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.
to the Michigan State University-led study, Christians report lower levels of
environmental concern than non-Christians and non-religious individuals. More
than 75% of Americans are affiliated with a Christian denomination.
results suggest this presumed greening of Christianity has not yet translated
into a significant increase in pro-environmental attitudes, beliefs and behaviours
of everyday Christians in the United States,” said Aaron M. McCright, associate
professor in MSU’s Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology.
How the research was done
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.
some scholars have argued that Western Christianity – with its claim of human
dominion over the Earth – is at odds with environmentalism.
the past 20 years, some Christian leaders and organisations 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.
message doesn’t appear to be getting through to the average Christian, McCright
He and his
colleagues analysed 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.
doesn’t mean a greening of rank-and-file Christians won’t occur in the future,
greening trend among Christian leaders and organisations deepens and broadens,
we expect to eventually see a measurable shift in the general public as well,”