Pope Francis Hammers Climate Change Deniers: ‘If We Destroy Creation, Creation Will Destroy Us!’

Pope FrancisI literally just had this debate with a right-wing creationist a couple of days ago.  I posed the question to them, “What if climate change is God’s way of telling us that we’re destroying what was given to us and we need to take better care of our planet?”

Now whether you’re a Christian or not is irrelevant for this article.  Climate change is real whether you’re the most devout atheist or holiest of holy Christians.

But the reality for those of us who do believe in climate change is that there are millions of people who will never believe in it or want to do anything about it, because to them if it’s real, it’s God’s doing.  Therefore no matter what humans do, it won’t matter anyway.

That’s why I like posing questions like I did to the right-wing creationist I encountered.  I realize I’m not going to change their view on God’s hand in climate change (whether I agree with it or not) so the best way to hope to change their mind is to appeal to their religious beliefs.

Now I know, many people will simply say, “Who cares, they’re stupid to believe in God anyway.  Why should I have to pander to their idiocy?”

Well, because if you don’t, these tens of millions of people are going to continue to stand in the way of the rest of us doing what we can to try to save our planet.  So you can complain about their ignorance all you want (and rightfully so) or you can try a different approach to hopefully sway their opinion.

Which brings me to comments recently made by Pope Francis where he basically said the exact same thing I was trying to convey to the very religious individual I encountered.

“Safeguard Creation,” Pope Francis said. “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.

“But when we exploit Creation we destroy the sign of God’s love for us, in destroying Creation we are saying to God: ‘I don’t like it! This is not good!’ ‘So what do you like?’ ‘I like myself!’ – Here, this is sin! Do you see?”

And that’s the leader of the Catholic Church, the most powerful Christian on the planet, essentially saying that he believes humans are causing climate change and destroying our planet.

Again, whether or not you believe in God doesn’t really matter in this instance because the reality is that a lot of people do.  And in this country alone we have tens of millions of people who don’t believe in climate change simply because they believe God controls the weather.  And while I know that’s maddening, simply dismissing the opinion of these people doesn’t change what they believe and the fact that their beliefs are impacting the rest of us.

Which is why I find these comments by Pope Francis remarkable.  Not only do they coincide with an argument I’ve used (with some success) toward those who deny climate change, but it’s the most powerful Christian on the planet saying it’s time to smarten up on this issue.  Hopefully these people are actually listening.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Sandy Greer

    “Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.

    ^^^Christians should lead the charge on Environmentalism.

    • John Masters

      I have, Sandy, been unable to figure out why there is this disconnect between Christianity and environmentalism. As a Christian, I agree with you. The Bible says God gave man “dominion” (in many translations) over creation. The problem is that, in reality, many Christians take “dominion” to mean they literally get to do whatever they want with creation. “Dominion” means to govern or rule in a right way. Rulers, given dominion over people and lands have, historically, had an obligation to care for and protect those lands and its inhabitants, but Christians today seem to not understand the obligation and responsibility that comes with “dominion.”

  • manon

    most of the climate change deniers that I know are American protestant evangelical fundamentalist Christians. and they don’t listen to the Pope. In fact, they have some ugly things to say about popes, the Catholic Church, Catholics, non-evangelicals, other countries, the rest of the world… so the Pope nails the truth and the American fundamentalists say that because the Pope said it, it must be a lie. sigh.

  • manon

    and the people I know who believe we are in the End Times think and act like “Well, we are in the End Times, and Jesus is coming in the next few years, and he’s bringing a new Earth with him, so it doesn’t matter because it’s all gonna’ be fresh and new in a little while anyway.” Even if Jesus did show up tomorrow, I think he’d be pissed about the way we’ve treated the Earth. Kind of like parents who leave their teenagers at home overnight and come home and find the place destroyed because their kids had a party.

  • Matthew Reece

    There is no such thing as a “climate change denier.” The opposite of climate change is climate static, and as climate is a long-term average of weather, climate static implies weather static, which every reasonable person knows is not the case.

    What some people reject are the ideas that human action is wholly or partially at fault, that a warmer world is a bad thing, that it is possible to do anything about it, and that government interference in the economy will lead to less pollution rather than more.

    Hopefully, recognition of these points will lead to a more meaningful conversation.

  • Kathleen Marie Kennedy

    We were taught that God gave people “stewardship” not dominion. We are to care for the Earth, not rule over it.