Shaiko introduces the topic of religion and the environment by talking about Lynn White (1967) and his lecture stating that it was the Judeo-Christian belief of divine creation and man dominion-over-nature that has thrown the United States into an ecological crisis. Shaiko hopes to look into what role politics plays in this idea, since Hand and Van Liere (1984) had just done a analysis of Lynn White’s lecture if religious views had an affect on environmental views and found a certain amount of correlation.
Shaiko believes that using data from just a single survey cannot prove or disprove anything and thus validates the research being done here by saying that the relationships discovered here are still a valid indicator (and this also leaves open the door for people to do more research).
Data that was used in this study were surveys that were collected by Mitchell (1978) as these surveys were sent out to environmental groups. Shaiko asserts that there is a difference of opinion that can be seen in environmentalists versus ordinary United States citizens.
This study was analyzing for mastery-over-nature, environmental issues [of importance], and how religious affiliations play into all of this.
The results show that the idea of a dichotomy between Judeo-Christian and otherwise does not show adequately the relationship between religious views and environmental views. Shaiko also seems to indicate that the time frame is also important in this analysis because many denominations are changing their doctrines on nature. This might suggest that perhaps the best thing to see if Lynn White was correct is to go find survey data before his time. The results did find that there was a relationship between the stewardship view of environmentalism in the Judeo-Christian belief. It also found that politics make a difference.
Hand, Carl M., and Kent D. Van Uere. 1984. “Religion, Mastery-over-Nature, and Environmental Concern,” Social forces, 63 (December):555-70.
Mitchell, Robert C. 1978. “Testing a Theory of Collective Action with Data on a Contemporary Social Movement.” Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. Data set available through the Roper Organization, Storrs, Conn., archive no. USMISCRFFENVRN78.
White, Lynn, Jr. 1967. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science, 155 (10