New Bible Geared Toward Environmentalists with ‘Green’ Theme

October 9, 2008 at 2:57 am Leave a comment

green-bible.jpgA new edition of the Bible sets out to show that the seeds of environmentalism were first sown in the Garden of Eden. Just as “red letter” Bibles highlight the words of Jesus in red ink, The Green Bible,
in stores this week, uses green ink to spotlight more than 1,000
passages extolling the goodness of creation and God’s charge to mankind
to care for it.

The first chapter of Genesis is grass green, as
are big chunks of Psalms and threads through every book including the
Gospels, where Jesus considers the lilies of the field and keeps his
eye on the sparrow.

Publisher HarperOne uses the New Revised
Standard Translation of the Bible to present the earth-loving book
printed with soy ink on recycled paper and bound in eco-friendly linen.

Where other Bibles have theological analysis, The Green Bible
has essays by conservationists and theologians who link its calls to
compassion, love and brotherhood to eco-concerns. It concludes with a
reading guide tracking environmental themes throughout the Bible.

The Humane Society of the United States is
distributing copies at upcoming events for its All Creatures Great and
Small campaign to promote moral awareness of the treatment of animals
on the farm or in the family home as pets.

A national survey by Baylor University in Waco,
Texas, released in September, found most religious people of all
denominations agreed that “dramatic” changes were needed to prevent
further damage to the earth, air and living creatures. However, those
who said they had no religion were 12 to 15 percentage points stronger
in their view that mankind must step up on stewardship. Also,
evangelical Protestants were consistently less likely to agree on any
of the environmental issues than other Christian groups.

“We need a Bible like this,” says Rev. Richard
Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who
has led the group into environmental activism. “I’ve traveled the
country for two years now speaking at college chapel services. I ask,
‘Has anyone here ever heard a sermon at their home church on the
stewardship of creation?’ Rarely does even one hand go up.”

Environmentalism faces hurdles among
evangelicals, Cizik says, citing suspicions that it is
“liberal-leftist” or “witchy-pagan,” or that it leans to government
regulation.

Another hurdle: “Dominionism — the idea that God gave this to us and we can do what we darn well please.

“When people tell me, Jesus never talked about
the environment, I say, God says, ‘Love your neighbor,’ not drown him
in melting sea ice,” Cizik says.

However, this newest Green Bible is not the first. A 1993 book also called The Green Bible,
co-authored by religious studies expert Stephen Scharper and
anthopologist Hilary Cunningham, has no green ink but has the same
intentions.

It intertwines ecology and ecumenism by drawing
quotes from a wide range of sacred texts, saints, poets and scientists,
says Scharper, who teaches on social movements in the University of
Toronto’s Centre for Environment,.

“We wanted to address the tension between
Biblically based Christians and environmentally based Christians and to
show the corresponding views of other faith and humanist traditions
with quotes from the Dalai Lama, Gandhi and others,” says Scharper.

Source: USA Today

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