Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Parents, Children, and the Environment

"Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly," reads a headline in the UK's Daily Mail. This article shows how warped the secular understanding of the world can be and its tragic effect on human life.

Memorable quotes include:

“Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet."

"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."

The views in the article show a significant misunderstanding about what it means to be human. By living the Orthodox way of life we know (experiential knowledge, not just intellectual knowledge) the nature of the creation and our place within it. As human beings we are part of the creation, the cosmic ecosystem, but we are not just a part of it, we are the center of it. This doesn't mean that the world is here for us to destroy. Instead, we were intended to be its benevolent caretakers, knowing the true significance of each aspect of creation and using everything according to its purpose for good. To live according to our calling is to be a true spiritual environmentalist, motivated by love. Secular environmentalists encourage actions, like the individual recycling of trash or national reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, to improve the environment. We know, however, that the way to transfigure the creation around us begins with the purification of the inner heart. (Inner purity produces outer action.)

As we dragged the world down with us through our Fall, we participate in the renewal of creation through our own participation in God, who fills all creation and in whom the whole universe is contained. This personal and cosmic renewal requires one to do something many environmentalists are unwilling to do: repent. Repentence means personally turning away from self-centeredness, self-justification, and confusion to embrace the living Creator God Himself. Self-confident spiritual ignorance mixed with delusional pride can result in chaos and death, spiritual death and, as the article makes clear, even the death of an innocent, unborn child.

I wish all those influenced by secular ideologies would take the time to know the truth revealed in the icon of the Holy Nativity: The One through whom all things came into being humbly lays as a newborn infant in the feeding trough of animals within an earthy cave. Next to Him is His mother, an image of perfect faith and selfless love, who is honored above all other people and even above the angelic Cherubim and Seraphim. If the men and women of secular culture knew this woman and, most importantly, her Son, their perspectives on family, children, and the world would be dramatically altered and their lives would be radically transformed.

After you read the original article, check out this response on the Philadelphia Inquirer website (Nov. 29, 2007).