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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

A Christian Climate Scientist's Mission To Convert Non-Believers.

Posted by on Jun. 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM
  • 17 Replies

A Christian Climate Scientist's Mission To Convert Non-Believers

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also a devout Christian.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also a devout Christian.

Courtesy of Katharine Hayhoe

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Last week, the Obama administration announced historic regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Policies to address climate change have been a tough sell among some Republicans on Capitol Hill, but also in many Christian congregations around the country.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also a devout Christian.

Hayhoe has spent the last few years trying to convince other Christians that climate change is real, and that caring about the issue is one of the most Christian things you can do. She told NPR's Rachel Martin of the difficulties of spreading that message among Christian congregations.

"The people we trust, the people we respect, the people whose values we share, in the conservative community, in the Christian community, those people are telling us, many of them, that this isn't a real problem — that it's a hoax," Heyhoe says. "Even worse, that you can't be a Christian and think that climate change is real. You can't be a conservative and agree with the science."

Heyhoe says what Christians often question about climate change is if God is in control, how could this happen? Another argument she hears is the idea that humans could change climate threatens the sovereignty of God.

"The answer to that is pretty simple: It's free will," she says. "God gave us the brains to make good choices and there's consequences to the choices that we make."

And that's what climate change is, she says, a consequence of an industrialized society that depends on coal, oil and gas for many of our resources.

Heyhoe says that once people can get past the stage where they're bashing each other over the head with facts and political opinions, and get to point of sharing what they truly care about, at that point, she says, we can make some progress forward. She also says that to care about green issues you don't have to be a liberal or what people call "tree huggers."

"I think the most important message for people is that each of us already has the values in our hearts that we need to care about this issue," she says.

In her presentations, Heyhoe says she finds it effective to address the questions people have: How do we know that climate change is even real? How could I care about climate change as a Christian/Conservative/Republican? For some people, she says, it can feel like giving up their identity in order to care about climate change.

But lately she is also seeing a shift in the questions she's being asked. They've moved away from the specifics of climate change or what's heard on the news. Instead, people are asking what they can do about the problem.

"That's where I want to go," she says.

Join The Conversation

Do you and all your friends and family agree on climate change? Where are the dividing lines? Tell us what you think on the Weekend Edition Facebook page, or in the comments section below.

by on Jun. 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jun. 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM
1 mom liked this

Interesting.

Being unconcerned with how one's behaviors affect the planet that actually provides us life for all  seems rather irresponsible.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on Jun. 8, 2014 at 4:13 PM
2 moms liked this
If your belief is that the resources were intentionally finate to last only until the rapture then that lack of accountability/responsibility makes sense.

SMH at that.


Quoting Sisteract:

Interesting.

Being unconcerned with how one's behaviors affect the planet that actually provides us life for all  seems rather irresponsible.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jun. 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM

True

Quoting NWP: If your belief is that the resources were intentionally finate to last only until the rapture then that lack of accountability/responsibility makes sense. SMH at that.
Quoting Sisteract:

Interesting.

Being unconcerned with how one's behaviors affect the planet that actually provides us life for all  seems rather irresponsible.


angelenia
by Bronze Member on Jun. 8, 2014 at 4:18 PM
Bump
AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Jun. 9, 2014 at 1:28 AM
1 mom liked this
The rapture/dispensationalism heresy is really a crime against humanity. It's caused so much misery and it's not even two hundred years old. Or is it? Just barely if it is.
Anyway, people selling all of the their crap and standing nekkid in a cave waiting to be sucked upwards by a divinity tornado. Or wearing robes in a field. I guess the fact that neighbors could watch that certain of the end of the world encouraged modesty. Can't really blame the rapture ideas totally though, people have been willfully superstitious since the dawn of time. Who can resist the idea that everything is going to be just fine and that all of the heavy lifting/ bloody fighting had already been done by someone else.
babie113
by Silver Member on Jun. 9, 2014 at 1:32 AM
Sigh good luck to her .
12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Jun. 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM

 "Even worse, that you can't be a Christian and think that climate change is real. You can't be a conservative and agree with the science."


eye rolling

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jun. 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting 12hellokitty:

 "Even worse, that you can't be a Christian and think that climate change is real. You can't be a conservative and agree with the science."


eye rolling

Cat got their tongues?

More should take the time and apply the effort to speak up and out, like this woman had done.

SpiritedWitch
by Member on Jun. 9, 2014 at 2:08 PM

She was on "Years of Living Dangerously" (Showtime) and she tried to convince a pastor about climate change. You could see he wasn't even listening to her. He was constantly smirking. He cut off funding to his daughter's education because she was studying climate change and trying to get him to understand. Said something like when she came to her senses, he would begin paying again. (not exactly what he said ... but close)

My parents and sister are on that pastor's side of the fence. The repeatedly say that it's "crap" and "bunk". "The planet goes through warming/cooling cycles. Refuse to admit that maybe, just maybe humans have speeded up the cycles with all the crap we have put in the air and the way we are gutting the planet. Oh and if it's really cold, "Where's that "Global Warming" they keep talking about?" They won't recycle, use energy saving light bulbs, etc. 

shannonnigans
by Platinum Member on Jun. 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM
4 moms liked this

Interestingly, a group that has no agenda in this issue, a group that simply takes what it observes and adjusts accordingly, has no trouble with accepting global warming as a reality, and by and large, I would say they're a somewhat conservative bunch. They're called the United States Navy:

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/documents/CCR.pdf

They take global warning real seriously.

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