Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Are Christians Bad For The Environment?

Just one of the many questions former IPCC chair for scientific assessment and practising Christian John Houghton considers in his new Physics Today interview. His answer?

Of course, it's a very broad human responsibility, not just a Christian one. But on the whole, Christians have been lagging behind many other groups in their concern for the environment, care for the Earth, and care for poor people. And Christians, because of their beliefs, should really be out in front.

Houghton also discusses the greening of the Evangelicals and blames America for being the seat of the Denialist movement. Important stuff because, as Newsbusters columnist and Denier extraordinaire Noel Sheppard has written:

Folks, If religious leaders are going to get in on the con, we're in trouble...

Damn right.


Anonymous said...

Man, you're grasping at fricken' straws here. How much hatred is there in you? Are you saying Jews and Muslims are better for the environment? No, of course not, they're still religions and ALL religions are bad. Except of course YOUR religion, Earth-Mother Gaia lovers.

If you think humans are so bad for the planet, take yourself out.

Jay said...

Oh and btw, I am an atheist so no bias on which religion is worse. I think all religions are loopy and not just bad for the environment but pretty much anything on this planet, especially the human spirit.

Anonymous said...

"Is Liberalism a mental disorder?"

bigcitylib said...

Is Conservatism a sexual dysfunction?

Ti-Guy said...

Man, you're grasping at fricken' straws here. How much hatred is there in you?

...says the screaming banshee, anony-tard.

Ti-Guy said...

Is Liberalism a mental disorder?"

I can't think of any research that suggests that. There is research that indicates conservatism is a mental disorder (some study at Berkeley, iirc), but I don't buy it. I just think political conservatism these days attracts incredibly stupid, selfish and angry people. Psychos, in other words.

...Now go have toilet sex, anony-tard, like a good little conservative.

Jay said...

lol Ti-guy

Ti-Guy said...

And I'm full of hate, Jay. Don't forget to mention that. ;)

Anonymous said...

here's what's really good for the environment . . . people are getting becoming immune to the constant fear mongering of The Believers and other assorted Priests of Faith Based Science.

"Further evidence that global warming enthusiasts have jumped the shark comes with the box office disaster experienced by Leonardo DiCaprio's film 11th Hour. Roger Friedman of reports (hat tip: Drudge):

"The 11th Hour," has been a total bust at the box office. After 18 days in release, the film has grossed only $417,913 from ticket sales. The 90-minute snore-fest is playing on 111 screens this week, but that number is likely to be reduced this Friday."

rabbit said...

It seems to me that the most of the progress in the environmental movement has occurred in North America and Europe, places that are predominantly Christian.

And Christianity has a massive history of caring for the poor. Indeed I would be hard pressed to name a religion which has a better record.

I suspect that John Houghton is taking the most extreme protestant elements in the U.S., and extrapolating that to all of Christiandom.

Jay said...

"Christianity has a massive history of caring for the poor."

You must be referring to their bread and bibles routine where they get feed if they embrace christ and the bible. Or maybe its missionaries that go to Afghanistan and negotiate with terrorists. If they cared about the poor so much why do they constantly rave about homosexuals which are referred to only a fraction of the times poverty is in the bible, yet I see no anti-poverty movement from the religious just anti-ssm protests and gay slurs. Like I said above "very self serving, and self centered but thats what the judeo-Christian-Islam tradition is about."

"most of the progress in the environmental movement has occurred in North America and Europe, places that are predominantly Christian."

Oh pleeze, provide a link to that turd please. religion in North America has only ever undermined scientific consensus on several fronts: evolution and the environment. Nothing to see here, move along.

"I suspect that John Houghton is taking the most extreme protestant elements in the U.S., and extrapolating that to all of Christiandom."

Wrong again. Protestants are moreso in the right mindset with regard to science based issues since they regard it as true due to the fact they lack most of the horrific unshakeable dogma associated with catholicism and evangelicism. Protestants reformed and continue to when necessary.

rabbit said...


You like links? Okay. Here Wikipedia lists the major environmental organizations in the world. The most startling thing is how most are from (or at least began in and are headquartered in) North America and Europe.

Environmental Organizations

Admittedly this list is incomplete, but I'm sure that if it were complete the conclusions would be the same. Quick, name a major environmental organization that came out of Asia or Africa. No peaking now!

This does not mean that most environmentalists are Christians (although many are), but they were brought up in Christian families in Christian societies with Christian sensibilities.

This is rather at odds with the suggestion that Christianity is bad for the environment.

Anonymous said...

As always, send me money and I'll fight global warming for you. Do it now! No time to lose! Catastrophe awaits if you don't send me money NOW!

Ti-Guy said...

I love how "Christians" get their noses so out of joint at the slightest accusation. Reveals a rather fragile faith, I think.

The overwhelming number of environmental problems are the result of consumption of products from non-sustainable and polluting economic activity, for which the materialistic Christian West is largely responsible. There's no point denying that.

Anonymous said...

"You like links?"

Obviously not. He never provides any.

rabbit said...


Well, you wouldn't be you without making personal attacks, but I'm sorry to disappoint you - I'm atheist.

The reason that North America and Europe were the first to develop problems with pollution is because they were far more scientifically and technologically advanced. But the rest of the world is fast catching up on all counts, and the fact that most are non-Christian doesn't seem to slow that down one whit.

Jay said...

anon says:

"As always, send me money and I'll fight global warming for you. Do it now! No time to lose! Catastrophe awaits if you don't send me money NOW!"

You watch way too many televangelists.

That list as you point out provides no indication that christianity is good for the environment. You claim that they most likely are christians. I agree with that seeing North America is predominantly Christian at this point but it is not proof. For example, Paul Martin is catholic yet he managed to get SSM marriage through parliament. He was threatened with excommunication for doing so. Now do you consider Paul martin acting as a catholic and extending rights to minority groups? Or was Paul Martin acting under his own volition to do what HE felt was right? Religion had no part in the decision. Many claim to be Christian but do not practice it or go to church. I do not consider these people to be acting under the good guidance of the church, but rather acting on what they feel is right. The church is so very out of touch with the modern world. Many scientist are also christians but they take a different view of the bible by not taking it as truth word for word and as such can be scientists without religious bias. These people are not using their faith in science. You could easily say white people have done more for the environment than other groups of people. Just because they are doesn't mean its the reason for what they do.

Jay said...

On the other hand, those who tend to be more fundamental with a literal interpretation of the bible are walking natural disasters.

My personal belief is that if you are not fundamentally religious you are not religious at all or part of the faith you claim to be part of. Religious moderates are sell-outs who are confused between truth(realworld/science) and lies (sky gods, flying unicorns, etc). Fence sitters who realize the bible is one massive shortcoming but are too frightened to die and have nothing to look forward too after wasting the only life they had.

rabbit said...


If you grew up in Canada then you grew up in a Christian culture. Even those who are not practicing Christians (e.g., moi) are steeped in the teachings and sensibilities of Christianity. That might not seem obvious until one spends time in a non-Christian culture, much the same way water might not be obvious to a fish until it finds itself in the air.

Jay said...

Thats absurd.

All people have the same basic morals whether you believe in any religion or not.

I am an atheist like you. I know the bible, but also, the Bhagavad Gita, Torah, Koran, and the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you put everyone in the same room to interact without mentioning what they believed if anything at all you wouldn't know who is who.

Christian teaching have zero to do with anything done on the environment and I would also suggest you look more at Europe who is far ahead of us and unlike us, have fairly low levels of religious fervor. They are the ones who have done the most on the environment unless you consider intensity targets to be of any use.

You are trying to make a correlation between these two which in itself does not infer any sort of truth. Religion on the other hand spells out in its dogma how it views this world and its NOT environmentally friendly.

I may follow up BCL's post with a series examining every major religion and its issues when it comes to keeping this planet habitable for humans. I'll even include a shit load of references to back it up. They won't be online references either but real references that have not been tainted with propaganda.

rabbit said...

Either Christianity affects the way people think and behave, or it doesn't. Which one is it?

If it does then I point out that most major environmental organizations come from societies whose histories are steeped in Christianity.

If it doesn't, then how could Christians be bad for the environment?

Ti-Guy said...

Well, you wouldn't be you without making personal attacks, but I'm sorry to disappoint you - I'm atheist.

I wasn't attacking you personally...mellow out.

Ti-Guy said...

If it does then I point out that most major environmental organizations come from societies whose histories are steeped in Christianity.

That's an issue of prosperity and development, not Christianity.

I maintain that Christianity's materialism and success and the good life defined largely in material term is bad for environmentally sustainable economies. And some End Times Christians don't even think the World is worth saving anyway.

Jay said...

Well, it can't be both good and bad now can it.

I've got a nice textbook at home that lays it all out in only about 300 pages the damage their ideology does on this planet. Never saw any offerings on how they benefit anything.

If it is believed it was put here for your use, do you think people believe it when told they have to conserve? Of course not, that goes against "god's" word.

It can be taken a step further than Christianity. Religions that are centred around a male deity are all bad for the environment. Unfortunately the male centered religions tend to be the judeo-christian-islamic tradition. Religions with a female deity or at least a female deity as well tend to be more nature friendly.

Anonymous said...


I believe you are wrong and Jay is right in regards to Christians and the environment. Living in a fundametalistm protestant farming community, the arguments I had with farm couples re: it being their christian duty to farm organically and leave wetlands and bluffs alone were routinely shot down, often with hostility directed at me personally, using the very arguments Jay has cited.

As for North America and Europe being hothouses for germinating environmental groups, I would sooner cite higher levels of education, higher numbers of highly educated people, an education system built squarely on science and facts, and a large population of free to act, active politically, liberal thinkers. (I use the word 'free' here in the sense that they are not oppressed by dictators or dictatorial societal rules. Many of the educated, liberal minded people world over are not as 'free' to openly question and/or express themselves as westerners are. Just to be clear, I do not use the word 'free' in the same sense that the Bush admin does. heh)

- Blackstar

Anonymous said...

Now Christians are being told to start being good for the environment by the Pope!

" VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday made another strong appeal for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race.

The Pope made his appeal, his second on environmental issues in four days, at the end of his general audience before some 16,000 people in St Peter's Square.

"Care of water resources and attention to climate change are matters of grave importance for the entire human family," he said.

"Encouraged by the growing recognition of the need to preserve the environment, I invite all of you to join me in praying and working for greater respect for the wonders of God's creation," he told his listeners, speaking in English.

The Pope gave his backing to a symposium called "The Arctic: Mirror of Life," on religion, science and the environment, due to start in Greenland on Thursday and be attended by scientists and religious leaders.

Earlier this month, scientists said previously unknown islands were appearing as Arctic summer sea ice shrinks to record lows, raising questions about whether global warming was outpacing U.N. projections.

Benedict and other world religious leaders have been banging the environmental drum more loudly recently.

Last Sunday in central Italy, Benedict led the Catholic Church's first 'eco-friendly' youth rally and told up to half a million people that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late".

Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has become progressively "green".

It has installed photovoltaic cells on buildings to produce electricity and hosted a scientific conference to discuss the ramifications of global warming and climate change, widely blamed on human use of fossil fuels.

Last month Benedict said the human race must listen to "the voice of the Earth" or risk destroying its very existence."

Anonymous said...

The crap that get's put on the internet is just amazing. The world is doomed because of Christians, eh? You secular knobs just want to pin everything on us, dontcha. One one hand you blame Christians because we were the dominant religion that developed the sciences we're using today - to destroy the world you say. On the other hand you ridicule us as thoughtless slackass numbskulls who haven't got a clue about 'real' science like evolution and AGW. So which is it, azzhole, are we TOO scientific or NOT scientific enough?

Make up your tiny little mind, write it on a piece of paper, and flush it down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

I remember taking a cigarette break at work with a Christian co-worker of mine and when I finished my smoke I told him "I really don't want to just throw my cigarette butt on the ground" and he promptly replied "I don't care".

I guess if you think that this reality is just a meaningless waiting room for heaven (or hell) then why would you care about keeping it clean???