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Theology and Religiosity Effects on Environmentalism
Eric Woodrum and Thomas Hoban
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1994), pp. 193-206
Published by: Religious Research Association, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3511888
Page Count: 14
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Lynn White and others contend the dominion belief that the Bible authorizes humans to use nature to our own advantage justifies exploitation of the earth. Extreme versions of this view hold Judeo-Christian religious institutions accountable for the environmental crisis. This study assesses those arguments with original survey data from a state-wide sample. Dominion beliefs are prevalent in this sample, especially among those with little formal education or information about environmental matters. These findings are consistent with White's thesis. But, dominion beliefs are not predictable on the basis of such conventional religiosity indicators as religious salience or worship frequency. These data do not show a significant association between dominion beliefs and Biblical literalism or support for creationism in schools even though deductive logic would lead one to assume such a pattern. We conclude that dominion beliefs may be a correlate of environmental apathy, but they are not significantly associated with conventional religiosity on the individual level. On the institutional level this study finds no empirical basis for singling out churches as culpable for environmental problems. Continued expansion of stewardship interpretations of faith will be well received by many church members.
Review of Religious Research © 1994 Religious Research Association, Inc.