I got a visit from the Jehova’s Witnesses this morning, who handed me this.
I like Jehova’s Witnesses. Not because I agree with anything they say (at all), but because they arrive at your doorstep impeccably turned-out, and ready with passionate, but polite and considered answers and a willingness to debate — unlike most environmentalists in almost every respect.
The man explained that the world was being destroyed. ‘Oh, I think it’s getting better all the time’, I said. ‘What about all the oil spills’, he asked. ‘Well, they’re local problems, and they get cleaned up. Meanwhile, we get better and better at looking after ourselves’. I suggested that Jehova’s Witnesses should be encouraging a discussion about how to get more oil out of the ground, faster, if they want to help people — especially the poor. Ultimately, our conversation ended when I explained that I did not beleive in God, though the smell of tobacco smoke and the seven empty bottles of wine next to the front door may have had as much to do with their departure. A lost cause.
As far as I can tell, the decline of the natural world is an inevitability, according to the Witnesses until such time as ‘God’s Kingdom’ on Earth is restored by him. But paradise will only be available to them. Obviously, then, there’s no need for the IPCC, or the Climate Change Committee, or Greenpeace — God will mend the planet.
There always has been a Christian character to environmentalism: the idea of paradise being destroyed by the Fall of man, and the need for institutions such as the Church to help us balance our temporal desires against the limitations of divine/natural providence. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ recruitment campaign is founded on such ecological precepts as ‘environmental destruction’.