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: 1315

Replies to This Discussion

I answered your question. Millions of soviets and billions of Chinese have already disproved your theory that atheism = environmentalism.

Chinese are extremely religious, and Christianity is all over Russia.  The leaders of those countries might not be particularly religious in a political sense.  Fair enough.  I'd accept that atheists in power aren't caring about the environment.  But I'd have to say the same about all the American presidents who claim to be religious, as well as all the other world leaders who are religious.

I think though if you look at several Nordic countries, you'd see atheist leaders who make the environment a huge priority.

What I glean from you point is that personal beliefs of politicians aren't as powerful as other political influences.

But what about individual people upon whom rests fewer pressures?

You have a few friends who are atheists and like the environment. I'm not sure how this draws the conclusion that the two are connected.

These are great points.  Worth adding to this discussion.  This reminds me of Bron Taylor, a professor whom a good friend of mine had the fortune of studying under.

He talks about "dark green religion" as being apparent in movies like Avatar.

From wikipedia:

dark green religion

What Taylor says about surfers is very true.  Except for the drug-head beach bum surfers, I'd say most surfers I know form a kind of cult of submission to nature, as I see happening in my own life.  Surfing forms spiritual bonds between people and coaxes you to love civilization less and the chaotic nature of the natural world more, especially the sea.

That is an interesting article that makes some valid points that I agree with (even though it is from the Wall Street Journal).  I do consider myself to be an environmentalist but I also recognize that some environmentalist "dogma", for lack of a better term, makes no sense.  I would be crucified by some of my friends for saying this, but we really should get behind nuclear power.  At least until alternative energy sources are capable of replacing it.  Beats the hell out of coal.

I really don't know where I stand on nuclear power.  They're talking about building a fourth nuclear plant here in Taiwan.  If they don't, there will be a 10% power deficit and we'll have to start buying electricity from China.  So it becomes not just an environmental worry, but a political one.  On the other hand, the first 3 were build by foreign companies.  This would be the first that Taiwan is building itself, and I won't even take my car to a Taiwanese mechanic because of their propensity to cut corners and do everything as cheaply as possible.

The other side of that is that Taiwan's population is shrinking, and I can't help but think with fewer people and a little attention to efficiency we could find a 10% power savings somehow.  But solar and wind only accounts for like 2-3% of all power generated here, so I understand that's not a viable option.  Every electronic device here has a tag that rates its power consumption, so if you buy a dehumidifier, refrigerator, or light, you can buy one that's super efficient with electricity.  idk, it's a hard topic for me.

Nuclear is great, but once you build a nuclear plant, it's kind of there forever.  In Tennessee the nuclear plant was way out in BFE where no one even saw it.  In Taiwan, the nuclear plant might ruin one of my favorite beaches.  I have absolutely no say or vote, so I'm curious to see what will happen.

At the same time, if they build a nuclear plant along the same plans as the ones as used in the US, Germany and other Western nations, they produce some of the safest/cleanest energy there is.

I know the anti-nuclear crowd love to point out certain disasters, especially the most recent Japanese ones. But I'd say, rather than look at the Japanese situation as such a disaster, understand just what it took to create that disaster: one of the larger earthquakes on record, plus aftershocks and whatnot. THEN they got hit with massive waves from tsunami effects. 

There has also been recent talks about Germany shutting more of their own reactors down. The environmental crowd hail this as a win for them, but the real reason they're getting shut down?? Security issues. 

Yeah, I think the worry over a disastrous meltdown is overblown.  I don't really worry about that if it is stringently constructed and operated.

My own environmental beliefs like my religious are evolving always. Let's call my religious stance Christian. I believe in Christ and the bible. My views on the former have never changed but my views on the latter have over time. Let's say I take it more serious as I've matured and leave it at that.

My environmental views have changed over the years too. I have a degree in biology (among others) which doesn't make me an expert on climate change but has given me the ability to critique what I read about it. When I was younger I joined and voted for the Green Party of Canada because I felt the other party's didn't take the issue serious. I have since abandoned it because a) the liberals brave, but disastrous, attempt to shift our tax base to one that incorporated co2 emissions showed me that the other party's were open to change and b) at the time the greens were led by a fiscal conservative who supported rightwing economic ideas and grassroots approach to writing policy (sort of like a cross between the tea party and a hippie). The greens are now led by ms. May, who is about as left wing as they come. My current belief is that we have to balance economic progress with environmental protection. It's fine to say that coal and nuclear are bad, but if your solution is to stop both and switch to solar and wind than I will tell you to F off. You are basically telling me to get rid of my transport trailer rig which I have filled to the brim and saying to make due with a moped. It ain't happening. Every progress we've made as a western society, be it health, education, innovation, etc, has been on the backs of cheaper and cheaper energy (mostly thanks to fossil fuels). The left is not going to solve this. The only solution I think is to set the forces of capitalism (which strive for greater efficiency always) on the problem. Kyoto sucked because it threatened to starve the free economies and waste their wealth on the more controlled ones. Money to china is simply money to build coal plants (and probably crappy ones at that since who cares about dropping your crap in someone's backyard when they can't vote you out of power).


So in summary, my religious views and my enviro views are unrelated. The Bible tells us we are to care for the world and the animals in it which would make me an environmentalist yet it also tells me to love and care for my fellow man which until someone invents a better power plant means I will continue to support the burning of fossil fuels to feed, clothe, and protect him.

Would it be a fair assessment to say that this discussion has revealed the following?

1.  Non-believers tend to be very passionate about the environment, preferring to "play it safe" about what might harm the environment.  They are less concerned about how rules controlling the environment affect the economy or the political climate.

2.  The believers are less concerned about the environment, but mainly because they are more concerned about the threat of socialism they see as coupled with more environmental control.  They fear the slide into socialism more than the threat of ecological devastation, and the opposite is true of atheists.

That's the vibe I'm getting.

I would say that the believers aren't going to get as passionate about environmentalism because they believe in an extra layer of protection. "Will God allow us to destroy His creation" "Are we strong enough to destroy God's creation"

Socialism is just a way for them to stay in the argument

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