Tag Archives: evangelicals

where do people turn when they don’t trust experts and can’t see the thing (atmosphere) we’re talking about?

“Large-scale environmental conditions especially are hidden from most people until their ecological consequences disrupt individual’s everyday routines and draw personal attention to them, or someone else informs them about what is occurring (Carolan 2004). This is particularly true of global climate change, where the ‘objective’ conditions of the Earth’s atmosphere remain transparent to most everyone except professional scientists (Garvin 2001). People mistrustful of scientists typically consult other non-scientific, cultural experts and elites, or turn to similar others for clues to interpret ambiguous situations. ”Subjective norms are positively related to both [information-]seeking and avoidance, which suggests that one’s social environment has the potential to strongly influence the way he or she handles climate change information”(Yang and Kahlor 2013). The basis for similarity depends on the salience of the group to which a person belongs. Conservative evangelical Christians likely turn to religion in forming their perceptions of global climate change. Yet substantial research conducted over decades has failed to demonstrate clear or consistent results on the association between religion and environmental concern.”

summary paragraph on religion and environmental concern research, specifically work focusing on conservative Protestants and evangelical Christians…

“Social scientific understanding of religion’s role in environmental concern is murky though. Decades after Lynn White’s (1967) charge that Christianity causes modern ecological crises, the association of religion with environmentalism still appears contradictory. “Environmental evangelicals” exist, Christians care about creation, and interfaith coalitions join secular advocates in protests lobbying policymakers for action on climate change. Conservative Protestants who oppose government environmental protection policies contrast this pro-environmental activism and are the most likely nonbelievers in US society about if global climate change is happening. The accumulated evidence from quantitative survey-based inquiries remains mixed about if, and how, “dominion” or “literalist” biblical beliefs, a Christian “fundamentalist” orientation toward the world, conservative Protestant eschatology, and dispensationalist theology explain climate change skepticism and lack of public support for environmentalism among this religious sector of US society.”



from the chapter two introduction…

“Sociological imaginations see material conditions (Marx… ), institutions (WEBER Protestant Work Ethic), structure (Giddens…), socialization (REFERENCE), interpersonal interactions (Goffman Presentation of Self), communication modes (Habermas), gender (Dorothy Smith…), sexuality (REFERENCE), and skin color (Du Bois …) all shaping our perceptions of, meanings about, and actions toward reality. The significance of individuals’ knowledge and perceptions in public opinion about environmental problems and support for environmental policy is the overarching theme I consider here.”

“In this chapter I detail aspects of sociological perspectives on social problems, religion, and environmentalism relevant to my interest in how highly religious people perceive environmental problems. I focus especially on elements of a constructionist view on social problems and the association of religion with expressions of environmental concern. I then present my analytical framework for examining how conservative Protestants view large-scale ecological conditions. I conclude with several broad research questions I explore in a case study of evangelical Christians’ perceptions of climate change.”

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Mun...

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Munich School of Philosophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Official seal of City of Dayton

Official seal of City of Dayton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a revision and re-do of yesterday, with more…


The central question I examine is how religion shapes public environmental concern about global environmental change. I focus on how highly religious people see large-scale ecological conditions and what they know about them. I present a case study of public perceptions, concerns, and understandings about global climate change held by citizens residing in the Midwestern United States. It describes how individuals’ religious views inform their opinions about it as an environmental problem and their judgments on the necessity to address it with environmental policy. I outline the major features of their collective views in subsequent chapters.

My larger purpose for exploring how members of the public like this see global climate change is clarifying further how people in modern industrial societies view ecological impacts associated with widespread fossil fuel use. The goal is better understanding religion’s role in this form of environmental concern by exploring more deeply its cultural foundations, and influences from individuals’ social context, using a qualitative approach. Following a modified constructionist perspective, I explore the extent U.S. conservative Protestants draw on their religious cultural notions in how perceive this example of a global environmental problem. I focus especially on their use of religion with regards to climate science, effects of climate change, and climate policy.

The case study presents the views of fifty-two (52) Evangelical Christians living in the Dayton, Ohio area expressed during unstructured face-to-face interviews with them. Major emergent themes are drawn from participants’ transcripts through qualitative data analysis using NVivo software. I explore their accounts with the conceptual lenses of “stocks of knowledge”, “mental schema”, and “cultural tool kits” (Schutz 1970, Sewell 1992, Swidler 1986). Using this analytical framework and research strategy, I describe the ways participants’ religious beliefs, attitudes, values, and other non-scientific cultural resources inform their perceptions of climate change or scientific information about it, evaluation and concern about its risks, and their opinions about addressing its effects using climate policy.”

Mobilizing Ideas

Activists and Scholars Debate Social Movements and Social Change