Friday, November 18, 2005

Save the Earth, Don't Have Kids?

My initial reaction to this was disgust, then anger, and then, well...pity. It must be a pretty sad world where your sole happiness is an inanimate object (the Earth). Members of this group ask that, for the sake of the environment, people don't have any more kids. Let's make the position clearer: we should render ourselves extinct for the sake of the planet.

Whether you're religious or not, one thing should be clear. Your life, my life, and the lives of any children we might help to create, are each worth infinitely more than the Earth and the whole solar system combined. While we are to respect the Earth, it is a home FOR US. It provides resources FOR US. It would have no purpose without human beings.

For the theologically minded: the co-creation of a soul that will live for eternity is the most noble and important thing that human beings participate in. How dignified we are as humans, that our God would allow us to take part in his Act of Creation? How sinful would it be to worship the god of Mother Earth? He has lowered himself to make us responsible for the carrying out of his plan of salvation on earth by co-creating persons to love Him forever.

I am deeply sorry for this group. For when they give their lives to Earth they get nothing in return. And when they serve only idols, silence is the answer.


At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Big Ben said...

Well, even just looking at this from a scientific view point (sorry if I sound like I'm simplifying humans to mindless animals), the goal of humans is, basically, to reproduce and to further the species, even if it means killing or using other organisms. I do, however, agree that we're doing a pretty good job killing things for our own goals and we need to work much harder at controlling ourselves.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

Nice post Becky, I have never been able to figure out the psyhce of those people who think humans should go extinct for the sake of the earth. Indeed the Earth exists for us.

I do take one small exception though. I don't know if it is entirely accurate to call the Earth an "inanimate object." Obviously the Earth is full of life and it was specially created by God which makes the term "inanimate object" which connotates something man made like a chair, not quite adequate.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous wondertwin said...

So here's an honest question (seriously): what would the Catholic position be on the colonization of other worlds?

If the Earth is created "for us," then would the people colonizing the other worlds not be supported by the Church? Would it be a sin?

For example, say humans are still around when our sun gobbles up all of its hydrogen and becomes a red giant (predicted to be approximately 6 billion years from now). It would most certainly engulf the Earth at that time and all everything on the planet.

If humans have the technology to travel the stars (ala some sort of light-speed or faster methods of travel), should they consume and use up everything on another planet with the same recklessness that we do on ours? If the Earth is created
"for us," then I guess you can make the claim that we can use and abuse it however we like, but if another world is not, does that change anything? Is there any indication that God made more than one planet "for us?"

It's an honest question, and I'd just want to know what people might predict the Church's position on such matters when they occur (because one day they will).

This of course goes along the assumption that the Church will still be around in 6 billion years and that humans will as well (both might not be too likely if you ask me).

At 10:25 AM, Blogger JT said...

Becky, you get that not everyone agrees that the earth was created for us, right?

And even if it was created for us, shouldn't we try not to destroy it quite so quickly?

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't believe the world was created "for us" to use as we want. But I believe that as living beings who inhabit this earth we have a right to use it for our survival. Clearly we go far beyond that, gobbling the earth's resources and jeoparding the survival not only of our own species (ok not right now and not for our children or grandchildren- but for the future generations) but of every other living thing on this planet that has a right to exist and survive too (and they are in jeopardy RIGHT NOW). Now obviously to take it to an extreme saying that we should cease to exist for the sake of all other life is nuts. But do we have an obligation to live responsibly- absolutely and that may involve responsible child-bearing too.

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what I think Catholics forget about responsible stewardship is that it's not an afterthought. It's not the Earth is ours and we should be responsbile if we can. It demands sacrifice on our part. And it's not just enough sacrifice so that humans alone can live on earth. We have a responsibility to this living system that provides for our survival.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Becky said...

I thought I made it clear in my post that it is definitely a Catholic's responsibility to be stewards of the Earth. I don't deny this. All I'm saying is that it would be ridiculous to destory ourselves in the process of saving the Earth. Trying to render ourselves extinct is doing just that.

Believe me, being stewards is not an afterthought. I grew up on an organic farm where my mom yells at me if I through a plastic wrapper in the garbage instead of the recycling bin.

Yes, we are supposed to care for the Earth. But we care for it in light of the Truth that our first command was to be "fruitful and multiply."

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

I don’t mean to proof text Scripture to your comments, because we can get into dangerous water, but since I’m a seminarian consider a few references here as nothing but provisions. In other words, I don’t mean to scream Scripture.

I agree with some folks who disagreed with the label of “inanimate object.” Other words for inanimate are, with the quick help of my left-click thesaurus in MS Word (I love to use that lovely tool), “lifeless”, “inorganic,” or “dead”. Such adjectives misrepresent what the world is on a number of levels, not simply biologically, but even biblically. Paul, in Romans 8, mentions that the creation mysteriously waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. Creation “waiting”? If something is “inanimate” it clearly can not act. But scripture is clear, creation does mysteriously act somehow on its own apart from us cultivating and dominating it.

Also, true, the first command was to “be fruitful and multiply” but if you read further to the end of the command, it reads that God gives life to everything that has breath. And the earth has “mysterious” life as it waits in eager expectation which again shows that the world is something nothing close to inanimate.

Why use the word, "inanimate" to describe something so fully other?

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Fr. Andrew Bloomfield said...

Regarding the "inanimate" question: we don't need a thesaurus, just Latin and some scholastic philosophy. Animate beings are those with a soul, or an internal principle of life (not requiring intelligence, simply self-governing, in a sense), the "anima." Different kinds of souls exist (vegetative, rational, etc.). It seems difficult to argue that an intrisic "life-principle" exists to the earth, as a whole; it would rather be argued that the natural law (or the irrational world's participation in the eternal law of God) is the principle of order, and not properly a "world soul." Plato (or at least Plotinus) might, however, disagree.

The purpose of all creation is, as such, to give greater honor and glory to the triune God. Inasmuch as man is created as the culmination of the the creation of the visible world, he is placed over creation as a steward, to tend the Garden. His dominion is in no way reduced after the Fall, but the original harmony between man and the rest of creation no longer exists. So, too, is man at war within himself (disordered passions and desires); hence, in his governance of the world, the temptation will always be to use creation to glorify himself, rather than God. (Much of modern American consumerism...Q.E.D.)

Procreation is not simply the final goal for man -- heaven is. The education and formation of our youth is essential to this salvific goal. We are commanded further to preach the Gospel and extend the reign of Christ's Kingdom. The Universal Kingship of Christ won't be achieved until the end of time, but we can certainly all do our best in the meantime.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

If the world was not created for us, then I would like to take it away from whoever it was created for - not in a mean sense, I mean more playful like, e.g. Butch Cassidy, Newton Boys, Serenity.

I have been thinking of colonizing other worlds lately too. It's mostly influenced by the accident of finding myself too often in parts of the student section of the football stadium occupied by drunk, nonstudent brutes; my theory being that since there are fewer signs of intelligent life on Earth it must exist on other planets.


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