Evangelical Christians and Climate Change

In a previous post, I mentioned Berry’s idea that two communities, the redemption community, most prominently Evangelical Christians, and the creation community, have developed in the West since the Middle Ages, the former basing its understanding of the natural word on a literal reading of scripture and the latter on science. But have all Evangelicals dismissed the evidence provided by environmental science for climate change? Not entirely. According to a Pew Research Center report based on data gathered in August 2014, while 70% of white evangelicals either think that the warming of the earth is due to natural patterns or reject the evidence for warming, 28% do accept the evidence and believe that climate change is caused by human activity. In other words, as of mid 2014 at least one in four white evangelicals agreed with the growing numbers of Americans who believe in climate science and humanity’s responsibility behind the alarming data.

Efforts to persuade their fellow believers about the reality and seriousness of the problem are being made by some Evangelicals, for example groups like the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Evangelical Climate Initiative, and the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and evangelical climate scientists like Katharine Hayhoe (in 2014 named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people).  We can only hope that these efforts will eventually succeed and the two communities will be as one when regarding the earth’s future.

A streaming video of Hayhoe in conversation with Boston College theologian Stephen Pope is available.

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