I listened to this podcast yesterday and have spent the last 24 hours wondering why many Evangelicals don’t believe in climate change. Is there something in Evangelical theology that lends itself to climate change denial.
I realise not all are deniers and that not all believe these things but they are definite badges of many streams of evangelicalism. (This was originally a twitter thread so forgive the shorthand style.)
1. Us vs. Them – There is an idea that Christianity is opposed to ‘secular’ belief. Dividing lines are drawn between the two. Science is often seen as secular and so part of the ‘them’ camp, so subconsciously and even consciously rejected.
2. Sovereignty – God is in control. He would never allow something catastrophic to happen to the world. This ignores disasters already happening. Also removes any agency humanity has over the earth.
3. A Weak Humanity- A low view of humanities ability. How can weak humanity do anything to can damage the planet? Only God has power to do that. We are small and powerless.
4. Creationism vs Evolution – Science has been painted as bad/dishonest for so long with regard to evolution that many distrust ‘all science.’ Climate science part of same ‘dishonest group,’ so easy to ignore.
5. Science is liberal – Much of western evangelicalism has joined conservative political causes. Pervading idea within some of those political ideologies is that science is liberal and so an enemy of the cause.
6. Personal sin – Morality focussed on behaviour modification e.g. sex, alcohol etc. This limits the idea of societal and collective sins like environmental destruction.
7. Leader as ‘Lord’s anointed leader’ – Pastors are final authority on all things so in minds of many congregants know more than scientists about climate. Science therefore is never read by many believers as it has been castigated by their pastor.
8. Blessing over stewardship – In many evangelical streams there is more teaching on receiving of blessings than how to steward blessings well. Western blessing often correlated to wealth, influence and possessions. Planet stewardship low on this agenda.
9. Personal Jesus – Does ‘Me and God’ theology lower sense of being part of and responsible for the wider world?
10. Parachute eschatology – Does living for a future Heaven cause some to negate the value of this life on this planet? Is Earth just a cab ride to heaven and therefore disposable?
11. End times theology – A belief that we are in the last days can cause many to assume Jesus will return within their lifetime. Earth is ending anyway so why care for it?