If you’re trying to draw me offsides

[Part 1]

[Part 2]

… it just may work.

Here’s the deal, boys. I am not making assertions about the cause or potential implications of global warming one way or the other. The fact that my unwillingness to take a side is disturbing to people is, well, a little confounding to me. I’m not a Republican, a fan of corporations, or a Halliburton stock holder. I am for us doing whatever we can do to be better stewards of the earth as long as doing so doesn’t injure other humans (a post for another day).

I’m just a skeptic, kids. I’m not convinced people are this smart or this objective or this in command of the past, present, and future trends of our planet. If history and science prove one thing about our ability to know with any certainty what’s going on, it’s that we’re almost always wrong the first, second, and third time around, at least with regard to some significant part of our conclusions. There has been scientific consensus about warming before. And cooling. And warming. And cooling. And that’s just in the last hundred years or so.

The very fact that everyone sneers and scoffs at anyone who would suggest we don’t know for certain that warming is real, catastrophic, and clearly anthropogenic makes me even more suspicious. There are very few better reasons (for me) to question the certainty of something than having everyone smirk and say, "Everyone knows that…" I assume I don’t need to start listing the various "everyone knows" statements that time and new science have proven to be utterly laughable.

But wait, we’re talking about science. The vast majority of scientists agree that we’re all responsible for overheating the earth. Ah yes, science. What does science say about the existence of a creating, active deity? What do the overwhelming majority of scientists believe about my claim the Spirit of this all knowing, all powerful God lives inside me? About miracles? About immaculate conceptions? Physical resurrections?

Science is useful, but my trust in it is incomplete and conditional. I even believe we can and should see some re-merging of faith and science. Bring it on. Just please don’t shake your head at me pitifully when I don’t acquiesce to the majority of scientists or to popular consensus.

There’s something at work here that I have to mention, but which I do not intend as an accusation toward anyone in particular, certainly not anyone posting here. That something is this: the failure of the religious establishment to take good care of people or the planet does not obligate those of us who consider ourselves more progressive followers of Jesus to pledge ourselves to popular political, environmental, or charitable causes. In fact, we must not do so until and unless we have tested those agendas with discernment in the Spirit, asking whether they manifest the Kingdom and whether they make good sense (the first, frankly, being more important than the second). Determining that they do not does not make us heartless or indifferent to the real world. It makes us more able to actually follow Jesus as He brings love, justice, and healing to that real world, and less prone to accepting meager substitutes for that all-consuming invasion of redemption.

Once again, I am not shaking that stick at anyone accusingly, at least no more than I’m shaking at myself. I am concerned that we all (author included) are tempted to settle for what appears good, even if it’s not our actual calling. And, lest there be any doubt, I do not condone or encourage individual indifference or religious blindness on these issues. This cuts both ways.

As for the science and reality of warming, my intent is not to suggest that I believe those who promote or believe the consensus view are wrong; only that they are capable of being wrong. It’s a scandalous suggestion, I know, and it is both unpopular and, in the religion of popular opinion, heretical. If you believe they are correct, I have no problem with you. I simply encourage everyone to season their belief in either direction with a healthy portion of "this is our current best guess." And at the risk of offending, I wonder if being easily taken aback by those who question or oppose popular opinion might mean you haven’t done that; that you have, instead, made absolute and incontrovertible fact out of current consensus. I think it’s also fair to note that, in the finer print, most of the scientific theory supporting the consensus doesn’t even express that degree of certainty and instead uses words like "strong evidence" rather than "absolute proof" or "very likely" rather than "conclusively." Of course, no one is under any obligation to take my advice.

I post the following at the risk of starting precisely what I do not wish to start here, and I warn you that I will spam anyone who goes down the road of trying to "out-peer-review" someone else on my blog. My intent here is to make the very mild and factual point that it’s not just me, Dick Cheney, Homer Simpson, and a handful of crack addicts who don’t embrace the prevailing viewpoints without caveat or question.

Please note that home anywhere does not endorse any of these people or their opinions. We do not assert that they are correct; merely that they exist. Again, please do not occupy the space below trying to controvert any of these people. That is unnecessary as it is not my point to promote any particular agendas or scientific conclusions. These scientists and their ideas are subject to the same skepticism and ability to be wrong as the others. It just seems en vogue to pretend these folks either don’t exist or that they work for big oil. Everyone who exists deserves, at least, to be acknowledged as actually existing. So call me an activist for actual existence.