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).”

 

 

ch.2, table 2.c – summary table of research whose major findings do not show a positive or negative association between religion and environmental concern measures…

Table 2C Religion No Effect

 

This is a diagram of the relationship between ...

This is a diagram of the relationship between ice cream and crime, illustrating that the correlation is spurious given they both increase due to increasing temperatures and not because they are in some way related to each other directly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ch.2, ec-p.19 – discussion of research showing measures of religion do not have the positive or negative association with measures of environmental concern that some infer from empirical findings, meaning religion’s observed effect is actually the influence of other factors…

“No evidence or spurious relationship. Table 2.C summarizes work from analysts who find no evidence of religion’s association with environmentalism or see only signs of a spurious relationship. Nearly equivalent in number to the amount of research showing a negative relationship, these efforts find either minimal or no observable positive or negative influence of Christianity on environmental concern in the US. Although “being Christian” and other religious factors initially correspond with less supportive environmental attitudes, their association dissipates when controlling for measures of political conservatism—leading to charges of spurious relations (Greeley 1993).”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.18 – relationship between measures of religious conservative protestant fundamentalism with people’s environmental and economic policy preferences, and hints of the influence of political factors on the role of religion in environmental concern…

“People more strongly affirming traditional or orthodox Christian doctrines more frequently indicate fewer environmental preferences (Guth, Kellstedt, Smidt, and Green 1993). Moral and political conservatism is a distinctive of “Fundamentalists” and those concerned with “maintaining moral standards as a high priority are less environmentally-minded” (Guth, Kellstedt, Smidt, and Green 1993). They “dismiss environmental concern as part of a liberal political agenda that they reject” (Greeley 1993). Rather than specific theological beliefs, stronger religious sectarianism better accounts for when people judge economic growth more important than the environment (Eckberg and Blocker 1996). Given this negative association of fundamentalism with environmental concern, some conclude that focusing on “the complex of ideas in dispensational theology and not just biblical literalism” is necessary because the “better the measure we have of this theology, the stronger the correlations with environmental attitudes” such as those tapped by the NEP questions (Guth, Green, Kellstedt, and Smidt 1995).”

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