One of the biggest beefs Martin Luther had with the Catholic Church back in the early 1500s was the selling of indulgences. The church would sell "get out of hell" cards, if you could just come up with the money. You could be excused of any sin, provided you could pay. People even bought the indulgences before they sinned. There was no real concept that you may need to make this up with God, or that one who is right with God will try NOT to sin. The whole focus was on avoiding punishment, and they didn't realize that Jesus had already done it for them.
Anyway, as much as the Church was lambasted for that practice, it has now come back, full force, in a different guise. And this one kind of makes me laugh. It turns out that people who buy very green products or support green organizations are more likely to cheat and steal, and less likely to be altruistic. A University of Toronto study found that these people began to think of themselves as "the good ones", and thus they were given a pass on other things that people would normally be expected to do.
In an experiment, participants were randomly assigned to select items they wanted to buy in one of two online stores. One store sold predominantly green products, the other mostly conventional items. Then, in a supposedly unrelated game, all of the participants were allocated $6, to share as they saw fit with an anonymous (and unbeknownst to them, imaginary) recipient. Subjects who had chosen items from the green store coughed up less money, on average, than their counterparts. In a second experiment, participants were again assigned to shop in either a green or conventional store. Then they performed a computer task that involved earning small sums of cash. The setup offered the opportunity to cheat and steal with impunity. The eco-shoppers were more likely to do both.
I love recycling, and I used cloth diapers. I use the backs of all my paper, running them through my printer twice. I am a green person. But I do it because I'm also CHEAP, and I hate the thought of so much landfill. However, to many environmentalism has become a religion. They begin to feel like the anointed class, because they get it while everyone else doesn't, and thus they're allowed to treat others badly.
That's the essence of the study, and it's my experience with those that I know. And I have to admit that study caused me to chuckle a bit.
But speaking of environmentalism, here's something I just don't get. What is this Audi Superbowl ad supposed to be doing? I find it hilarious, but it would NEVER in a million years make me want to buy a green car from Audi. Does it work for you? I'm totally perplexed by this, and I think I must be missing something.
Let me know what you think! Do you find that environmentalism has become a tyrannical religion? Do you understand this Audi ad? Inquiring minds want to know!
About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.