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"Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? ... I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding" (Job chapters 38-41)
"all things were created by
him and for him: and He is before all things, and by him all things consist"
"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:21-22).
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:1,5a).
by John Tierney
Extract from the article, Recycling... Is Garbage
New York Times, pps. 24-29,44,48,51,53
30 June 1996
[The West has] embraced recycling as a transcendental experience, an act of moral redemption. We're not just reusing our garbage; we're performing a rite of atonement for the sin of excess.
Recycling teaches the themes that previous generations of schoolchildren learned from that Puritan classic, The Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan's 17th-century allegory features a character not unlike the garbage barge that left Long Island: a man dressed in rags who flees the City of Destruction, desperate to find a place he can unload the "great burden upon his back".
Guided by the Evangelist, the pilgrim wanders the world trying to reach the Celestial City. His worst trial occurs in Vanity Fair, a village market founded by Beelzebub and inhabited by noblemen named Lord Luxurious and Sir Having Greedy. The market offers tempting wares, but the pilgrim bravely practices the first R - reduce - by shunning the products of the "merchandizers" and continuing on to the Celestial City.
Today's schoolchildren, though, might be confused by one character encountered on Bunyan's road to salvation: a man, the source of our word 'muckraker', who is busy raking together a compost pile. This recycler of household waste isn't presented as a role model for the pilgrim. He's a symbol of moral blindness because, instead of looking up to see the heavenly rewards awaiting him, he
In Bunyan's time, it would have been hard to imagine that pilgrims would one day be taught to search for salvation right down there in the muck.
Maybe parents and children correctly see the intangible value of recycling lessons. But as children pursue their moral education, as they learn to ponder the fate of the earth, it wouldn't hurt for them to also study, once again, that recycling scene in Pilgrim's Progress. If Bunyan were an administrator in today's schools, he might call it a lesson in prioritizing.
The thrifty muckraker, intent on his compost pile, doesn't notice a figure hovering overhead, offering to trade him a golden celestial crown for his rake. This scene is observed by the pilgrim, who consults a helpful guide named the Interpreter.
The Interpreter points out the waste on the ground and sadly explains that, for the muckraker,
The muckraker has forgotten that there is more to life than hoarding natural resources. His recycling has become the most primitive form of materialism: the worship of materials.
The pilgrim cries out in horror:
Three Views of the Earth