Are Christians becoming more 'green'?

July 24, 2013

Despite the wide-held perception that Christians have become more concerned about the environment, new research finds this so-called "greening of Christianity" is not evident among the religious rank-and-file.

According to the Michigan State University-led study, Christians report lower levels of environmental concern than non-Christians and non-religious individuals. More than 75 percent of Americans are affiliated with a Christian denomination.

"The results suggest this presumed greening of Christianity has not yet translated into a significant increase in pro-environmental attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of everyday Christians in the United States," said Aaron M. McCright, associate professor in MSU's Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology.

McCright co-authored the study with John M. Clements from MSU and Chenyang Xiao from American University. The findings appear online in the research journal Organization & Environment.

Historically, some scholars have argued that Western Christianity – with its claim of human dominion over the Earth – is at odds with environmentalism.

But during the past 20 years, some Christian leaders and organizations have begun to promote earth-friendly values and activities. Many Catholic parishes, for example, adopted the "Earth Charter" requiring a reduction in their use of energy and resources, while Southern Baptist, Evangelical and other Christian groups also have launched campaigns to protect the environment.

But the message doesn't appear to be getting through to the average Christian, McCright said.

He and his colleagues analyzed the national survey data of 1,430 people who were asked in 2010 about their religious beliefs and environmental beliefs and actions. The results were similar to those of past decades – that Christians are less pro-environmental than non-Christians and non-religious individuals.

This doesn't mean a greening of rank-and-file Christians won't occur in the future, McCright said.

"If the greening trend among Christian leaders and organizations deepens and broadens, we expect to eventually see a measurable shift in the general public as well," he said.

Explore further: Study: Religious diversity increases in America, yet perceptions of Christian nation intensify

Related Stories

The politics of climate change

April 29, 2013

U.S. residents who believe in the scientific consensus on global warming are more likely to support government action to curb emissions, regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat, according to a study led by a ...

Recommended for you

Amateur paleontologist finds rare fossil of fish in Arizona

September 3, 2015

Growing up, Stephanie Leco often would dig in her backyard and imagine finding fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex. She was fascinated with the idea of holding something in her hand that was millions of years old and would give ...

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

flashgordon
1.3 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2013
For a real scientific study and view of chrisitanity,

http://wwwscienti...uth.html

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.