Extremely hot weather causes drought, dried out forests burn ferociously, towns burn, people, flora and fauna die, glaciers and polar ice melt, the oceans’ water levels rise, famines stretch across whole continents, refugees come from unexpected places.
The earth offers a place of life and living things, stimulating the senses with beauty, delightful aromas, beautiful sounds of birds and wildlife, and refreshing water that quenches one’s thirst. The elements of water, air, soils, and fire occur to create the components that make life possible for those that swim, fly, grow, and evolve.
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
I hate this verse with my whole being; it gives men permission to exploit and manipulate every natural resource without a consequence. Rather than having dominion over all that swims, flies, slithers, and walks, we have the opportunity to live and let live. We can’t pollute our waters, air, and soils making them unfit for maintaining life. We can’t murder or rape others, or steal from them, or use violence against them. For every action against another, there is a consequence of loss of trust or respect for another.
Rev 11:18 ”destroy those who destroy the earth.”
All reasonable people can see that corrupted power if left unchecked, will mean the doom for us all. It isn’t selfish to stand for one’s rights, to think for oneself, to speak out, write, organize, form coalitions, bring about change if a change is indicated.
U.S. citizens have been propagandized to think that capitalism is the only political/economic system that works. It is supposed to create wealth and it does, for a few who willingly manipulate and exploit others. Working men and women make the goods and services others desire, they grow the food and they clean up to maintain a safe and sanitary environment, and they bring forth the next generation that is manipulated and exploited by "successful" capitalists.
Freedom is not a gift, nor is justice. We have to work to keep them free of corruption. Those who support corruption become part of the problem.
To be a good citizen requires critical thinking, carefully thinking about goals and means to those ends. A good citizen has wisdom, courage, perseverance, and determination.
The bible and its teachings do not prepare one to be a part of a diverse community. They teach that humans can be named acceptable or not according to gender, clan, tribe, and race. Domination of one over another is not only allowed but demanded.
What if men and women were perceived as partners in life? Or if nations perceived themselves to be participants in making life better? Or if Homo sapiens saw themselves as part of a magnificent universe? Or if religions taught how to live in harmony with diversity?
..."Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it..."
I hate this verse with my whole being...
The Bible is a product and expression of Dominator Culture. It utterly failed to predict any form of democracy as a viable form of social organization. The closest it comes, if I recall correctly, is a repeated refrain in the book of Judges, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes", referring to idolatry and ensuing disaster. The Bible's highest virtue is obedience. Its authors simply couldn't imagine anything better for a utopian paradise than a "benevolent" dictatorship (where we all WILL like strawberries!).
(And the other big problem with that verse is that it's taken as an endorsement of some sort of divine right to make as many babies as possible. What works for small tribes competing for "market share" on a lightly populated, seemingly limitless planet isn't so good anymore with over seven billion people on this overloaded rock, on track towards 11 billion at the end of the century.)
...U.S. citizens have been propagandized to think that capitalism is the only political/economic system that works.
Reminds me of this bit from Marshall Brain's "Why Won't God Heal Amputees", where he writes about creating a "Heaven on Earth":
If capitalism can adapt to the challenge, great. If not, let's invent something new. We are intelligent people, and, when we put our minds to it, we are good at solving problems. Human beings are fundamentally good, and none of us like the fact that three billion people live in such crushing poverty.
If we design our economy properly, the advent of robots, nanotech and other advanced technologies will give us the opportunity to create Heaven on Earth in the very near future. In the process we should be able to completely eliminate poverty, raise the standard of living for everyone and give each person on the planet true economic freedom.