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Monthly Archives: April 2013

ch.2, ec-p.26 – why the association of religion with environmentalism is more complex than reducing it to a single measure of religiosity such as dominion or biblical literalism religious beliefs…

“In response to the still ambiguous evidence for the association of religion with environmentalism, some attribute the dampening effect of dominion belief and biblical literalism on environmental concern to a more encompassing fundamentalist orientation with both religious and non-religious cultural foundations. In this view, “Dominion Theology” has no scriptural basis and its associated environmental attitudes are not biblically based (Eckberg and Blocker 1996). This approach “would account for the ubiquitous Fundamentalism effect and could leave room for the positive effect of religious participation…[and] explain why we find independent effects of fundamentalist affiliation that do not clearly flow from the [Lynn White] Dominion hypothesis and why Bible belief has no independent effects [on environmental concern]” (Eckberg and Blocker 1996).”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.25 – extending the point of the previous paragraph…

“Others seek more certain ground for religion’s role in environmentalism by focusing on conservative Protestant fundamentalism. But again, despite some evidence confirming its suspected negative association, the findings overall are not consistent. Although Christian “religious fundamentalism negatively predicted individual environmentalism”, other religious factors still do foster “individual environmental behaviors when fundamentalism and political variables are controlled” (Woodrum and Wolkomir 1997). Although used repeatedly as a religiosity measure in quantitative studies, the importance of singling out biblical literalism for its association with environmental concern is not certain. Its influence on environmental views appears enmeshed within a larger array of religious beliefs distinct to conservative dispensational theology (Guth, Green, Kellstedt, and Smidt 1995). Although initially strongly associated together, the effect of biblical literalism on congregants’ environmental attitudes dissipates or vanishes after accounting for the influence of social sources of information in their churches (Djupe and Hunt 2009).”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.24 – empirical evidence is weak or lacking for the association of biblical literalism with various measures for different forms of expressing environmental concern…

“The role of biblical literalism also varies relative to comparisons with environmental beliefs, attitudes, intentions, or more ecological actions. When observed it does correspond with less concern in the way White claims Christianity reduces it, but the “effect was never strong” (Eckberg and Blocker 1989). Others find believer’s “high” view of scripture shows no direct influence on adherents’ environmental concern, concluding that the assumed or perceived association between them is spurious (Wolkomir, Futreal, Woodrum, and Hoban 1997). Even conceptualizing biblical literalism as agreement that “The story of Creation as written in the Bible is true” does not correspond with variations in denominational environmentalism (Wolkomir, Woodrum, Futreal, and Hoban 1997). More unexpectedly, biblical literalism and other typical expressions of individual’s conservative Protestant religiosity are not significantly associated with dominion beliefs (Woodrum and Hoban 1994). After finding biblical literalism and stronger belief in God (both cognitive belief religiosity measures) corresponds with weaker support for environmental protection spending, while frequent prayer (a religious behavior measure) was associated with those more willing to do so, Boyd (1999) concluded religious factors held little promise for understanding US environmentalism better.”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.23 – reasons why attributing christian’s lack of environmental concern to just religious-based dominion over nature beliefs is misplaced and too simple an explanation for understanding the complex role of religion has for how people do, or do not, express different forms and examples of environmentalism…

“There also is not agreement in the literature about even the specific religious and theological beliefs others find having a negative association with expressions of environmental concern. Some analysts argue dominion beliefs and attitudes are not uniquely Christian today. Instead, they are associated with certain social and demographic characteristics, and grounded in more comprehensive arrays of views and values. Hayes and Marangudakis (2001) found British Christians and non-Christians alike expressed dominion over nature attitudes, that lower educational attainment or less scientific knowledge most encouraged it, and atheists expressed them significantly more. Others in the US also find them most prevalent “among those with little formal education or environmental knowledge” and conclude domion beliefs have more complex religious and non-religious origins because religious salience and church attendance are not associated with them (Woodrum and Hoban 1994). Finally, among US Presbyterian ministers of Lynn White’s religious denominational affiliation, Holland and Carter (2005) found nearly everyone identified themselves as “stewards of the Earth rather than dominions” when provided with text definitions of each position. Evidence like this further confounds the association between these religion and environmentalism measures.”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.22 – how much religion seems to matter for expressions of environmental concern when compared between different religious and non-religious groups…

“In other words, although US Protestants and Catholics are more likely to hold a mastery-over-nature view of human-environment interaction, comparatively the differences observed with the non-religious are not qualitative. Their views are not oppositional and the association of religious affiliation with preferences on environmental issues weakens under more nuanced examination (Shaiko 1987). “Christians and Non-Christians” sometimes do not vary significantly in their environmental views whether positive or negative (REF). Broad measures of “religious identification” intermittently predict respondents’ environmental concern. Religious differences emerge when sub-group comparisons occur between individuals in different denominations within the same Christian religious tradition. Significant variation appears in people’s “attitudes toward the environment” with respect to public polices intended to improve environmental quality or strengthen regulatory protection measures that carry corresponding economic implications and consequences (Hayes and Marangudakis 2000).”

 

What Motivates Environmental Activists, Policy...

What Motivates Environmental Activists, Policymakers? Asks New UMD Center (Photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases)

ch.2, ec-p.21 – description of non-religious factors that some believe are more influential in shaping the environmental concern expressed by religious people…

“Despite these refinements, Woodrum and Wolkomir (1997) and others argue non-religious factors such as “environmental apathy” or lack of environmental knowledge and information are more influential on believers’ environmental concerns than the religiosity fostered by their institutional and local churches. Djupe and Hunt (2009) found “social sources of information” shape US churchgoers’ religious beliefs and environmental attitudes more strongly than doctrinal beliefs or religiosity through how congregations serve as social networks that convey and reinforce political ideas. A few analysts even oppose White’s thesis entirely, arguing Christianity does not have a singular responsibility for a negative effect on environmentalism nor does it foster solutions to environmental problems. Instead, social changes within and across Western societies driven by a “modernization process that fundamentally changed the humanity-nature relationship through industrialization, urbanization, enlargement of scale, and economic growth has affected anthropocentric views among Christians and non-Christians alike” (Dekker, Ester, and Nas 1997).”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.20 – how the relationship between religion and environmental concern appears when the influence of social-demographic variables is controlled and individual environmental behaviors (recycling) are distinguished from willingness to support environmental policy when compared with measures of religiosity (beliefs, attitudes, behaviors)…

“Others caution against unmerited confirmations of Lynn White’s assertions of the anti-environmentalist tendencies of western Christianity and its believers (REF). The strength of association between Judeo-Christian and religious conservative identity and their opposition to environmental regulations remains “very low” once analysts account for age, education, sex, and geography (Kanagy and Nelsen 1995). Distinguishing policy-related measures of environmental concern from its other expressions brings more clarity to religion’s role in environmentalism. Evangelical Protestants “are no less likely to exhibit [attitudinal expressions of] concern about climate change” than Roman Catholics, but they are more inclined to oppose environmental policy and government regulation addressing it (Swartz 2008).”

 

 

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