Without getting into whether there are or aren't gods, I'd like to do some research on you guys.

Atheists in my experience, without an exception to date, are an environmentally-minded crowd.  They tend to vehemently oppose anything that looks like industrial wrecking of nature, believing as they do that this Earth is the only one we've got and that no higher power will stop us from mortally wounding it.

Many atheists will also bring this up against religion: the whole dominion of the earth, the expectation of the end times and the new earth, the call to be hard-working and industrious, the call to have children (overpopulation), and the idea that god wouldn't allow us to affect the climate, etc. etc.  To many it seems religion has a "whatever, it's all going to be destroyed anyway" attitude.

But I know religious people aplenty, however, who think the Creator is to be seen in nature and NOT in man-made things, and therefore removing the influence of nature from people could be seen as pulling them away from the influence of god.  There are certainly many people of faith who felt called to protect the environment or work in environmental conservation.

How do your beliefs affect your attitude about the environment?

For those of any faith, how does your faith affect your regard for the environment, or does it at all?  For those who in the "this is the only life I've got" crowd, how do you feel about it?  If you call yourself an environmentalist, what is the reason?

Tags: atheism, environment, environmentalism, nature, religion

Views: 1337

Replies to This Discussion

The religious beliefs of some of the members of the Conservative party of Canada has nothing to do with the party's policies on the environment. For starters, although the left likes to label them as a party of religious fanatics, they did win almost 6m votes (39.6% of all voters cast) in the last federal election and I doubt 40% of Canadians would fit that description.

My guess is that the cons stepped away from the environmental protections set up by past governments more to support the oil patch industry in Alberta than to to appease their religious voters. As for Kyoto, I think they stepped away for the same reason the USA never ratified it. Since it excluded emerging economies like china and India (who are increasing their co2 emissions faster than the Kyoto members could possibly decrease theirs by, even if they were able to meet their targets, and very few have been able to meet their targets) it was a pointless protocol. Kyoto did nothing to stem climate change but was a great way to shift wealth from rich industrialised nations to poorer emerging nations (who I'm sure would be more than happy to use this wealth to further increase their own emissions).

Although I disagree agree with the cons blind ambition when it comes to tar sands development, the left (ndp) seems to be clueless as to how Canada can maintain its standard of living (which with their cries for more social spending, the left cannot live without) without the wealth derived from fossil fuel production.

I never said that people who voted for the Cons did so for religious reasons nor that the Cons' decisions in these matters were made to appease religious voters. What I said was that Harper has a very specific religious ideology that is supported by his inner circle and that has had a tremendous effect on Canadian politics. Of course he wants the country to profit via the oil sands but the Cons attack any calls for moderation based on environmental concerns. They're not at all interested in even considering environmental risks, let alone mitigating them. One of the Cons' environment people literally told my friend (who worked for an environmental NGO at the time) that environmental issues simply weren't being considered in these types of matters because the Cons believed that the environment was in God's hands whereas the economy was in theirs. Another way this ideology has manifested itself is in Canada's recent 180 in matters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Canada has traditionally had a neutral stance on the conflict itself while nonetheless offering development aid to Palestine. Under the Harper Cons, this is no longer the case. We are now a 100% pro-Israel / anti-Palestine country. We were one of the only 9 countries (mostly microstates no one's ever heard of) to vote against Palestinian recognition at the UN. We've de-funded Palestine House and have labelled almost every Palestinian charity and NGO in Canada illegal terrorist organizations. This is a drastic departure from our previous position in Middle-Eastern affairs. Because of our help during the various Lebanese civil wars, our aid to Palestine (etc.), we had many allies in the Middle-East. Because of Harper and his inner core's religious ideology, we've switched sides we we wonder why we're the target of Islamic terrorism. UK politician George Galloway is blocked from entering Canada because the Cons deemed him to be a "security threat" meanwhile they welcome Netanyahu with open arms even though he needs a small army around him at all times. 

We’ve got a born-again prime minister,” trumpets David Mainse, the founder of Canada’s premier Christian talk show, 100 Huntley Street. They see him as an image-savvy evangelical who has been careful to keep his signals to them under the media radar, but they have no doubt his convictions run deep—so deep that only after he wins a majority will he dare translate the true colours of his faith into policies that could remake the fabric of the nation. If they’re right, it remains unclear whether those convictions would turn government into a kinder, gentler guarantor of social justice for all or transform the country into a stern, narrow-minded theocracy. And what would his evangelical worldview mean for international relations?

During this summer’s Middle East war, Harper reversed decades of Canadian foreign policy with his adamant support for Israel, even after its jets smashed a clearly marked United Nations observation post, killing a veteran Canadian peacekeeper. His admirers argue that steadfastness could turn the burgeoning bond between evangelical Christians and Jews into a powerful and unprecedented alliance that could leave him unbeatable at the ballot box. But a growing chorus of critics warns that Harper has already paid a high price for that strategic calculation, irrevocably alienating Canada’s mushrooming Islamic population and leaving in shreds the country’s reputation as an even-handed peace broker. Harper’s stand has also raised more unsettling questions. What does it mean if and when a believer in the infallibility of Biblical prophecy comes to power and backs a damn-the-torpedoes course in the Middle East? Does it end up fuelling overenthusiastic end-timers who feel they have nothing to lose in some future conflagration, helping speed the world on Hagee’s fast track to Armageddon?



My location is Ireland but I'm a Canadian so I know these. Also, I think too much is made of Harper's faith. I agree that the cons have destroyed our middle of the road stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (I heard it joked by some moderates in Israel that Canada has become more proisrael than Israel) but I think the cons move has more to do with obtaining Canadian jewish votes and donations than it does with fulfilling some religious endtimes scenario. Harper is an evangelical Christian. So what. Mackenzie King believed in the occult and would converse with the dead for advise in beating hitler. Pretty much every French leader we've had has been a practicing catholic. In all cases, Harper included, they've kept their faith out of politics (which seems to be the norm in Canada but not a popular move south of the border). Despite claims that harper was going to move Canada's abortion laws to match his own beliefs, he instead has risked dividing his party by muting his fellow Christian MPs who feel more strongly on the issue.

Muslims make up barely 3% of Canadians, Jews 1%. Neither are hardly going to tip any scales on voting, yet the latter do contribute a lot financially which does make them significantly more important in Ottawa. Also Combine their tiny voting block with the general fears of many voters of Islamic extremism and you are hardly going to see any Canadian politician take too many moves in support of Muslim agendas. And this goes for all parties.

Finally, Harper didn't move the country's stance 180 degrees, he moved it 90. Canada was never pro-Palestine (and therefore anti-Israel). Democratically elected leaders of the state of Israel were always welcome and Hamas terrorist, elected or not, never were. The difference is, we never took sides. We listened to both and pushed for a compromise from both. This is how we have always approached such disputes. Pluralism. We pushed for it in Cyprus and we pushed for it in Northern Ireland. We are perhaps the world's biggest advocates for it because we live it every day. Our country was created by combining two colonial archenemies into a nation without resorting to having one absorb the other. We speak English and French. We practice common law in English provinces and civil law in the French one. Back when Christianity dominated daily life, it was the Protestant form that ruled English provinces while the Roman Catholic Church ruled the French.

I agree that Harper has wrecked much of Canada's former image but I hate it when I read bs articles that blame it on his faith. Harper is destroying Canada's political capital not because he is spending it on a Christian agenda but because he is spending it on holding on to power. Honestly, I'm glad we are slightly different from the USA in terms of politics but I do wish we had term limits like them. No country should have to put up with an idiot for more than 8 years.

In all honesty, I respect your point of view and I agree that it's the most likely truth about the matter. But I simply can't shake the feeling that Harper's evangelism is a more significant factor in the equation. You're right that Jews, in terms of voting numbers, are essentially insignificant and that catering to them could be a question of seeking donations . . . but the sudden change (whether it be a 90 or 180), to me, simply doesn't add up; if this was simply a question of winning a few votes and some donations, why wouldn't the Liberals have proposed to do the same throughout  the past several elections? They've been hurting since the Chrétien and Martin years and they're clearly aware of the influence the Jewish community has (especially in Justin Trudeau's own back yard) so what was it that could have compelled the Cons to go that route? Especially since the balanced Canadian peacekeeper brand was so strong overseas? Even my boss, a pro-Israel Jew, is suspicious of Harper's intentions. 

I am an atheist and a person who some would describe as a bleeding heart liberal, tree hugging, Whole Foods shopping, NPR doner. I believe that we temporarily inherit this planet from our ancestors and have a responsibility to pass it on down to our children in good shape. I would also argue that the natural environment, and the creatures that live in it, has an independent right to exist unmolested, separate and apart from any benefit humans derive from it.

Living in the Bible Belt, I know lots of fundamentalist Christians who subscribe to some version of "the end is nigh so it doesn't matter what we do to the planet", or, "god gave us dominion over the earth so we can do whatever we want with it." However, ironically, some of the most fundamentalist Christians that I know, Jehovah's Witnesses, do not subscribe to either of these philosophies, exactly. They would agree that the end is nigh and that god gave humans dominion over the earth. But they also believe that the earth is Jehovah's special creation, and that doing destructive things to the earth is sort of disrespectful to Jehovah. They kind of see it as if they are children who have been given a room to call their own in their parent's house. It is their room, but they aren't allowed to make a mess out of it or burn it down. The Watchtower Society also accepts the reality of anthropogenic climate change and instructs its members to be mindful of their carbon footprints.

At the other end of the spectrum, Unitarian Universalists are pretty much as green as you can get. I think they generally agree with my attitude about passing the world on to future generations as well as the inherent right of nature to exist unmolested. They are sort of like Buddhists or Jainists in that regard.

The reason the Jojo's aren't fond of the idea of destroying the Earth is because, according to their interpretation of the Bible, at the end, a very specific and very limited number of people (144,000) will go to Heaven. Bad people will not go to Hell; they will simply cease to exist. Good people will not go to Heaven; they will live on Earth. Only exceptional people will go to Heaven and, according to them.

All true.

I pretty much have the same enviromental beliefs now then i had as kid. I believed in god then but dont do now, so there isnt a big influence of religion or its absence on my part. 

On of the big misunderstanding about people who dont believe in god is that they believe in something else instead like mother nature the enviroment or whatever. But thats just not the case for most. And yes i think we should treat the enviroment well. The reason for that is well described by a very old quote of a brewery my flatmate told me a few weeks back.

"Stop shitting in the river, we are brewing again"

My beliefs on environmental policy are relatively unrelated to my faith ... at least insofar as anything can be.  I am unopposed to conservation, or recycling, or national parks.  I rather enjoy the outdoors.  I believe personal, grassroots conservation is a noble goal.  I don't know that Christianity takes much of a position on it beyond "stewardship" and "dominion".


But, I do not believe the existence global warming is sufficiently established to justify all the state-controlled economic barriers environmental activists stomp-their-feet and demand.  Honestly, I don't think economic suicide, technological regression, de-industrialization, or socialist redistribution would be the answers to global warming even if it were occurring.


It does seem rather convenient that those anti-capitalist answers came pre-packaged from the same people who were advocating those same 'answers' before 'global warming' was even thought-up.  It strikes me as an answer in search of a question, rather than the other way around.


Personally, I've seen nothing to lead me to believe that humans are capable of derailing the climate in less than a century.  I'm not even convinced that CO2 is a pollutant, much less that we have any idea what effect a parts-per-million change in CO2 levels would have on global weather patterns.  Climate is an extremely complex system, and, while stable, is hardly static.  Computer models, based on incomplete data over a very narrow timespan, are entirely insufficient long-term predictors (which is why the models are already being proven wrong).


And, as difficult as it is to predict a change in the climate, accurately predicting the effects of that change is even shakier.  Life has thrived during various climates throughout history.  How do you know where we're allegedly going isn't better than where we are?

Environmentalists are proposing prepackaged global policy initiatives based on a series of compounding bad guesses.  It would be incomprehensible if it wasn't so clear that forcing the pre-packaged 'solutions' is the point of the entire exercise.



TLDR version ...



A 'Marxism' worth backing.



I guess people pick and choose which hobgoblins they want to believe in

Not to mention that the hobgoblin that politics is out to get you is a hobgoblin in and of itself, too. ;) 

My religious beliefs have no affect on my opinions about global climate change. 

That the global warming wackjobs have been caught falcifying evidence however, does. 


 There is global and local climate change. There has never been a time when there was not  climate change. this is a good thing and not a bad thing it is part of the natural order of what the earth does, and it has absolutely nothing at all in any way to do with anything human beings are doing and we can do nothing about it either way. 

   I consider myself at least partially an environmentalist because I believe in a pristine environment for it's own merits, in and of itself, completely unrelated to climate. 


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