Then comes #64:
- Question: Does not this doctrine produce careless and crazy people?
The same "careless and crazy" question underlies another recent news item: an article in the Political Research Quarterly (Barker, David C., and David H. Bearce. “End-Times Theology, the Shadow of the Future, and Public Resistance to Addressing Global Climate Change.” Political Research Quarterly 66, no. 2 (June 1, 2013): 267–279) which argues that "religious belief could slow global warming action" because believers in the Second Coming of Jesus see the planet as "ultimately doomed" and therefore work with a shorter time horizon than nonbelievers who have "little reason to doubt humankind's infinite persistence" (sic).
The authors' theological understanding is pretty unsophisticated - they tell us that "for Christian traditionalists... the planet has no future", and, as a proxy for this "disposable planet theology" they survey people about whether they believe "that Jesus will return to earth someday". Apparently they are unaware that a belief "that Jesus will return" is no novelty, but one affirmed by all of the ancient creeds of the Church. As a result, I'd guess that they significantly overestimate the prevalence of "disposable planet theology", but potentially underestimate its influence on those who actually do hold it.
But those gaffes don't let believers off the hook. Do we act careless and crazy? Or do we act blessed and thankful? Does not this doctrine produce careless and crazy people? "Truly a full-blooded doubt" comments Barth (Evangelical Theology, chapter 11). So, in our stewardship of creation, let's live out the answer:
- Answer: No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.