Similarities between Renewable Energy and Christianity in America’s culture wars? Say What? Renewable energy and Christianity? Did I catch your attention with that? It’s more than getting attention though. I was really struck by some of the culture war issues that renewable energy and Christianity do have in common.
Americans are split on so many things
The headline is Renewable Energy Becomes A Flash Point In America’s Culture Wars.
America is a bifurcated country. Half the people don’t want anything to change — ever — while the other half want everything to change, especially if change means …
The renewables article is about a disagreement legal battle between Minnesota and North Dakota. And Texas, who’s basically fighting with itself.
I’m including some background here, because I think it’s important to understand a bit about what’s happening.
The renewable energy war
No matter which side you’re on with renewable energy, it helps to understand the things going on in Christianity. And in so many other things in life in today’s America.
So, here we go.
On the east side – Minnesota
Greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector in Minnesota have dropped 40% over the last 10 years. Today, 28% of that state’s energy coming from carbon-free sources like renewables, nuclear, and hydropower. Yet there is much more to do in order for the state to reach its carbon emissions goals.
This year, Minnesota has adopted a number of new policies designed to speed the adoption of renewable energy within its borders. The legislature passed and the governor has signed the Clean Energy And Efficient Buildings act, which will provide up to $80 million in incentives for solar, energy storage, microgrids, and energy resiliency.
On the west side – North Dakota
As has become the norm in America, if someone is for something, a bunch of people will be opposed to it. Just west of Minnesota is North Dakota, which is proud of its coal-fired generating plants and likes to sell the electricity they make to Minnesota. The Flickertail State has threatened to sue its neighbor to the east, claiming the commerce clause of the US Constitution forbids Minnesota from refusing to accept North Dakota’s high carbon electricity.
Further to the south – Texas
Texas has installed more wind energy in the past decade than another state. But just like Big Tobacco, Big Oil never, ever gives up the fight to fill the skies with deadly pollution. The fossil fuel industry is furiously peddling the myth that renewable energy resources failed during the freakish cold snap that gripped the state in the winter of 2021. And of course, Texas is ground zero for the oil and gas industries in America. The companies have bought a lot of members of the state legislature and it is time for those feckless public servants to repay the investment the industry has made in them — if they hope to get re-elected, that is.
The renewable energy war within America’s culture wars.
Kind of a mess, isn’t it?
How does Christianity fit into America’s renewable energy culture wars?
America is also pretty much split in half over political issues.
That same political split is reflected in renewable energy battles.
It’s also there with religion.
I often write about the weird split between conservative/Republican/Christians and liberal/Democrat/non-Christians.
Of course, that’s not a hard and fast alignment.
But it does reflect a wide swatch of how the people in this country line up.
And it’s even messier than what you just read above. Why? Because when religion enters the picture, things just seem to get worse.
The Takeaways portion of the article is where I want to focus the comparisons
Many CleanTechnica readers focus on the low cost of renewables and assume that if electricity from wind or solar is cheaper, it will automatically push out conventional thermal generation. Not so. There are tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars at stake and nobody wants to see their share of the pie reduced — even if there is a full on five-alarm climate emergency underway.
The answers can seem obvious in the clean energy field. But then, both sides think theirs is the obvious choice. AT least, that’s what they’re going to say. As to whether or not they truly believe what they say, well, that’s only known by the people whose mouths are moving.
That’s the case with any issue in the many culture wars going on in America.
But notice, that paragraph we just read talks about money Lot’s of money. And there’s plenty of money in religion. Payments are made to the denomination if the church belongs to one.
If the church decides to leave a denomination, exit payments must be made. Depending on the denomination, and maybe the conference within the denomination, that might only be their outstanding obligations. On the other hand, it may also include paying for the property on which the church is located. For megachurches, that can be one whole lot of money.
And let’s not forget:
1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
If only it was that easy. Yes, … the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. And it happens in churches too. They don’t want to lose their local people. They don’t want to give up too much to the denomination. And they don’t want to pay too much to leave either. But, when the culture wars come in, splits occur in churches as well.
“Power is a dangerous drug; it can maim, it can kill,” according to a Jimmie Buffett song. So is greed. The fossil fuel crowd can see the cliff ahead and are trying everything they can think of to delay the transition to renewable energy as long as possible. They have no concerns about humanity. They only want to keep the gravy train going. If a few hundred million people have to die to make that happen? They can look back and say, “I got mine, brother. Too bad about you.
Power. There’s the saying: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And there’s the proverb about wisdom and power:
Pr 3:27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.
It’s bad enough when political leaders have no concerns about humanity. But it’s even worse when this happens with church leaders. No small part of the reason it’s worse for religious leaders is because of the timeframes involved.
Governments messing up the environment is, while bad, only for a lifetime. Religious leaders messing up church teaching, corrupting Jesus’ message, can be forever. That’s forever, as in eternity.
Think about the passage below:
12:13-17 pp — Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26
Mk 12:13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Mk 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.
Now, imagine the One who said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. How do you think He feels when churches and those who claim to be following Him get into the kinds of things we’re looking at here? Arguing and even splitting apart because of culture wars.
What does Jesus think about people who claim to be following Him, but who side with the government in oppressing the poor and downtrodden in the world? When those who claim to be following Him, bringing the good news of the Gospel to the underprivileged and forgotten people in the world are trying to use His name to oppress them.
Conclusion – Similarities between Renewable Energy and Christianity in America’s culture wars?
”In the final analysis, basing our economic model on a weaponized version of capitalism that rewards sociopaths the most may be the greatest threat to humanity of all.“
In the final analysis of the similarities we’re looking at, a weaponized version of “christianity” that oppresses the people it was meant to save may be the greatest threat to true Christianity of all.
Image from Bing AI with border added