fuels corporations or, as Gallup puts it, citizens who just don’t think climate is a big problem for America.
Why? America has bigger, more urgent problems: the economy, jobs, terrorism, hunger, drugs, crime, immigration, deficits, and many more. That’s human nature, we are short-term thinkers, today’s problems, even when later may be too late to plan and solve any climate problems.
Get it? Climate is a problem, but not a big enough problem. Someday maybe, but not today when the costs weigh heavy on other pocketbook issues. And not when we’re not sure that investing big money in solutions will actually decrease global temperatures, ocean-currents pollution or carbon dioxide and not after we’ve already spent heavily to control fossil-fuel use in our personal autos, to increase EPA regulations on coal and to save the rain forests.
Huge Risks: Fossil Fuels Today vs Over-Heated Planet Tomorrow
In addition to millions of voters, Inhofe’s biblical message also has the support of the controlling majority in the U.S. Congress, specifically 169 hard-right GOP climate-science deniers who even dismiss the idea that global warming is human-caused. They got the votes.
Plus, there’s no doubt how they’ll vote. Collectively the GOP climate-science deniers have received more than $52 million in career contributions from Big Oil, coal and fossil-fuel interests whose lobbyists demand the candidates they finance will fight to defeat or delay all efforts to tax and regulate carbon emissions.
Moreover, since all the GOP presidential candidates must toe the pro-business party line, it’s a solid bet that a Republican president would guarantee that Inhofe’s biblical interpretation of climate change would be enacted into federal law at least till 2020.
Get it? Climate is emerging as a defining issue for voters in America’s elections, When it comes to climate change and global warming, for these millions, God is solely in charge. Period. Humans are powerless, cannot change climate. God is in charge.
Their message is quite simple: No matter what how hard we try, humans can have no impact on our climate. Nor can we make climate worse. God controls all changes, increases and decreases in global warming and changes in climate. Humans are powerless to do anything.
If The Bible’s The Authority, Is It Genesis? Moses? Noah? Job? Who?
So what’s Inhofe’s moral authority for trusting solely in God, insisting humans have zero impact and can do nothing about climate and global warming? Evangelicals rely on a literal interpretation: “One of my favorite Bible verses” says Inhofe, is in Genesis: “As long as the Earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer.” Yes, that appears to give humans a shared responsibility for Creation. So what about the power to change anything?
While we respect the good senator and other Republicans for their strict adherence to scriptural authority, the Bible has many other, often conflicting, moral lessons guiding us: in the stories of Noah, Joseph, Moses, Jesus and more. The Book of Job found me many years ago when I was challenged by events, going through a midlife crisis, in the early day of recovery from alcoholism, depressed and sinking deep into a very dark night of the soul.
One day my wandering search led me to the Mary and Joseph Retreat House in Palos Verdes California and a lengthy conversation with an elderly nun, a truly peaceful soul. Afterwards, she gave me a Bible: Go into our gardens, sit in the sun, open it at random, read, you’ll be guided.
If God’s Really In Charge, Did He Plan On Us Wasting Creation?
I did what she said, opened to The Book of Job, it grabbed me, spoke loudly, hit me hard, reviving buried childhood traumas, times when to survive, my consciousness protected me, taking me to other dimensions, times, worlds.
Job was a righteous and richest of men, a faithful servant of God. But God was testing him. His family, ten children, herds of thousands were all destroyed in a great climate catastrophe. More when his health was tortured. His best friends even accused him of sin. Yet he was a true and faithful servant. Yes, bad things happen to good people.
Job speaks to me often, in many ways, not as a parable, nor a favorite story, but as a living experience. We all have such contacts. You know what I’m talking about. We listen to that still, small voice deep in our souls. Each in our own special way. The lines opened many times with many guides over the decades.
The message is clear: Humans are being profoundly tested again. Do nothing? No. It’s time for action. Work with Him. Protect His Earth. Passive acceptance? Hope? Prayer? Not enough. Bill McKibben once told me, “even if you believe it’s already too late, keep trying.” That’s what this is all about … this is no hoax, this is the real thing!