The Golden Rule Is Green
According to Robert Butler’s opinion piece at the Intelligent Life link above, it would look green.
Butler’s premise is simple, and appealing. He says being green matters for the same reason that “when the doors open on the tube or the metro, we let other people get off before we try to get on. It’s why we stand to one side of the escalator, allowing those in a hurry to overtake. It’s why we don’t let the door slam in the face of the person behind us. This isn’t about manners in terms of etiquette. It’s not about how you hold your knife and fork—ideas about that differ round the world. It’s about behaving with a degree of courtesy, and because we live in a globalised world, that courtesy now extends further than we might imagine.”
This is an interesting way of thinking about concern for the environment.
To resist the urge to use more resources than one needs, to refrain from doing long term damage to the earth, to replace what one takes so it will still be there for future generations . . . all of that is green, and all of it arises from the common courtesy implied in the Golden Rule:
“Do to others what you would have them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
We would like to add one caveat, however. It is impossible to impose real courtesy by force. Even sociopaths can learn to mimic good manners, and slaves often pretend to love their masters. So courtesy is more than simply the external appearance of concern for others. But what is it, exactly?
True courtesy is a mindset, a sense that others around you actually do matter, and mindsets such as that cannot be achieved by forcing them upon one’s neighbors.
Oppressive laws and burdensome taxes are sometimes proposed in the name of the environment. We oppose them. We believe the better path — the only path — toward genuine environmental change for the better lies in working to help our neighbors see the value in a worldview that respects all of God’s creation for all time.
In addition to the Golden Rule, which was Jesus’ call for common courtesy as a way of life, he also said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” What he meant by that was simple: he had no interest in forced obedience. Instead he wanted followers (he called them “friends“) who lived as he commanded because they loved him and wished to please him, as one always hopes to please a loved one.
What he promised them in return was peace, something environmentalism by force destroys. It seems to us a green world without peace is pointless. ”Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is another well known Bible verse, part of the greatest commandment. It’s also the only way to a genuinely green — and peaceful — world.