Case in point: from the "Guest Voices" column at the Washington Post.com: A Golden Rule for God's Green Earth by Clark Strand (founder of wholeearthgod.com)
The Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you") is the foundation of Christian moral teaching. But lately I've begun to wonder if that gold standard of ethical behavior really equips us for an age of global environmental concerns. Jesus teaches us to include other people in our prayers--even our enemies. But what about other species of plant and animal life? What about the atmosphere? What about the Earth?
As suggested by its color, the Golden Rule is defined primarily in terms of human commerce. Most of the examples of right conduct Jesus offers in the gospels involve the exchange of money, goods, or services. Not one addresses other species or the Earth. Does this mean that Jesus was as clueless as every other Homo sapiens on the planet when it comes to grasping ecological truths? If Jesus were here today, would he too live in denial of the coming environmental collapse?
A growing number of environmentally-concerned Christians believe the answer is no. Were Jesus with us today, they tell us, he would replace the Golden Rule with the Green Rule: "Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you."
First of all, Clark is a Buddhist. His website advocates "Green Meditation", which basically says Theology = Ecology. In other words, God = Earth. As Christians, we believe that God created the Earth, and is thus apart from it. He is not part of creation, just as we are not God. So embracing Jesus and Christianity is rather disingenuous, if it's not his primary belief system, unless it's to score a point in the "Christian's ain't all that enlightened" contest. And basically that's what he does here - it's the "environmentally-concerned Christians" that have it right, according to him.
Secondly - his Green Rule is pretty ridiculous if you take about, oh, three seconds to really think it all the way through. The way I see it, the Earth has it out for us humans. The planet is constantly trying to kill us, with tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, landslides, tsunamis, deep freezes and sandstorms. What, if anything, could we as puny humans do in order to change any of all that? Well, besides drive Prius', eat cardboard, stop reproducing, live in caves and worship trees. Beyond that, I dunno. Seems like whenever there's a natural disaster, it's human beings ending up flat on their faces. The Earth keeps revolving without even noticing.
What he's advocating, IMHO, is Earth-worship. Like an appeasement, neo-pagan, ecospirituality thing. And that isn't why Christ came, nor is it what He taught. He was not a Cedar-hugger as some progressive environmentally-concerned Christians would like us to believe. Although He did embrace the cross, but that's not what they consider tree-hugging. And do these people ever stop to recall that Jesus was the son of a carpenter? Think of all those trees that Joseph sacrificed so that he could support his family. How's that for irony?
He came to forgive us our sins - remember how God, way back in Genesis, cursed Adam after the Fall, and said the Earth would refuse to give up its yield without his toiling? It's sin that caused the friction between man and Earth, between us and the rest of His creation. Christ came to restore us to God, and to bring peace to the world, which won't be fully restored until His second coming. St Paul wrote in Rom 8:22 "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
We are called to be stewards of the Earth, which is a great responsibility. Stewardship is not worship, though. By virtue of our being created in the image and likeness of God, we are to exercise prudence in how we treat God's creation. God gave us an intellect and free will to discern properly what is transpiring in the world right now - and an impending "environmental collapse" is just alarmist claptrap. Such talk inverts the proper God-ordained order - all too often, 'caring for the environment' first means 'caring for humans' second, or at all. Just ask the farmers in California how their lives are going since being prevented from properly irrigating their land because a fish or whatever has primary rights over their right to provide for their families and grow food for others. Doesn't make sense, does it?
Some believe that nature is revolting against mankind because of the scourge of abortion - a sort of retribution for man's inhumane treatment of man. Or perhaps a consequence of near-continuous warfare over the past century - more people were killed in the 20th century due to war than the previous nineteen...combined. So if there's a connection between mankind and nature, that could be a big part of it. I don't know. Whatever the explanation, it all points back to Original Sin - a seed, if you will, from which all sin sprouted. It affects all of us, more so than whether or not we Ortho our lawn weeds or use incandescent light bulbs.
So maybe the best way to treat the Earth is to treat each other better, the way Christ commanded us to. If we get that right, then the rest ought to fall into place, naturally.