Monday, April 05, 2004


From CNN in 1998: Volunteers try to save beached whales in Australia
The volunteers have been frustrated in their efforts because some of the whales that have been refloated have headed straight back to shallow waters and beached themselves again. "Just as we think we've got it under control, we've got a kick in the guts," Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service director Max Kitchell said after receiving the news that survivors had begun beaching again.
From CNN in 2004: Thousands pay respects to dead whale in Vietnam
More than a thousand people -- many from hundreds of miles distant -- have journeyed to burn incense near the whale carcass discovered on the beach Friday... Many villagers, especially fishermen, worship the giant mammals and believe a dead whale washing ashore is a sign of good fishing to come.
The question is: Which group is worshipping the whale? Postscript: How far is it from, trying to save a live whale that keeps beaching itself, to essentially worshipping whales? About 20 years ago Randy Stonehill had a song which started off with, "Well it's okay to murder babies, but we really ought to save the whales." What was unthinkable just a few years ago is now promoted by the likes of Peter Singer. I believe that the Christian Worldview mandates that we treat God's natural realm with respect; that we manage the resources He has left us with; and that we treat animals not as commodities but as God's creations. People who attempt to save whales that are beaching themselves may be doing so for humanitarian reasons, but how certain are they that the whale's actions are not motivated by purely natural reasons? In that context, any attempt to prevent the whales from beaching themselves is not only counterproductive, it is against nature. In our attempts to connect with the species we ultimately end up erasing the distinctiveness between us and them. As for poking fun at the Vietnamese for their religious faith... they are certainly within their rights to worship a dead whale on a beach. And I am certainly within my rights to point it out as whale worship. Interestingly enough, I think the Vietnamese have a better understanding of the created order (when compared to the naturalist) because of their whale worship ritual. They understand that humans are not only distinctly separate from other animals in the created order, but that humans have the God given need for some type of spirit worship.

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