Global Warming an Act of God?

Why is there such disagreement on global warming? Why does one person view the scientific facts so differently from how another person sees them? Back in May, Karen Street dug deeper into that question in her blog A Musing Environment, and came up with some interesting thoughts on why we have such varied ideas about science.

Views on an issue like global warming are influenced in large part by one's personal experiences and memories, Street explained. Of course, political leanings also play a big role -- a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that "two-thirds of all Democrats said they were convinced global warming was occurring, and nearly as many Republicans disagreed." But the influence of religion is as important as political affiliation, if not moreso.

Author Renee Altson writes that she was moved by an article by Wes Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, who takes issue with descriptions of the recent hurricanes as "Acts of God." Rather, he says, "we've disobeyed God's clear biblical instructions to preserve the integrity of God's good creation" by excessive burning of fossil fuels that results in global warming, which he points out has been said for years to cause more intense storms.

There is definitely wide disagreement on global warming among Christians. the Evangelical Environmental Network insists global warming is very much a problem, and one that governments and individuals out to take steps to correct. On the other hand, the Surf in the Spirit Web site says Christians need not worry about global warming, in part because computer models of climate change are based on assumptions that don't mesh with the book of Genesis and the notion of the Great Flood.

The Washington Re-Post blog quotes results from the aforementioned Post poll and notes that about half the respondents who thought God was behind the recent monster hurricanes believed they were meant as warnings. But of what?

The Alabama-Democrat blog notes that Alabama Sen. Hank Erwin says it was payback for the sins of New Orleans.

(More on the different views of divine direction of the storms can be found in this article in the Village Voice.)

Note: I realize that both climate change and the Almighty are subjects that get people pretty worked up. But even though there's not much one can say on the intersection of the two subjects that's not speculation, I'm interested in your thoughts, if you care to comment.

By Emily Messner |  October 3, 2005; 6:05 AM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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Global Warming as an Act of God. Hmm.
Those legally more erudite might be able to extend this discussion beyond my familiarity in part from reading the fine print in insurance policies.
Therein, Act of God is used as a 'hold harmless' claim separating an insuror from responsibility for events arising from forces whose workings are generally beyond human knowledge. A related thought is that even if an Act is somewhat humanly understood, the ability to assign discernible purpose and thereby possibly intent comes up a wanting. Such is often the case with nature's excesses. Violent storms, droughts of consequence, earthquakes, maybe less so diseases all have current realizations that draw upon human heritage and history for context. Unreckoned acts from time to time were attributed as reward or punishment from the heavens or from earth. Contemporary policy and politics were ever actors as well. And so today.
Interestingly, where human purpose is discernible ranging for example from population growth to economic activity there appears less a rush to bring a Supreme Being into the discussion. Now hurricanes, that's another matter; there's long been enough wriggle room for interpretation, misinterpretation and a whole lot more when dealing with science and spirit.
But global warming or Global Warming, well that one may be more ours than a Supreme Being's, unless you think maybe it's all God's Way or nature's way anyways. Hmm.

Now I have some appreciation for why this was going to be the first posting for the "Global Warming an Act of God?" segment of The Debate. I offer an explanation by way of signing off...

Posted by: FoolsRushIn | October 3, 2005 08:16 PM

I'll admit this much: when Katrina was developing in the Gulf, I kept saying, "God is angry" (Or "Mother Nature is taking back what's her's"). I'm not a religious type (or even a Christian) let alone superstitious, yet it's a primal thought among humans that something they can't predict or control to think of some divine entity controlling the tempest.

My personal belief of this whole Global Warming fiasco is, the Earth is balancing itself out. It went through a 300 year cooling period (1500 to 1850), and now probably is going through a 300 year hot zone. Sometimes it may not even be Earth itself doing the changing -- look at the Sun's recent solar flare/emission activity to see how active it's been in just 5 years, to see it's not only man who influences our climate.

Global Warming is only a political issue among those who believe in ideas, not facts (as there are NO facts indicating Man himself is destroying the "ozone layer" and causing excessive CO2 emissions, etc. -- crap, just wait until a massive volcano releases not only massive amounts of CO2, other harmful and caustic gases!! Will it be "manmade" then too????).

Climatic data can't be measured with any accuracy within our lifetime. Our great-great-great grand kids will have to sort out any trends, all we can produce are computer formulas/models that's made of datasets that are programmed by not exactly unbiased and objective scientists. It can change in 20 years, and like in the 1970's (just do a search of 1970's publications depicting the pending Ice Age for a clue), all the hoopla about the NEXT ICE AGE goes out the window -- again, only to be supplanted with the newest trend.

Wash, rinse, repeat. :rolleyes:


Posted by: SandyK | October 4, 2005 05:05 AM

The main reason many people don't think there is global warming is becausew the so called scientific facts used to make global warming claims aren't scientifically based. For example, inflated estimates of global warmng based in part on ground thermometers near urban areas, claims about glaciers melting when the melting started as early as mid-nineteenth century, claims about the latest severe hurricanes are evidence of global warming when the data show that the overwhelming majority of all severe hurricanes occurred before 1950 and in a cyclical pettern independent of any relationship to warmer temperatures. It's an old tactic to discredit opposing arguments by identifying them with fringe groups; i.e., simple minded religious fundamentalists. Let me know when you want a serious debate on the issue.

Posted by: dennis gosier | October 14, 2005 02:24 PM

If there is, in fact, enough scientific evidence to prove that the earth is suffering from a traumatic shock due to human activity, then it will take an act of God to repair the damage. However, I'm sure that someone may need to ask Him.Personally,I don't perceive the threat of global warming as great an issue as the reflex of failing to strive toward social unity. As Americans we should be more supportive of our government.Why is it that every president who is in office when concerns arise over an issue that existed prior to their appointment is automatically blamed for the problem? Maybe we should focus more on what we can personally do to remedy the concerns at hand. "Ask not what your country can do for you?"

Posted by: B. Mott | October 19, 2005 12:46 AM

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