Why We Disagree About Climate Change. I fully expected this book to be a bunch of skeptics arguments about why climate change is not happening or even some kind of middle ground talking about the many suggested responses. What I did not expect was someone trying to talk about climate change in the context of religion. What that sort of thing seems tailor made for me to read and talk about it certainly surprised me to see it.
The author talks a lot about how religions view climate change and what sort of action they advocate in response to it. He obviously knows a lot about climate but he seems to be seriously lacking in knowledge about religion. For example:
There is a reverence for life - a sacredness - that is central to nearly all religious writings, even if expressed in different ways. There is also a belief in the innate value of the entire created order, the material universe brought into being as an expression of the creative will of God, or the gods.
I don't know what religious writing Mike Hulme has been reading that suggest these things but it sure isn't the Bible. This is strange since Mike claims to be a Christian, so one would think that if his holy book (and one that is a basis for several of the largest religions in the world) held exactly the opposite views that he does he would know. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for objective reporting this book espouses the view that religions all agree that climate change is real and that we have a duty to stop it and to put the welfare of future generations first in our thoughts and considerations. The Bible does *not* have sacredness of life or value of all creation as a central theme. Sacrifice, burning, wanton destruction, murder and war are enshrined as central to God's desires and hopes. Though God does advocate helping widows and orphans he also advocates heinous crimes against anyone violating any of his laws (or anyone not born a Jew) and displays virtually no respect or reverence for anything that isn't human.
This sort of view isn't surprising. People don't read the Bible, nor do they actually concern themselves with what it says, which is good and bad. It is good in that there is practically no value in knowing what the Bible says when it comes to making decisions, but it is bad in that they can continue to do whatever they want content that the Bible has something in it that justifies their actions. It is all well and good for a few religious people to say that their religion has various 'pro-earth' concepts buried in it, but by and large they are simply assuming that their religion epitomizes their own values when in fact there simply is not consensus among those that follow the religion nor agreement from official religious sources.
Like in many other situations it is well and good to say you feel one way, but simply assuming that any group you belong to must agree with you and that your group must have been founded on those principles is simply hubris. This is all entirely aside from the matter that it is quite trivial to be against bad things and quite difficult to come up with good solutions. The author does at least acknowledge that religions have not been any more successful than the rest of us in coming up with solutions that actually work.