Seriously, the headline on Time.com is The Case For Making Earth Day a Religious Holiday. What could go wrong with that? How about, plenty!
The article starts off:
Earth Day is upon us—that forlorn little non-holiday that some years sandwiches itself between Easter and Passover, or other years trails in the wake of those “real” holidays. If the Super Bowl is America’s unofficial national day of celebration, Earth Day is the collective yawn that brings a shrug. No recipes offer Earth Day chips and dips to serve when friends and beloveds gather in celebration of the miracle of a living planet. Because they don’t. Not even ours.
For the two of us environmentalists—one of us nominally Jewish, the other a recovering Catholic—we find the ill-defined nature of the only day honoring the place that makes life itself possible more than a little sacrilegious. So, on this 53rd Earth Day we thought it useful to pose what a real Earth Day should represent and how it could form a central time for a new approach to worship.
Nominally Jewish. Recovering Catholic. Sure, they’re entitled to their point of view.
But for someone who’s really trying to be a Christian, I’d take a really careful look at what they have to say before going with the suggestion to make earth day a religious holiday. It’s such a bad idea, I don’t know if including the word worship even makes it any worse. Of course, it does. But that’s just to give an idea how bad this idea is.
What’s at the center of a religion?
The proposal for an earth day religious holiday says:
To begin with, let’s take a look at what established religions get right and where we might take a cue. Perhaps the first step might be, um, unearthing the nature-centered origins of our existing religious holidays. Most of us know in the back of our minds that Christmas and Hanukkah fall around the time of the winter solstice; that Easter and Passover are celebrated in tandem with the arrival of spring; that Sukkot and Diwali mark harvest and summer’s last warmth, and Eid follows the path of the moon. These holidays have origins in gratitude. Gratitude for the sun returning. Gratitude for the harvest that could avert the starvation winter might bring. Thanks for when it did avert it. We could conceivably reframe these holidays as days of thanks for what the natural world gives and reminders that our responsibility for what remains is an ongoing covenant.
Well, they totally missed the point here.
Judaism is centered on God. You know, the one who tells His people about Himself in what Christians call the Old Testament. Being grateful is certainly part of it. But it’s gratefulness to God, not to any time of year.
Christianity brings the Messiah foretold in Judaism. Sure, Jews don’t consider Jesus to be the Messiah. But the prophecy is present throughout their scripture. We Christians do believe Jesus is the fulfillment of those prophecies. So, again, God is front, center, and throughout our religion. We’re certainly grateful for what God did for us. But our worship is to God.
This was written a couple thousand years ago, And it describes something that was going on for thousands of years before it was written.
We like to think we’re enlightened. Smarter. Know better. Are more intelligent. In every way, better than those who came before us. And yet, as The Teacher wrote in Ecclesiastes, there’s nothing new under the sun. We’re no different.
We come up with old ideas, give them new names, but are still rebelling against the God who created us and everything else. We want to give glory, reverence, and worship to ourselves and every created thing. But not God. What could go wrong there?
Conclusion – Make earth day a religious holiday? What could go wrong?
What could go wrong? Everything Paul wrote has gone wrong. Still goes wrong. And will continue to go wrong.
That is, until we decide t have reverence for and worship our Creator, rather than the things He created.
The sad truth is this. If we really want earth day to be meaningful, it’s not that hard. If we acknowledge God, that He created us, and created our world and everything in it, then we won’t need earth day, Why not? Because out of gratitude to God for everything He gave us, we would take care of His creation because we love Him.
But we don’t. And as long as we entertain this kind of thing, we won’t.
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