Economic growth, climate change, political change etc
We discussed several topics, with no particular common theme:
1. The way industry is currently organised it needs to grow constantly, producing more and more to remain profitable, cutting unit costs. But where is the creative satisfaction in that? One problem in this is that the resources of the world are limited. How can the two be reconciled? Is it possible for governments to resettle people in creative occupations?
2. “Food Sovereignty” is a much debated political issue today- the sense that communities need to regain control over their own food production, rather than relying increasingly on big international companies and supermarkets. But for several centuries people have been leaving the land. Can “food sovereignty” be achieved without returning to “medieval” levels of economy?
3. Political change is often brought about through imagining a better future: “I have a dream” is a better motivator than “I have a nightmare”. But the “dream” needs to be practical and concrete (“heaven coming to earth” is perhaps a theological way of describing it). And how do these dreams influence and affect people who have power in present-day society and have a vested interest in things staying “as they are now”? Does Paul’s statement that “God has chosen the weak” make any sense today?
4. Climate change is one such challenge. Climate change has happened before in the earth’s history (long before humans existed), so where is the evidence that climate change is today being caused by human activity. But the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from about 240 parts per million (stable for nearly a million years) to nearly 400 per million since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Well over 90% of scientists agree that human burning of fossil fuels is almost certainly the cause, though some question this (there can be no absolute proof in any case)- their views are heavily publicised by oil companies etc, and given “equal” place by the media (eg BBC) who must present “balance”.
5. The letter to the Hebrews talks about the sacrifice of Christ replacing the animal sacrifices of the Jerusalem Temple. Is this a misunderstanding of the idea of sacrifice in the Hebrew Scriptures (eg the story of Abraham and Isaac)? Was Jesus a Jewish rabbi, turning into a “divine” being by Pauline theology? Could he be the Messiah if his prediction of the “Second Coming” (parousia) proved a failure. Or is the “Second Coming” the presence of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by eg speaking in tongues?