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Saving the Planet – No matter of faith

When it comes to the environment, American Christians remain divided along political lines.  Christian doctrine teaches to respect  Creation as a whole, but most Christians do not seem to follow the rule.

Being religious does not make you greener

Jan. 26.– Are religious leaders convincing their followers to care more about the fate of the earth? Catholic, mainstream Protestant and Orthodox Christian shepherds are trying hard to interest believers in environmental questions. But a new study suggests that among Christians in America, concern about the environment is somewhere between static and declining.

David Konisky, an associate professor at the University of Indiana, wanted to find out if there has been a “greening of Christianity” over time. As he notes in his article in the Journal of Environmental Politics, there have been many snapshot studies of religious and ecological sentiment. But little effort has gone into examining long-term trends.

Mr Konisky set out to fill that gap by micro-analysing the annual surveys of public attitudes undertaken by Gallup, a pollster, since 1999. He devised a set of eight markers by which sensitivity to the planet’s fate might be measured: whether people prioritised economic development or conservation, how they felt about pollution, whether they considered climate change a threat, and so on. He came to a sobering conclusion:

Analysis of multiple measures of environmental attitudes reveals little evidence that Christians have expressed more environmental concern over time. In fact, across many measures, Christians tend to show less concern about the environment. This pattern generally holds across Catholic, Protestant and other Christian denominations and does not vary depending on levels of religiosity ...

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