Global Warning

“The good Lord has to fix it. We’re not capable of it.” Voyd Fleming commented on life, global warming and California wild fires at the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California, a quotation appearing in:

Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, Redding, California. From the south. Photo Chad K. 2007-02-16

It is challenging to engage conservative Christians in discussions about climate.  Here are three responses.

  1. There is no need to do anything about climate change. Christ will return, and everything will be fine.
  2. There is no climate change. God micromanages the earth. There is no need for people to do anything.
  3. Forget climate change. Concentrate on business. God rewards Christians on Earth and well as in heaven. Capitalism, business jets and offshore tax shelters are all part of God’s plan.

This post was originally written 2018-08-01. It stopped here. In keeping with the above set of Christian principles, I waited patiently for God to finish writing this text for me, and to publish it. This did not happen. Thus, I have had to revise my text about God’s plan.

  1. Forget business. Concentrate on climate change. God rewards people on Earth and well as in heaven, who are or were stewards of his planet. Capitalism, business jets and offshore tax shelters have no place in God’s plan.
  2. Climate change is real. God does not micromanage the earth. People have to do everything, and they have to work together.
  3. Christ has already returned (as Baha’u’llah) – and left again, leaving us to deal with climate change. Nothing is fine until we learn to work together, for the benefit of all humanity.


The Universal House of Justice, the nine-member supreme ruling body of the Bahá’í Faith, published a peace letter on 2019-01-18. This post contains a short summary of what the letter is about. The complete text can be found in the Download link, below.

  • The letter is addressed to the Bahá’ís of the World
  • The letter is written on the 100th anniversary of the Paris Peace Conference which was held after World War 1 ended.
  • Bahá’u’lláh asked people to establish peace on earth.
  • The letter is five pages in length, divided into five sections, and 14 paragraphs.
  • Section /A/ is the introduction (paragraph 1)
  • Section /B/ is a reflection on the progress made towards peace (paragraphs 2 – 4), so what has happened so far
  • Section /C/ is a comment on some of the contemporary challenges to establishing peace (paragraphs 5 – 9), mainly the need for people to see unity and peace as the goal
  • Section /D/ is a statement of the contributions that Bahá’ís are asked to make (paragraphs 10 – 12), that they need to act on to make things happen
  • Section /E/ is the conclusion (paragraphs 13 – 14) and tell us what we must do – “build communities founded on spiritual principles and apply those principles for the betterment of your societies”
The members of the Universal House of Justice are, from left to right, Paul Lample, Chuungu Malitonga, Payman Mohajer, Shahriar Razavi, Stephen Hall, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Birkland, Juan Mora, and Praveen Mallik. The House of Justice was elected by delegates to the 12th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa, in 2018-04.

Here are the specific contributions to world peace that Baha’is are asked to make:

  1. Accept the oneness of humankind. /6/
  2. Recognize that there is diversity, yet maintaining a love for all people, and subordinating lesser loyalties to the best interests of humankind. /7/
  3. Guard themselves from becoming enmeshed in conflicts or falling into adversarial methods. /9/
  4. Promote the well-being and tranquility of everyone [children of men]. /10/
  5. Educate people. /10/
  6. Create genuine love, spiritual communion and durable bonds among individuals. /10/
  7. Build up and broaden a system of social organization based on Baha’u’llah’s teachings. /11/
  8. Nurture communities. /11/.
  9. Cultivate environments in which children can be raised without racial, national or religious prejudice. /11/
  10. Champion the full equality of women with men. /11/
  11. Welcome everyone. /11/
  12. Empower everyone to build of a new world. /11/
  13. Invite followers of all faiths and none to devotional meetings. /11/
  14. Engage youth to build communities. /11/
  15. Govern in servitude. (This applies to members of local/ national Spiritual Assemblies) /11/
  16. Resolve conflicts and build unity. /11/
  17. Develop an electoral process. /11/
  18. Engage with those around them. /12/
  19. Make meaningful contributions to various important discourses. /12/
  20. Practice consultation. /12/
  21. Cultivate conditions that are conducive to unity. /12/
  22. Implement peace! /13/
  23. Build communities founded on spiritual principles. /14/
Some 1,300 delegates representing 166 countries, at the 12th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa, in 2018-04.


I am an active member of the Baha’i Faith, an organization that is currently unable to grow, at least where I live, in Norway. My simplified analysis of the situation, is that becoming a Baha’i is too big a step, for the majority of the population. People need an opportunity to take a smaller step, first. Then, at some point in the future, measured in years or generations, they (or their descendants) will be able to make another smaller step, and become Baha’is.

This is precisely what I had to do. I had grown up in a trinitarian family in the 1950s. It was a time heavily influenced by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which mandated church attendance. Despite hours of Sunday School, I found it impossible to understand many concepts that many Christians find fundamental. The first of these was the trinity. Yes, I can accept that there is a God. Yes, I can accept that a person called Jesus lived, and promoted a better way of life, including treating people in the same way you want to be treated. I regarded him as a prophet.

My second problem is Jesus dying for my sins. I commit my own sins and will have to bear responsibility for them myself. Like the majority, I would prefer forgiveness or grace, but it is not up to me to decide if I am worthy of it. Saying that Jesus dying on the cross, resulting in the forgiveness of others’ mistakes is too easy. It just encourages selfishness, and yet more irresponsible action.

A third problematic area has to do with the relationship between creator (normally referred to as God) and his creation (which includes us humans). I have no problems with people being indirectly created (yes, that is why we have sex!) fully accepting evolution. I have no problems with Big Bang, placing this incarnation of the universe at about 13.8 billion years of age.

One of the real challenges that I have has to do with miracles. If one accepts that there is divine intervention at the micro-level, then humans do not need to do anything about, say, the increased carbonization of the atmosphere, and its effects on climate. God will simply come along one day, and fix it for us. At the same time God could replenish the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia, so everyone can continue to drive fossil-fuelers into eternity, while the Saudi Arabians make even more money. A belief in divine intervention has enormous implications for life on this planet.

On the more personal level, a true believer in miracles has no need to change behaviour. One does not have to quit smoking, because God will not allow cellular mutants to cause lung cancer. One does not have to be particularly careful in a workshop, because God will regrow missing limbs.  One does not have to reduce plastic consumption, because God will clean rivers and seas, and make everything perfect again.

Perhaps what I find most astonishing about some tribes of trinitarians, is their ambivalence. They may visit their local doctor, have blood samples taken and checked, and then use science based medications to ameliorate a medical problem. That seems sensible, and I do the same thing. Yet, these same people are unable to visit their local climatologist, have air and other environmental samples taken and checked, and then then use science based corrections to ameliorate a climate problem affecting the entire world.

The interior of the Unitarian Church, Vancouver. (Photo: Rob Atkins 2017 Vancouver Heritage Foundation)

My initial response to these trinitarian problems, was to search for a solution more in keeping with my beliefs and principles. I found Unitarianism to be palatable for me. This was not because of the popularity of Unitarianism. Today, in Canada, there are only 3 804 members, in 46 congregations. To say that 1 in 10 000 Canadians is a Unitarian, is an exaggeration.

Once I became a Unitarian, and accepted Jesus as a prophet, I was then able to accept other prophets, including those of the old testament, and Islam. Thus, when I became introduced to the Baha’i Faith, I could accept it on its own merits. It fit into my accepted pattern.

The Baha’i Faith is almost eight times larger than Unitarianism. The Canadian Encyclopedia writes; “As of 2015, there were an estimated 30,000 Baha’is in Canada, a number that includes French- and English-speaking members of the faith living in 1,200 communities. An estimated 18 per cent of the Baha’i community in Canada are Inuit or First Nations people, while recent immigrants make up 30 per cent.”