Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"They are much like indulgences in that way, aren't they?"

Somehow, Tim Challies connects one of the latest trends of the environmentalist crowd - purchasing carbon offsets for home energy use - to the ancient Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences. Naturally, he brings up Al Gore.
I was amazed, as I thought about this, how humans are so eager to rely on their own actions instead of grace. Indulgences bypass grace through action, through human merit. Carbon offsets do the same, relying on self-punishment (purchasing "forgiveness" for crimes committed) to assuage guilt. By purchasing an indulgence a person neither needs to regret nor change his behavior. He can simply buy forgiveness in the form of a piece of paper. The same is true with carbon offsets. A person can continue to drive his SUV and fly around the world in a private jet, but have his conscience clear because he has offset his guilt with the offsets he purchases. If we ever reach the point where we are forced by the government to purchase carbon offsets, it is the poor who will suffer and the rich who will benefit. There will be no equality.

Indulgences and carbon offsets showed me something. Somewhere in the human heart is something that demands justice, but demands a perverted justice. It demands a justice that is so human, so flawed. It demands a justice that does not rely on grace.
As Instapundit would say, read the whole thing.

Related: The evangelical catfight over the environment

Related 2: Will this happen in America?

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