Climate Change: A Matter of Reason, Not Faith

From Mirada Global, an interview with theologian Peter Knauer, S.J.:

Peter, what do we learn about God when we are faced with current ecological challenges?


Ecological challenges are, as ethics is in general, an object of reason and not of faith. Faith neither makes them more urgent than they already are nor gives them a more obligatory character than they already have. But faith liberates us from the power of that anxiety for ourselves which is connected with our human condition: vulnerable and mortal. In faith we experience the freedom that definitely permits us to follow our conscience.

The entire universe, including its being created, is an object of reason. Only God’s self-communication is an object of faith. It is not possible to make use of God as an argument for ecological claims.

Read the full interview here. Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


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david power
7 years 3 months ago
Faith is dependent on Reason . Is this true or false?
The idea that climate change is more grounded than our faith in Jesus Christ is  what is implied by the title of this blogging.
I believe that Obama will be re-elected but know that the weather is warmer in Florida than in New York.
Is this the thrust of the argument?I read that faith is an act of knowledge and that is correct doctrine according to the bossman.   
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 3 months ago
Faith and reason are not necessarily separate, if only because they both exist together in people like me who are not very good at compartmentalization.  If I were an atheist, the type of atheist I would be if I were one, I wouldn't care whether the world is ruined for me or future generations.  But since I think the world and we are meant into existence from attosecond to attosecond, I think the world and we are meant to continue toward some end which we can only faintly imagine.

I think reason as applied to science is overrated.  It isn't just reason, it's insight, eureka moments and just plain surprise. 
7 years 3 months ago
Well, if Climate Change is just a matter of reason with Faith having nothing to do with it, I wasted time posting 12/12 Signs of the Times on a Climate Change segment. I guess what Calvin Coolidge said about the Vice Presidency of his day,is true about my post, “It isn’t worth a bucket of spit!” Hmmm!
7 years 3 months ago
Hi Nicholas, Look up current issue of AMERICA, 12/12/11 Signs of Time segment, the part touching on Climate Change, read the blogs there and maybe the blogs on this site may make a bit more sense.  By the way, Happy Feast Day - 12/6 his feast (St. Nicholas) and the traditional saint it is thought from which Santa Claus arose. Give a little gift (s) to friends, like candy - it's the tradition. 
Nicholas Clifford
7 years 3 months ago
Am I the only one confused by this snippet about climate change? I don't see what t's driving at. Isn't the fact of climate change pretty much accepted by everyone? Isn't the real battle between those who argue that the change comes from human activity (jumping up ever since, say, the Industrial Revolution and its factory chimneys) and those who (like Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, in a recent issue of The Tablet) who argue that humans have little or nothing to do with it - and thus shouldn't be blamed. As for saying that ecology is simply a matter of reason, isn't that self evident, as it is for any other branch of science? (or indeed history, politics, economics, etc. etc. etc.)

If one were to argue that the link between human activity and deleterious climate change has been proved, and that we as Christians are, accordingly, called on to act to help prevent such changes for the benefit of humanity, that's something else. But it's not the subject being discussed here. Or have I (quite possibly) missed the point?
James Collins
7 years 3 months ago
No it is not a given that climate change is caused by human activity. As long as those who have a vested interest in global warming continue to stifle opposition their pleadings will be suspect. We need an open debate on this issue that is open to all scientists, especially those who disagree. We need to get all the facts and opinions on the table. Until we do there will be no agreement. Christian social justice demands no less.
David Cruz-Uribe
7 years 3 months ago

your comment sounds all very reasonable except for the fact that there is nothing to debate.  The vast majority of climate scientists are in agreement on the causes and dimensions of climate change.  The very small handful of scientists who disagree are given a respectful hearing in the peer-reviewed literature, but they are not able to convince anyone by their critiques.  Only on Fox News is there a "debate" about climate change and the role of human civilization in causing it.


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