Tag Archives: Protestantism

ch.2, ec-p.28 – political and economic beliefs, attitudes, and values compete with religious factors for influencing the environmental concern of political conservatives

“Another response to these mixed findings draws on structuration or cultural social theory to reconcile religion’s seemingly contradictory influences. These quantitative investigations show religious beliefs intermix with political and economic values to influence people’s views about resource depletion and pollution issues such as the effect of human activity on ecosystems, the relationship between nature and the economy, and environmental policy  (Dekker, Ester, and Nas 1997; Dietz, Stern, and Guagnano 1998; Hornsby-Smith and Proctor 1995; Kanagy, Humphrey, and Firebaugh 1994; Sherkat and Ellison 2007). This work demonstrates religion itself does not exclusively shape how people view human-environment relationships or consider environmental policy. Political factors mediate or neutralize otherwise pro-environmental intentions for Protestants who identify more strongly as political conservatives (Sherkat and Ellison 2007).” 




ch.2, ec-p.27 – the relationship of religion, protestant, evangelical, or otherwise is complicated by theoretical and methodological issues arising from how researcher’s empirically examine it, and by non-religious influences such as political, economic, pragmatic, and other factors that become especially relevant when the object or focus of “environmental concern” is an environmental problem that some argue must be addressed with public/environmental policy. for various reasons, this especially is the case for conservative protestants and evangelical christians

“Conflating “Christian” with conservative Protestant or fundamentalist maintains both an illusory homogenous negative association between religion and environmentalism and continues yielding findings showing little to no effect of religiosity on environmental concern. The cultural foundations of conservative Christians’ views about environmental issues and problems may really rest on their “fundamentalist Biblical orientation”, but it quickly mixes with their political commitments and economic values (Hand and Van Liere 1984). Religiously conservative social activists’ “views on environmental policy are part of much more comprehensive religious and political worldviews” (Guth, Kellstedt, Smidt, and Green 1993). Individuals’ adherence to a wider, complex, but “rigid political and religious ‘story’”—rather than simple “biblical literalism”—better accounts for the contradictory expressions of environmental views with some behaviors (Greeley 1993). This likely includes the variation observed between highly religious people’s willingness to perform individualistic private actions such as recycling compared to supporting public policy solutions to environmental problems intended to address their more structural societal causes as seen with climate change policy.”



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.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.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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