Why are so many evangelicals deniers of climate change?

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The question in the headline above is especially difficult for a non-religious person like me, but it’s worth tackling by all of us, no matter our religious beliefs or lack of them.

Religion and science are a tricky mix in any circumstance. When you add politics to the equation…well, lots of luck.

Lauren Markoe, a reporter for Religion News Service, recently wrote that 81 percent of evangelical Christian voters in America cast their ballots last fall for Donald Trump, a climate change skeptic. And there are studies indicating that evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to doubt climate change, but I don’t know the extent to which climate issues attracted religious folks to Trump’s political cause.

It seems to me, however, that environmentalists would do well  to tailor their important message about climate matters to appeal to the consciences of evangelicals.  Granted, it’s a tough sell. Lots of religious people are fundamentally wary of science, as we see in the widespread rejection of Darwinian theories of evolution.

But Markoe suggests that it’s not a lost cause. She quotes Katherine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and a faithful Christian: “For long-term sustained action [against climate change], we need hope. We need love. We need encouragement. We need that sense of shared community of being in this together. And for many people … faith communities often provide exactly that.”

Hayhoe says it’s a matter of “connecting our heads to our hearts.”

Personally, I’m of the belief that the worse climate change becomes, the more readily religionists will come to their senses and join the fight to counter its effects. But the problem of too-little-too-late looms menacingly.

In that sense, environmentalism is a pro-life issue.

The sooner that evangelicals recognize that connection, the better.





  1. RedRover

    The stereotype of Evangelical Christians is that they are anti-science, and therefore don’t believe in climate change. But in fact, they are deeply divided over environmental issues. A debate over climate change is raging in Evangelical churches, fueled by conflicting interpretations of Biblical scripture.

    Among the most active groups in this debate is the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). Founded in 1993, its defining document is the Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation, which affirms basic Evangelical tenets such as the “full authority of Scriptures” while also rejecting nature worship and positing stewardship of God’s creation as the Biblical rationale for environmentalism.
    In 2005, conservative Evangelicals responded to the EEN by forming the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The group’s national spokesperson, theologian E. Calvin Beisner, has described the environmental movement as “the greatest threat to Western civilization” because it combines “the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad” into a pseudo-religion that undermines Christianity.
    Chief among the policies that the Cornwall Alliance opposes is reducing fossil fuel emissions to limit climate change, which, it argues, has no basis in scientific fact and threatens to hinder economic growth worldwide.

    Here’s What Happens When Evangelical Christians Debate Science
    Mark Strauss, 10/06/14

  2. Many evangelicals already understand caring for God’s creation is a matter of life and indeed a pro-life concern. In the pass 3 years over 3 million evangelical and other pro-life Christians have taken action with us (The Evangelical Environmental Network) in support of clean energy and climate action. Even today continued polling shows the growth of evangelicals understanding climate science and the need for clean energy to protect children’s health, both born and unborn, from pollution.

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