Now, Religion in the News. A report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media.This week’s item is from The Washington Post, with a headline:“What Would Jesus Drive?”Some questions just can’t be answered, others are better left unanswered.This might be the case with the question posed by the Evangelical Environmental Network, a religious based environmental group.The question is:What would Jesus drive? As in what kind of car?It was inspired by the slogan-like question:What would Jesus do, which urges Christians to ask that question in difficult situations.This is a worthy practice on a personal level and it has interesting applications in larger matters.The Evangelical Environmental Network reasonably views environmental problems in ethical and spiritual terms.Members believe there is a biblical call to reduce pollution and environmental degradation and the harm they cause to people and the rest of creation.And, they put their faith to work on a practical level.Because auto emissions contribute to climate change and because health care cost attributed to transportation pollution approach 60 billion dollars annually, the network thinks consumers should consider gas mileage and efficiency in ethical terms.What we’re trying to do is get people to think about transportation as a moral issue, said the Reverend Jim Ball, a Baptist minister who was executive director of the network.We think Jesus wants folks to drive the most fuel efficient, least polluting vehicle that truly meets their needs.Tomorrow, in Detroit, at a hotel not far from the headquarters of General Motors, the evangelicals and leaders of mainline Christian and Jewish groups will have a news conference declaring that people of faith should reconsider their means of transportation.The heads of the big three auto makers have been invited to begin a new conversation about cars and their impact on global sustainability, security, health, and justice.“We’ll be showing up in Priuses,” John Briscoe of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, told The Washington Post.He was referring to Toyota’s energy efficient hybrid car, which like the Honda Insight, has won good marks from environmental activists.No car however, has won endorsement as the one Jesus would drive.
Now Dave, here we go, here’s another thing for us to get involved with, the Evangelical Environmental Network.Now, I thought you just said there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth and this earth is under a curse and so on.Christians are blamed for creating all of these problems anyway because we abuse the earth, because, you know, we are looking for Jesus to come and so on and so forth.This touches on a lot of those subjects.
I don’t know when Jesus is going to Rapture us out of here.I don’t know when the Great Tribulation will be.Of course, that’s going to really trash the earth.That can’t be too far off.On the other hand, I think we should take as good care of the earth as we can.That would only be prudent. Furthermore, we would be responsible for that, God has placed us here.We shouldn’t abuse and destroy the earth.As for this idea of what kind of a car would Jesus drive, I don’t know, Tom, I don’t have the statistics.I don’t know how much automobiles actually contribute to this.I don’t know what they could do to give less pollution in the air through automobiles.I think they probably could do better than they do.I don’t know.I wouldn’t be in a position to judge this because I don’t have the facts.
But on the other hand, Dave, and this is why I think this is worth discussing.How much should we get involved with causes related to the earth?We’re personally accountable for how we live our lives before the Lord.We want to do it in a way that is pleasing to him, but are we to go environmental, as it were?We’ve had organizations like YWAM—we’ve gotten heavily involved in the whole environmental movement.There are organizations out there such as the Green Peace Movement and so on and protect our animals and so forth.Is this an issue that’s critical or important to evangelical Christianity?
Well, Jesus didn’t tell us to do that.He said go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.I think the preaching of the gospel changes lives.Those who receive Christ as their savior, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they become the children of God through faith in Christ, we’re part of a family, we love one another, we’re not greedy or selfish—should not be is we are Christians—therefore, we would work together.That would seem to be the way to solve that problem.That would be a by-product of Christianity.But the main thing we are concerned about is the eternal destiny of souls, because this life is short.We don’t last long on this earth and we ought to prepare for eternity.So, I would say that is the job of the Christian.I don’t think Christians should spend their time in this kind of activism.But you could take a statement Jesus made to the man:Let the dead bury their dead—follow me.The world is trying to take care of these problems.On the other hand, we would not oppose them, we would cooperate, and we would certainly do everything we could to benefit the earth but that’s not our primary job.We’re not going to spend our time doing that.Furthermore, the problem is, when you get involved in coalitions with people who are doing that, they have various other reasons, they have various beliefs.You can’t give the gospel to them because you would break up the coalition.So, whether it’s in opposition to abortion, or whatever it is for environmental reasons, you get involved in a coalition; it tends to bring about compromise.