End times theology and climate apathy

Robin Globus Veldman for Religion Dispatches asks "Does End Time Belief Really Cause Climate Change Apathy?" and wonders if perhaps those claims are not based in good research of evangelical end-times believers:

End time belief has an almost salacious appeal in America—and not just to the four out of ten Americans who believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050. At least since the Millerites were laughed off the national stage in 1844, watching prophecy fail has become something of a national pastime. The attitudes of the two groups—heavenly-minded believer and smirking spectator—are well captured in a pair of bumper stickers: “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned” and “In case of Rapture, can I have your car?”

But some in the spectator camp hold that America’s remarkably durable “rapture culture” is no laughing matter; that it might, in fact, be a menace to society. At issue is end time believers’ perceived lack of investment in the earth’s future. That is, if they believe Jesus is coming back, do they have any incentive to preserve and protect the environment for future generations?

...as someone who spent 14 months doing interviews and focus groups with conservative Christians on their views about climate change and the end times, I see major problems with their approach. The study’s main flaw is that it measures attitudes toward climate change using a double-barreled question—one that’s actually comprised of more than a single question. Barker and Bearce asked respondents to state the degree to which they agreed with the following:

Global warming is a problem that requires immediate government action, in order to prevent environmental devastation and catastrophic loss of life for future generations.

Read more here.

Comments (1)

Whether or not one believes in the unbiblical, escapist notion of "rapture," the Bible definitely tell us that the earth doesn't belong to us -- "The earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it" (Psalm 24:1) -- so we have no right to do whatever we please to this planet for the sake of living prodigally. To do so is to abuse someone else's property and hospitality, rather than be good stewards and grateful guests, for which God will judge. When well-publicized false prophets like Mark Driscoll are reported saying things like "I know who made the environment; he's coming back and he's going to burn it all up; so yes, I drive an SUV" and "If you drive a mini-van, you're a mini-man," they not only betray the self-restraint prescribed by the gospel of Christ Jesus and practiced by generation of far wiser and more faithful saints. They also discredit Christianity in the eyes of the general population and reveal their own adherence to an unredeemed, un-Christlike worldview and lifestyle of conspicuous consumption and destructiveness as a hallmark of masculinity.

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