religion bad for environmental concern

ch.2, ec-p.14 – then there is research showing religion has a negative influence on expressions of environmentalism. the more frequently a believer expresses certain forms of their religiosity or strongly believes particular religious beliefs, the less concerned they are about the natural world…

“Negative association. TABLE 2.B summarizes studies where analysts obtain evidence for primarily only a negative association of religion with environmental concern. These represent roughly one-third the amount of work demonstrating a positive or mixed association. People who attend church and worship more frequently may engage in some environmental behaviors more often, but they give far less support to increasing environmental protection than others (Black 1997; Eckberg and Blocker 1996; Kanagy and Willits 1993; Sherkat and Ellison 2007; Woodrum and Wolkomir 1997). Religious socialization experiences such as currently attending or growing up in a “fundamentalist” Protestant church also corresponds with reduced support for environmental spending (Kanagy, Humphrey, and Firebaugh 1994). A distinct theme emerges in these findings. Christians, particularly Protestants, predominantly perform individualistic private pro-environmental behaviors rather than those supporting public or environmental policy and government regulation or action.”



  1. so do I understand you correctly? that people who worship another god say God himself, or some sort of higher power like I heard it descrbed will tend to be less concerned with enviromentalism? are you saying they are less concerned for enviromental concern (such as pollution or to much development or something)? or are you saying they are not likly to become an enviromentalist that worships the earth and nature above man who subscribe to severe restictions on humans say in advocating agenda 21 or sustainable development eugenics, and the like? I am just asking not trying to deride, because I love Jehovah the creator and yet I love the earth and do not like abuse (as opposed to use) of it, but I am realistic that man will not be able to solve these problems via sustainable development and I recognize that this sustainable stuff is not really about enviromental concern (which may explain religionist lack of interest or support of it)but in implementing policies that actually copy what nimrod himself started, in forcing people into higher and higher dense cities for purposes of control. thus using cities to concentrate people for easier control and taking away their ability to vote with their wallet, feet, or mind using concern for the enviorment as an excuse? or are you referring to something else entirely? thanks.

    • thanks for your comment roberta4949! you ask a lot of very good questions. i’ll address them in the order you pose them, but it may take me a few days to cover them all. let me start with a clarifying disclaimer on the limits of what social scientists can say about the relationship between religion and environmental concern and what we can’t. in the positive sense, we only make claims about “things” we can measure through empirical observation – in this case *expressions* of religion (religiosity) and *expressions* of environmental concern (environmentalism). in the negative sense, this means we/i aren’t (1) on one hand making judgments about the theological correctness of what we observe (though i’ve got my views and you yours!), nor (2) on the other hand are we making claims about any ultimate spiritual reality (does god exist, if so which one(s), etc). these two topics are both worthy, valid discussions, but not what i’m directly focusing on as a sociologist doing social science with my particular study. this doesn’t mean, however, what i and others do isn’t connected to these discussions or possibly have implications for them.

      ok. to your first question…what i’m describing here is the accumulated understanding so far that we have about the association (correlations) observed among certain forms of religiosity with particular forms of environmentalism. one way to categorize these forms based on attitude-behavior theory is to distinguish among people’s “beliefs”, “attitudes”, “intentions”, and “behavior” (each word a concept and variable with specific meaning and definition setting it apart from the others). [HERE BEGINS THE DIRECT, SHORT ANSWER TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION] all i’m currently doing here is summarizing some of the negative associations others have observed between *some* expressions of religiosity (mainly judeo-christian tradition) with *some* expressions of environmental concern [AND ITS END]. i probably won’t ever present them with respect to who, or what, people worship because that raises difficult scientific methodological issues. for example, how do i empirically measure “who/what” someone “worships”, what does that (worship) look like, etc. instead i could use a religious belief about god, the denomination of the church/synagogue/temple someone attends weekly, or their personal self-identification to categorize a person religiously.

      if things suddenly are seeming more complicated, you’re on to a very important insight about the religion-environmental concern relationship (r-ecr)! and i didn’t even mention the complexity arising when we begin asking if it matters what specific aspect or component of “the environment/nature/creation, etc.” is involved with any particular exploration of the r-ecr (local or global, urban or rural?)!! in other words, does what we observe for the r-ecr vary as we change the “environmental example” we use in our study (climate change or pollution of your local lake)?

      i appreciate your thoughts. i’ll give more response later…

      • I am under the understanding that if one loves God with their whole being (like Jesus said you should first and foremost) and you love your neighbor as yourself then concern for the enviroment is automatic as it is his earth and he created us to love animals and a clean productive earth. in this case God has a name he gave himself, Jehovah, he causes to become (he becomes whatever is required to fulfill his promises) so if judea/christianty seems contrary to the enviroment (maybe it si because people believe they aer going to heaven and the earth is eventually going to be destroyed is why they are not as concerned with the enviroment, don’t know for sure) of course both ideas are wrong, the earth is to remain and righteous humans re to live there forever in a paradise, now what will paradise be like? well the bible only gives foregleams as to the physical and spritual blessings but doesn’t go into detail of what kind of energy will we use, technologcal advancements or whatnot, those will be worked out in his timetable, it does say it will end death, bring back those who died, end all disease and all incorgibly wicked people. end all natural disasters (remember Jesus calming the storm?)and no one will go hungry or be homeless and the animals will be at peace with each other and us. now as for what paradise is going to be like we cna’t say beyond what is written,since none of us ever lived there before, but it will be wonderful considering that for Jehovah it is impossible for him to lie. if your so inclined check out for more info on this and all the scriptural refernces and how we know we can trust the bible to be accurate despite all the passing of time.

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