NASHVILLE (BP) — For the first time, a majority of Protestant pastors believe global warming is happening and caused by humans.
A survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 53 percent of Protestant pastors agree with the statement, “I believe global warming is real and man-made,” including 34 percent who strongly agree.
More than a third (38 percent) disagree, including 24 percent who strongly disagree. One in 10 (10 percent) say they’re not sure.
In previous LifeWay Research surveys on the topic, pastors were evenly split or more skeptical. In 2008, 47 percent agreed. That fell to 36 percent in 2010 and bounced back to 43 percent in 2012.
“Fewer pastors are rejecting global warming and climate change out of hand,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Yet pastors are still split on the subject, likely following along with political divides.”
A 2019 Pew Research study found 49 percent of U.S. adults say human activity contributes to global climate change a great deal, 30 percent say some, and 20 percent say not too much or not at all.
When asked how much natural patterns in the Earth’s environment contribute, 35 percent of Americans say a great deal, 44 percent say some, and 20 percent say not too much or not at all.
Differences of opinion among pastors in the LifeWay Research survey emerge throughout demographics and denominational ties.
African American pastors (78 percent) are most likely to agree.
The youngest pastors, aged 18-44, (59 percent) are more likely to agree than pastors 65 and older (47 percent).
Pastors with a doctoral (59 percent) or master’s degree (58 percent) are more likely to agree than those with a bachelor’s degree (43 percent) or no college degree (35 percent).
Mainline pastors (71 percent) are significantly more likely to agree than evangelical pastors (39 percent).
Pastors from Methodist (80 percent), Presbyterian/Reformed (67 percent), or Lutheran churches (63 percent) are more likely to agree than those from Restorationist movement (43 percent), Baptist (37 percent), or Pentecostal churches (32 percent).
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Source: Baptist Press