Saturday, July 6, 2013

Careless and Crazy Again

Climate change affects us all, but it has a bigger impact on women than men throughout the developing worldA few weeks ago, I wrote about a recent study arguing that "religious belief could slow global warming action" because (according to its authors) traditional Christians believe that planet Earth "has no future".

The journal Religion Dispatches just published a much longer and more nuanced analysis of the same study, which I was alerted to by a Facebook post from Mitch Hescox.  Robin Globus Veldman, the author, writes
Although mistrust of end time believers’ earthly intentions has smoldered for decades, a new study about “End Times Theology” has added fuel to the fire. According to the study’s authors, political scientists David Barker and David Bearce, when it comes to climate change, “a belief in the Second Coming reduces the probability of strongly agreeing that the government should take action by more than 12 percent.” 
 She goes on

But as someone who spent 14 months doing interviews and focus groups with conservative Christians on their views about climate change and the end times, I see major problems with their [Barker and Bearce's] approach.
Veldman justifies this claim by a detailed analysis of the survey questions used and the different factors, brought out in focus groups, which might contribute to a response.  All the points are interesting but the one that most intrigued me was #2:
 ...participants in every one of the nine focus groups I conducted had the impression that scientists were saying climate change would precipitate an apocalyptic end to the world, an idea they rejected on the grounds that the Bible—not scientists—foretells how the world will end.
The whole essay can be found here.

Photo by Flickr user Oxfam, licensed under Creative Commons

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