Saturday, October 15, 2005

Opinion: God and global warming

Science and religion may differ on how we got here, but increasingly there is little disagreement on where we are headed if we don't begin to address the causes of climate change. Scientists have long warned of the dangers of global warming attributed to our profligate use of fossil fuels. Now, one of the nation's most influential religious groups is delivering the same message, if based on an alternative standard of proof.

"I had a conversion experience on the climate issue not unlike my conversion to Christ," Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals, told the environmental magazine Grist. "I was at a conference in Oxford where Sir John Houghton, an evangelical scientist, was presenting evidence of shrinking ice caps, temperatures tracked for millennia through ice-core data, increasing hurricane intensity, drought patterns, and so on. I realized all at once, with sudden awe, that climate change is a phenomenon of truly biblical proportions."

The 30-million-member association, which Cizik says is one of the strongest voices in the Republican Party, isn't just talking about global warming. It is taking action. Calling the doctrine "creation care," the association is conducting a scripture-based campaign to convince its members that they are "commissioned by God the Almighty to be stewards of the earth."

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