You cannot count that high

An attractive young woman, wearing a summery white dress and crowned with a tiara of flowers, was interviewed at a recent Earth Day event and her comments, couched in well-meaning platitudes on the importance of caring for the environment, were mind-boggling in the extreme. Her answer to how to heal the earth was to rid it of all fossil fuels. When challenged to provide an alternative means of transportation sans fossil fuels she brightly stated, “We have legs, don’t we?” Asked which represented the greatest global threat: terrorism or climate change, her immediate and confident response was “climate change”. When apprised that far more people have been killed by terrorism she stated with eye-opening candor and insouciant honesty, “That may be true but I’m really not a people person.”

The planet was made for man, not man for the planet

The planet was made for man, not man for the planet

The antithesis of the belief in the nobility of man created by God is of course the secular ideology of man as a pestilential blight upon the world in which we reside. It ought to serve as a stark reminder of the increasing numbers of those who make manifest the belief that man is nothing but a virulent infestation that must be either eradicated or well-controlled for Gaia, the personification of earth, to survive and thrive.

Constructed upon a foundation of sophistry and demagoguery, this Gaian argument inexplicably continues to find gains in both popularity and adherents. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the desire to insure the long-term viability of the environment, those who place the planet before man are most assuredly guilty of egregious pretzel logic.

Their reasoning follows along identical lines as those of the Pharisees who, when disciples of Jesus were observed picking and eating grains of wheat on the Sabbath, objected to their unlawful actions. Jesus of course said in reply, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”[1] And so to paraphrase for those who insist that man is on par with a virus, “The planet was made for man, not man for the planet.”

In the beginning, after God had created the heavens and the earth, the sea and the sky, and the multitude of creatures in the sea, on the earth, and above the earth, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures the crawl on the ground.”[2] God did not say “Let the earth have dominion over man and all living creatures” for that would have made no sense, any more than the argument advanced by those who today proclaim, “Earth first”.

Those who reduce man to nothing more than an accidental conglomeration of molecules will find no intrinsic value associated with any human being. The question that we should ask is, “Of what value is the position of those who hold no value of themselves?

The inestimable value of any life is predicated on the fact that we have been created in the image and likeness of God. Only God can determine the value of a life, and we simply cannot count that high.



[1] Mk 2:23-27.
[2] Gn 1:26.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.