Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Christians Don't Worship Trees...

As G.K. Chesterton once said; "The modern world is not evil; in some sense it is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues... The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone." One of those wild virtues that is wandering loose is the Christian doctrine of creation, or more specifically, the belief that everything that was made is fundamentally "good", and furthermore that man has a special duty to care for it. Yet as a attractive as an idea like this sounds, problems may arise when this idea is taken in isolation. Indeed, when nature itself is treated like a God, it naturally follows that all of the reverence and respect we originally afforded the Deity is now spent on lesser gods. Simply walk down the streets of Asheville, Portland, or some other "progressive" city, and behold a member of "Greenpeace", or PETA, preaching the apocalypse with no less vim and vigor than some hell-fire preacher straight out of Bob Jones University.

Say what you will about the hell fire preacher, but at least he is warning you about the wrath of a personal Deity, not going around personalizing plants. The real question is if we do not believe that God is behind the natural world, then in what sense can we even regard it as something good or beautiful. Is this not rank sentimentalism to marvel at the environment, while never acknowledging that there is some objective beauty upon which to base your admiration. The simple way to explain this total lack of proportion is to consider the fact that each man has been given a certain amount of religious  energy to utilize. But to whatever extent we substitute worship of the creature/creation for God himself is the extent to which our worship becomes perverse and even insane. As Bob Dylan once said; "you've got to worship something", and if we don't worship God, then we are bound to fill that God-shaped void with something else.

The beauty of the Christian faith is not that in our view everything is worthless except God (which might be another potential issue), but rather that there is a hierarchy of importance to all things, which, if maintained in their proper sequence, works a bit like a great symphony (as opposed to a bunch of out of tune instruments attempting to play to the beat of their own imaginary drummer). Below is one of the best videos I have seen in a long time. It further highlights my point about the importance of worshiping the right things. There is a little creative flourish at the end that was not in the original edition, but apart from that it is authentic (or at any rate it may as well be). Besides the hilarity of it, I was most fascinated by the woman's description of nature as a cathedral, which I think is an apt description of nature, the problem is, however, she gives no credit to the Architect, even while dramatically gushing over the nature of His architecture.

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