For our honeymoon my wife and I spent some time in Thailand, including a memorable few days in Khao Sok National Park. The fact that it is a man-made reservoir didn’t alter the beauty of the area, and we had a great couple of nights sleeping in a small floating hut, followed by a night sleeping 50 feet up a tree while every primate in the park stopped by and had sex on our roof.
While we were there we went on a walk through the jungle. Aside from the creepy leeches that, despite lacking any apparent sensory organs, would unerringly hunt us down wherever we stopped, one of the highlights was seeing a tarantula spider in its natural habitat. Our guide evidently felt that our enjoyment of said arachnid would be enhanced if he poked it with a stick. This seemed ill-advised to me, and while I hadn’t at that time started to use Californian surfer-speak in the post-ironic way I now do, had it been available to me a hearty “Dude! You’re poking the deadly venomous spider!” would have fairly represented my thoughts.
Thinking back, I’m inspired by our guide’s spirit of adventure (though I still feel obliged to point out that he was, like, totally poking a poisonous spider with a stick!) And having read a fair amount about environmentalism, and also a certain amount about both Christianity and Christianism, it feels time to make a bold assertion that I can try to follow up in later posts.
Before I do that, though, a little reasoning. My understanding of Christianity is that the core concept is to believe that salvation can be found only through belief in God as manifested through his son, Jesus Christ. Forgive the questionable wording there, it’s the idea that counts. Many things I’ve read suggest to me that this idea is literally it, that you could theoretically do anything you wanted, however vile, and so long as you still held this belief you would be welcomed into the presence of God. But at the same time, if you do truly believe this idea then certain activities become essentially untenable. It’s almost the reverse of the ‘No True Scotsman‘ fallacy; it’s not that a ‘true’ Christian wouldn’t commit some depraved act, rather that it’s almost impossible to contain a true belief in Christ alongside the desire to do such things (we’ll ignore for a moment the fallen nature of man).
So there are certain things that could reasonably be expected of a Christian, even though there isn’t an absolute mandate for any one of them. A significant one of these, perhaps one of the central teachings of Jesus, was taking care of those less fortunate than you. This caring can take many forms, and there is very legitimate debate about how much an individual could be expected to do. For example, it’s not expected that all Christians sell all their possessions and wander forth to minister to the common man, but neither should they live as they wish without a thought for others.
Clearly that gives us a lot of leeway, and that’s before we get to political and economic ideas about what actions actually benefit the less fortunate best (trickle-down economics, socialism, libertarianism, etc.) But it’s clear that there is a line somewhere, however blurry and indistinct, beyond which a Christian should not stray. As a fun effort to define that line, therefore, I hereby assert that if you own a Hummer you are not a Christian.