The world is going to end anyway, so why care about the environment?

The question in the title is a common way of thinking among evangelical Christians. Can someone explain this view better in a way that makes sense?

This thread isn’t about bashing anyone or any group, but I’m trying to figure out why this type of thought (in the title) is so prevalent among evangelical Christians in America. Assuming that the world will end at some unpredictable point in time, anywhere from the next second to the next trillion years, it still doesn’t make sense to not care about the earth.

It only makes sense if you are actually hoping for the Earth to end in the very near future so that you will die before you suffer the consequences.

It would be similar to thinking, " I’m not going to take care of my health because I will die anyway." That line of thought is only rational if you are planning to die in the very near future.

So why is the sentence in the title such a common way of thinking?
Is there a way to rationalize it assuming the world is going to end at an unpredictable point in time?

I think we maybe need a cite for that claim. Here’s an article that seems to agree with it and also rebuts that way of thinking on scriptural grounds.

But it’s still not clear to me what percentage of evangelical Christians actually espouse it.

It makes no sense so, no, one can’t explain it “in a way that makes any more sense” because there is none to be had in the first place.

If one believes that, then why live as an individual? You’re going to die anyway, so just lie around and starve to death now and get it over with.

You can thank John Nelson Darby. He was an English evangelist in the 19th century who invented the theory of “the rapture”, recently popularized in the Left Behind series of novels. Why this novelty has taken root in America and basically nowhere else is an interesting question.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of the OP, but the only thing I can think of in the Bible that could be considered pro-ecological stewardship is Noah’s Ark. Otherwise, the whole thing presents Earth as a resource that exists for humanity to use for its own purposes. And I feel relatively sure that even Noah’s Ark existed principally as a retcon to the story of the deluge, to explain how everything didn’t drown.

Totally a guess here: Wasn’t there something to the whole “rapture/end of days/judgement day” thing that destroying the earth would hasten things along (which is what they want), while delaying/mitigating destruction (AKA: Save the Planet/recycle/environmental movement) would delay things?

No, I don’t think so. They would say that the time is already set, so nothing can hasten it or slow it down.

James Watt, as Secretary of the Interior, said the same thing, and he was responsible for keeping the environment up and running.

IIUC, during the 1970s, certain sorts of Evangelicals became convinced that we were living in the End Times (see, for example, The Late, Great Planet Earth).

“If the building you’re living in is going to be torn down soon anyway, why not trash the place?” is, I guess, the mindset.

Radical evangelicals don’t just think it os okay to pollute, use up resources, and engage in destructive wars because the end is high; they actually want to bring the “End Times” by trying to create the conditions described in the Book of Revelation 6:1-17, and are willing to embrace and rationalize their support for a leader who will bring that about even though he is the polar opposite of evangelical Christian ideals.

These people are crazy, and I don’t mean in a colloquial, casual way of just disagreeing with their opinions; I mean they hold counterfactual beliefs which harm society based upon a shared delusion of their own importance and rightiusness of their cause regardless of the damage it does.


A co-worker believes that we are living in “End Times.”
Although he is an otherwise intelligent person, he is convinced that the Rapture is close. When he mentioned this to me, I pointed out all of the many other times that religious figures have predicted the end of the world, and he just shrugged it off - this time it will happen!

The legacy of James G. Watt:
Fortunately, Watt is the Earl Butz of the Reagan administration. He cannot speak without reminding us of his bizarre vision of American society. He likens environmentalists to Nazis. He describes Indian tribal rights as socialism. He confuses the Vegas sleaze of Wayne Newton with middle-class values. He compares his own “persecution” by the media with what Hitler did to the Jews. Watt’s denunciation of the Beach Boys as the “wrong element” for Fourth of July concerts on the Mall was so loony that even the Reagan White House was compelled to dissent.
Later indicted for perjury and obstruction in of influence peddling at HUD, but that was about the least of his offenses.

Fuck that guy.


Uh… Yeah. That’s the actual line of thinking. The world will end very soon.

It’s pretty hard to invent something that’s been around for 1800 years.

Did you mean to type ‘until the 1800s’?

Yeah, I remember those days - I got to experience them as a new Christian.

The Sixties were a particularly crazy time in the life of the United States, and it was easy to feel apocalyptic in the immediate wake of those times. But you get to about 1975 when things were getting back to a new normal, and at least for me at that point, the notion that the End Times were just around the corner suddenly looked downright absurd. (I’ve seen no reason to change my mind since.)

But AFAICT, in terms of the environment and climate change and whatnot, the End Times (for those who put any stock in that notion) are more of an excuse than a reason to not give a shit about them. Their real reason is that Liberals Are Evil, and being pro-environment and being in favor of doing something about climate change is a Liberal Cause, so it’s Evil.

But if the argument is that our current ways of using those resources will ultimately leave the world unfit for our purposes? It all depends on how you interpret the parable of the talents.

You’d have to provide evidence that the notion of the Rapture existed before the 1800s.

It’s not some obvious Biblical teaching. It’s what you get when you take a passage from Matthew 24, another one from 1 Corinthians 15, another from Thessalonians, and probably a couple others that I’ve long since lost track of, and claim that they’re all talking about the same thing.

I question if the “we are about to be destroyed” mind-set is primarily a useful meme for fire & brimstone preachers. Maybe they, or the masses, don’t really believe that, but keep up the pretense, as it is socially useful and provides a common bond. The world is going to end soon (wink,wink), but meanwhile, we’d better take care of our gardens.

I would disagree with this, yes the time is set, but that includes using up resources as God knows (well the Father knows) how we will use or conserve them - so the time known is irrelevant in this respect as only the Father knows, and that equates to when humans will use up the resources, thus we can and will help set that time, and we have been a factor in it’s setting.

But the belief I know of is current earth is not home, but a contested battleground, and the Christians are the warriors for the Kingdom of God. As such during war times it is usually not thought as beneficial to conserve resources, as that would be detrimental to one’s side. Once the war is over God will restore the earth (called the New Earth in scriptures, mentioned once in the OT and 2x in the NT IIRC). The primary mission is what one’s soldier orders are, what many don’t see is that the weapons of war they are given is based on the Love of God.