(Photo: Biola University)
A professor at an evangelical university in Southern California claims that evangelicals are becoming more convinced of the evidence for man-made global warming ahead of Earth Day this Sunday.
Mark McReynolds, assistant professor of Environmental Science at Biola University, said, "Evangelicals, like the rest of our society, are coming around to the real evidence of global climate change. It is a big, complicated topic, with many implications for us in the U.S."
"Climate scientists are in near unanimity that the evidence speaks loudly for human-caused climate change and the general public is slowly understanding the issue and its implications."
McReynolds' remarks come as Biola University prepares for a series of events to observe Earth Day next week. Titled "Creation Stewardship Week," the events from April 23 to 27 include participation in the Global Day of Prayer for Creation Care, a tour of the faculty-student run Biola Organic Garden, and the screening of the film "No Impact Man," which is about a family that tries to live a lifestyle without high environmental impact.
"I was recently encouraged by the over 4,000 evangelical church and mission leaders from 200 countries who attended the Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010 – International Congress on World Evangelization and affirmed the Confession of Faith that strongly speaks to caring for God's creation," McReynolds shared.
"Probably the most serious and urgent challenge faced by the physical world now is the threat of climate change," he added. "This will disproportionately affect those in poorer countries, for it is there that climate extremes will be most severe and where there is little capability to adapt to them."
Skepticism over global warming and man-made climate change has been common in evangelical Christian circles. According to a 2008 Barna Group study, only 27 percent of evangelicals surveyed said they "firmly believed" that global warming is happening.
However with time, evangelical organizations have become more supportive of environmental causes, including global warming awareness. The Southern Baptist Convention, a source of skepticism over man- made climate change, eventually had many prominent leaders shift on the issue. "A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change," signed by over 40 SBC leaders in 2008, called for action against climate change.
"It's actually quite difficult and often not a good use of time trying to have a conversation with someone who is convinced global warming is a hoax, the data is not in yet, or it's all a 'liberal' plot to ensure one-world government," said McReynolds, who added that he takes a biblical approach to the matter.
"There are no specific climate change scriptures that I have found, but global climate change is a creation care issue for which there is a scriptural mandate and there are ethical considerations such as loving our neighbor."