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Re: [CarFree] Digest Number 509

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  • Theo Schmidt
    ... As the subject of this list is carfree living (or trying to, or even just debating about), you are certainly most welcome as far as I am concerned. However
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 29, 2001
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      Anne wrote:
      >I'm new here, and I'm lousy at introductions. I suppose I could just
      >lurk and read posts, but I want to ask you:
      >
      >As a conservative Christian who does not agree with limiting
      >population growth, but does agree with limiting car use, am I welcome
      >here? We currently use a horse and cart for short distance travel.

      As the subject of this list is carfree living (or trying to, or even
      just debating about), you are certainly most welcome as far as I am
      concerned. However I am curious to your motivations.

      1) Most conservative Christians I know are the opposite to carfree. I
      keep asking them: "If you believe the bible literally and believe the
      ten commandments in the Old Testament (Thou shalt not kill), how can
      you justify not just driving a car AT ALL, but driving in such a way
      (i.e. the "normal" way) that there is a good chance that you will
      kill somebody or yourself during your lifetime (say about 2%) with
      your car?" I never get a good answer to this, nor to the question why
      they support the very people politically who are always against any
      restrictions to driving, be this lower speed limits, less roads, or
      lower alcohol limits. Perhaps you can tell me what I am missing.

      2) If your motivation is however not safety, but rather the
      environment, I have here the question I pose my "green" friends, who
      are often carfree, but are often very much the opposite of childfree.
      "Why do you bother to consume less, not drive, buy
      third-world-correct goods, etc., when having a single one of your
      children less, would allow you to forget all restraint and still
      burden the Earth much less?" I often find these discussions rather
      unpleasant, because having children is accepted as an even higher
      right than having a car, and anyone who brings up the subject of
      population growth is seen as a kind of monster, a breaker of tabus,
      or even a selfish person not prepared to do "one's duty".

      Although the psychology of wanting children (and the right to have
      them) is clear, it seems to me that anybody who is seriously
      interested in improving the quality of life on our Earth *must* at
      least theoretically consider the advantages of population control in
      this age, as we cannot hope for matters to get better (or even avoid
      them getting worse) without limiting our numbers. The argument "there
      is enough for everybody if we share it" is correct, but people simply
      *do not* share (enough), and those (western) nations who do not have
      a population problem themselves simply have exported it by "stealing"
      food out of the very mouths of starving third-world children
      (indirectly, of course; directly they may actually try to feed them).
      The "ecological footprint" of Switzerland is for example about 6,
      i.e. we would need an area about 6 times our actual land area to
      sustain ourselves, thus we are, by this definition, six times
      overpopulated and are "stealing" food from people who need it
      themselves and giving them small amounts of worthless bits of paper
      instead, as we have large supplies of this.

      Anyway, Anne, 2) may be an "off-topic" here, but I think you will
      agree to its relevance and I should certainly be interested in
      hearing your say.

      Theo Schmidt,
      Switzerland
    • Raymond and Anne Keckler
      ... We are a different breed of Christian. :-) We believe in obeying the law, including driving the speed limit. ... Well, we don t personally get involved
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 29, 2001
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        --- Theo Schmidt <tschmidt@...> wrote:
        > 1) Most conservative Christians I know are the opposite to
        > carfree. I
        > keep asking them: "If you believe the bible literally and
        > believe the
        > ten commandments in the Old Testament (Thou shalt not kill),
        > how can
        > you justify not just driving a car AT ALL, but driving in such
        > a way
        > (i.e. the "normal" way) that there is a good chance that you
        > will
        > kill somebody or yourself during your lifetime (say about 2%)
        > with
        > your car?"

        We are a different breed of Christian. :-) We believe in
        obeying the law, including driving the speed limit.

        > I never get a good answer to this, nor to the
        > question why
        > they support the very people politically who are always
        > against any
        > restrictions to driving, be this lower speed limits, less
        > roads, or
        > lower alcohol limits. Perhaps you can tell me what I am
        > missing.

        Well, we don't personally get involved in politics. But I am
        opposed to further legistlation of any kind for the most part.
        I'd like to see this country go back to the Constitution and
        Common Law, and get rid of most of the "for your own good" laws
        that exist today.

        > 2) If your motivation is however not safety, but rather the
        > environment, I have here the question I pose my "green"
        > friends, who
        > are often carfree, but are often very much the opposite of
        > childfree.
        > "Why do you bother to consume less, not drive, buy
        > third-world-correct goods, etc., when having a single one of
        > your
        > children less, would allow you to forget all restraint and
        > still burden the Earth much less?"

        We believe that when God called children a blessing He was
        signifying the importance He places on them, and it is not our
        place to question how many blessings He wishes to bestow upon
        us. When we begin to question such things it shows that we do
        not esteem children the way our Lord does. :-)

        The world will never have too many well-behaved children from
        Christian homes.

        Finally, as I ask my mother whenever she brings up the subject
        of limiting our family size, "Which one would I give up?"

        > having children is accepted as an even higher
        > right than having a car,

        We consider it a privilege to have children, and not a right.
        One difference is that we do not go to extremes to have
        children, but we also do not try to limit the number of children
        the Lord wishes to bestow upon us.

        > and anyone who brings up the subject of
        > population growth is seen as a kind of monster, a breaker of
        > tabus,
        > or even a selfish person not prepared to do "one's duty".

        Well, a human soul is a bit different than a car. *g*

        > we cannot hope for matters to get better (or even avoid
        > them getting worse) without limiting our numbers.

        I respectfully disagree. :-) And in Mennonite and Amish
        churches, we do take care of our own.

        =====
        ~Anne
        http://www.geocities.com/raymondkeckler

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      • Rex D. Kerr III
        ... I think that you have overlooked a very important motivation. Simplicity. Cars (as is often stated here) are another item to get our lives tangled up
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 30, 2001
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          > 2) If your motivation is however not safety, but rather the
          > environment

          I think that you have overlooked a very important motivation.
          Simplicity. Cars (as is often stated here) are another item to get our
          lives tangled up in... payments, upkeep, maintenance, etc... Not
          having them frees our time and thoughts for more important (spiritual)
          subjects.

          > "Why do you bother to consume less, not drive, buy
          > third-world-correct goods, etc., when having a single one of your
          > children less, would allow you to forget all restraint and still
          > burden the Earth much less?"

          I think it is clear that we are coming at this from entirely different
          points of view. You see, the decission that Anne (and myself) have
          made is based on what we would see as applying Biblical principles.
          Anne is pursuing fellowship in an Amish community, and myself I find
          like fellowship in a conservative Mennonite community. That gives us a
          lot of common ground. We are not trying to burden the earth less, we
          are trying to remove unnecessary distractions from our own lives.
          Also, our view of how this world is going to turn out really rules out
          worrying too much about "burdening the earth" as it will be consumed
          anyhow. That does not mean that we wouldn't promote good stuardship of
          what we have been given.

          I know it sounds like I'm speaking a lot for Anne, but I know a bit
          about where she's coming from from elsewhere and believe that she would
          agree with my statements.

          -Rex

          =====
          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          Rex Kerr \ For there are three that bear record in heaven,
          rexkerr@... \ the Father, the Word, and the Holy
          rkerr@... \ Ghost: and these three are one.
          ----------------------------------------1 John 5:7--------
        • Raymond and Anne Keckler
          ... AND... Separation from the world (no need for drivers license, Social Security number, insurance, etc), and modesty (hmm... what was that article I read
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 30, 2001
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            --- "Rex D. Kerr III" <rexkerr@...> wrote:
            > > 2) If your motivation is however not safety, but rather the
            > > environment
            >
            > I think that you have overlooked a very important motivation.
            > Simplicity.

            AND... Separation from the world (no need for drivers license,
            Social Security number, insurance, etc), and modesty (hmm...
            what was that article I read somewhere about cars being a sex
            symbol... or worse!).

            > We are not trying to burden the earth less,

            Although, for me at least, that is a part of it. Others call it
            "environmentalism", but we would call it "stewardship".

            > I know it sounds like I'm speaking a lot for Anne, but I know
            > a bit
            > about where she's coming from from elsewhere and believe that
            > she would agree with my statements.

            Mostly, yes. And I don't mind if you speak for me at all, Rex.
            I think you did a good job of putting some of that into words.
            Thanks! :-)


            =====
            ~Anne
            http://www.geocities.com/raymondkeckler

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          • Ken Kifer
            I have to jump into this discussion. Let me first say that I admire the Amish and Mennonite attitudes and way of life, even though my own understanding of
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 30, 2001
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              I have to jump into this discussion.

              Let me first say that I admire the Amish and Mennonite attitudes and way
              of life, even though my own understanding of things is different. Like
              Theo, I see population, per se, as a problem; however, unlike Theo, I
              see lifestyle as an even greater problem. To make my case, assume two
              identical earths, one inhabited by people living a low-tech lifestyle
              which emphasized recycling and caring for nature and the other inhabited
              by people who used huge amounts of fossil fuel and made no attempt to
              conserve. While the first earth will eventually run out of room for
              humans and/or the humans will make it difficult for other species to
              survive, those problems will show up much quicker in the world were
              everyone is consuming like crazy.

              There are some real advantages to the high-tech lifestyle, such as
              modern medicine. However, it seems to me that most of the advantages
              are highly overrated -- including medicine. We brag about having the
              best medical care in the world, but we have much higher medical costs
              because so many people have sedentary lifestyles, eat poor diets, and
              smoke cigarettes. Our modern lifestyle so chops up a person's time and
              dehumanizes him or her, that TV, for a lot of people, is the only avenue
              of escape. I do not see any advantage to having more toys to play with
              when life seems basically meaningless.

              Theo tried to point out some paradoxes in your points of view, but I
              find greater paradoxes in the viewpoints of environmentalists I have
              known. They have big cars and drive a lot, big homes and run the
              air-conditioner all the time, etc. However, they want the _government_
              to do something about pollution and global warming; they can not
              conceive of the problem as one of individual responsibility.

              It seems to me that if _we_ want to do something to improve the
              environment that where we should begin is with individual lifestyles.
              What difference does it make if we reduce the amount of CO2 a car
              produces if every year individuals just drive farther for more frivolous
              reasons?

              I have heard the argument made (and this was in a Christian magazine)
              that there is no incentive for individual people or nations to pollute
              less, and therefore there is no solution to the problem of global
              warming. However, I see living a simpler life as having its own
              rewards. Although I am living in a cabin in the woods and using a
              bicycle as my soul transportation because I am opposed to our wasteful
              lifestyle, I also consider my current lifestyle very enjoyable and
              fruitful. I don't regret having to ride a bike 12 miles (one way) for
              groceries and supplies or gathering wood for fuel in the winter to be
              onerous tasks; instead, I find meaning in them. It is certainly more
              enjoyable than driving a car through heavy traffic!
              --
              Ken Kifer's Bike Pages: 100 pages of info! -- health, advocacy, safety,
              touring, lifestyle, humor, and links: http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/
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              Bicycling Life: The good news about bicycling, with commuting,
              recreation, how to, and safety info: http://www.bicyclinglife.com
            • Rex D. Kerr III
              ... That phrase taken by itself kind of changes what I meant Anne. :) I did clarify that good stewardship was important. (even used that very same word! )
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 1, 2001
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                > > We are not trying to burden the earth less,
                >
                > Although, for me at least, that is a part of it. Others call it
                > "environmentalism", but we would call it "stewardship".

                That phrase taken by itself kind of changes what I meant
                Anne. :) I did clarify that good stewardship was
                important. (even used that very same word! <g>)

                -Rex



                =====
                --
                ----------------------------------------------------------
                Rex Kerr \ For there are three that bear record in heaven,
                rexkerr@... \ the Father, the Word, and the Holy
                rkerr@... \ Ghost: and these three are one.
                ----------------------------------------1 John 5:7--------
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