Friday, March 26, 2010

Younger evangelicals more willing to blame human activity for climate change

Evangelical Christians tend to be among the most ardent climate-change skeptics, but some are believers in both ways, and a new movement is emerging to tie God and green together. Many younger evangelicals "are making a spirited effort to show that their religious beliefs and their environmental concerns are not only compatible but inextricably linked," Gregory M. Lamb of The Christian Science Monitor reports.

A 2009 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life poll revealed only 34 percent of white Evangelicals agreed there is solid evidence that Earth is warming because of human activity, while 48 percent of white mainline Protestants agreed. But conservative Christian students at Baylor University in Texas are more likely to accept the evidence of human-induced climate change, Susan Bratton, chair of its environmental science department, told Lamb. Bratton, who has had seminary training and teaches a course on Christian environmental ethics, explained her students come from "probably the greenest generation we've ever had here." (Read more)

Religious affiliations becoming more important in the climate change debate as "apocalyptic visions and the muscular language of religious fervor" invade the climate arena, Jeremy Lovell of ClimateWire reports for The New York Times. The religious appeals are "replacing issues of fact with those of faith and bringing high emotion into science -- an area where it should have no place -- politicians and religious leaders complain," Lovell writes. "It is a mistake to use a form of religious language, because it is unnecessary and misses the central point that we have 200 years of scientific data that tells us we are playing a very dangerous game with our environment. This is a matter of fact. It should not be muddied by faith," Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation public policy think tank, told Lovell. (Read more)

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