Pro-Environmental Beliefs Are Less Likely To Lead To Action Among Those Who Believe In A Controlling God

Posted on September 24, 2020

Kimin Eom at Singapore Management University and colleagues studied Americans — and when they talk about people being “religious”, they’re really talking about being Christian. These caveats are important to highlight up front.

In the first of three studies, the team analysed pre-existing data on a nationally representative sample of 3,052 US adults. They looked specifically at answers to three categories of questions. Firstly, questions assessed how strongly an individual endorsed the ideas that a) the world is getting hotter; and b) human activity is an important driver of this. Secondly, questions related to “religiosity” — a) their belief in the importance of religion; and b) how often they attend religious services. Finally, the team looked at responses to questions that assessed their level of support for pro-environmental policies.

The researchers found that climate change beliefs predicted support for pro-environmental policy less strongly among individuals higher in religiosity. In other words, “These results supported the idea that environmental beliefs are less in line with pro-environmental support among those who are more, relative to less, religious.” These results held even when team took into account/controlled for a range of demographic variables, including political orientation, gender, income, education, age and ethnicity.

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Source material from British Psychological Society

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