Faith Based Statements on Climate Change

For many people in the world, their religious or spiritual faith is a central or defining aspect of their identity and informs their relationship with the physical world. One definition of religion is “respect for what is sacred,” and usually (but not always) involves belief in a higher power, supernatural being or God. Most religious persons profess to be concerned about others beyond themselves and seek a life consistent with service to a higher good. The four largest religions of the world are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and comprise nearly 80% of believers.

With very few exceptions, most religious organizations across the planet have issued statements within the last thirty years expressing concern about the problem of human-caused global warming or climate change, often referred to as “the climate crisis.” Explicit denial of climate change is almost non-existent among the world’s religions. In this regard, the scientific and religious communities generally seem to be in complete agreement.

What follows here are excerpts of statements from a sampling of major and minor religious organizations. It is not complete. With rare exceptions, all the world’s religious institutions agree with the scientific consensus and state something like the following:

  1. The climate of the Earth is changing; it has warmed significantly since the late 1800s.
  2. It is changing as the result of human activity; primarily the burning of fossil fuels which releases CO2, a heat-trapping gas into the atmosphere.
  3. The more we use fossil fuels, the more we release CO2, the hotter the planet becomes. As the temperature of our planet increases, glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising, threatening island nations and coastal communities. Human-caused climate change is causing significant increases in extreme weather events, increasing droughts and floods and is associated with a significant increase in wildfire activity, frequency, intensity and duration. Other negative effects of climate change include ocean acidification, desertification and severity of hurricanes. Climate change is understood to be one of the principal causes of species extinctions as well.
  4. Often citing “creation care,” most religious groups express alarm about this and call for action to prevent further harm to the biosphere on which life on Earth depends.
  5. Most religious organizations refer to their religious texts and their moral, values-based scriptures as a basis for their call to action. Various religious organizations state that climate change must be arrested due to a basic moral imperative to not do harm.
  6. Most religious organizations express an understanding of the scientific solution to the climate crisis as they call for governments of the world to shift as quickly as possible away from the use of fossil fuels.

The religious organizations that have released statements acknowledging the reality of human-caused climate change include the following:

SHASTA COUNTY INTERFAITH FORUM (REDDING, CALIFORNIA)
INTERFAITH POWER & LIGHT
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
MENNONITE CHURCH
ANGLICAN COMMUNION
EPISCOPAL CHURCH
BAHA’I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
ALLIANCE OF BAPTISTS
AMERICAN BAPTISTS
SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
BUDDHISM
CATHOLIC CHURCH
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS
HINDUISM
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
JUDAISM
CHURCH OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (MORMON)
LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA
MUSLIM
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
EASTERN ORTHORDOX CHURCH
GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
QUAKERS (RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS)
SIKHISM
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
UNITY WORLDWIDE MINISTRIES
WORLD COUNCIL ON CHURCHES

A 2013 study analyzed “the evolution of the scientific consensus” on human-caused global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and found nearly 12,000 papers published between 1991 and 2011 that looked at “global climate change” or “global warming.” Of those that stated a position, 97.1% endorsed the consensus view that humans are causing global warming. A 2010 study reviewed publication and citation data for nearly 1,400 of the world’s top climate scientists and found 97–98% of them supported the consensus view that human activity is responsible for the climate crisis.

Not a single major scientific organization or national academy of science on earth denies that the climate is changing, that humans are responsible, and that some form of action should be taken to address the risks to people and the planet.” Over 140 of the planet’s national academies and top scientific, health and engineering organizations have issued formal declarations confirming human-induced global warming and urging nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Those of us who belong to a faith group in Shasta County are faced with a moral dilemma. Do we remain silent regarding global climate change and its threat to all life on Earth? Or do we find our voice and join with others in our faith community and express our concern? If the major religious organizations on the planet have issued statements accepting the reality of human-caused climate change, what is stopping our elected officials from doing so?

SHASTA COUNTY INTERFAITH FORUM 
MEMBERS

All Saints Episcopal Church
Baha’i Faith of Shasta County
Center for Spiritual Living, Redding
Centers for Spiritual Living/Native American Tradition
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
First Church of Christ, Scientist
First United Methodist Church
Islamic Center of Redding
Native American Traditions
Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ
Redding Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Redding Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
River Oaks Sangha (Buddhist)
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church
Shasta Lake Community United Methodist Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Sikh Centre, Anderson
Temple Beth Israel
Unity in Redding

“We, the Shasta County Interfaith Forum, believe climate change is a faith and moral issue. For the sake of our children, future generations and the planet, we believe the climate change crisis requires urgent and ongoing action by individuals and local, state, national and global leaders.”

To read excerpts from the Faith Based Statements on Climate Change from the world’s major religious institutions, please visit the Shasta Environmental Alliance (SEA) website at https://www.ecoshasta.org/faith-based-statements-on-climate-change/. Or go to https://www.ecoshasta.org/ and click on News and Faith Based Statements on Climate Change. Thank you, David Ledger for making room on the SEA site for this document. Thank you, Lynn Fritz and members of the Shasta County Interfaith Forum for permission to include their statement here.

Douglas Craig
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 30 years. He believes in magic and is a Dawes fan.
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38 Responses

  1. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Excellent story, Dr. Craig. It’s worth noting that there is one religious group notably absent from the lists, Pentecostal charismatic evangelical creeds that form the core of the climate change-denying Republican Party’s base and dominate the politics of the 1st District. If we’re ever going to attack the climate change problem with the pace and scale needed, we’ll need every member of the climate change believing faiths listed above to vote.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      I didn’t know there are different types of “evangelicals” – although there must be, since right-wing fundamentalist evangelicals (heavily represented by Bethel Church locally) are 100 percent on board with major corporate polluters.

      I was interested in the climate science stance of the mega-church that is taking over the area, given that it isn’t listed in the article above. In the few minutes I spent researching this subject I didn’t find any specfic statements from Bethel leaders. However, I did find the screed from Lance Wallnau below (Wallnau is Bethel CEO Bill Johnson’s co-author of several books, close associate, and fellow New Apostolic Reformation “apostle”).

      Incredibly Wallnau states that claims of climate change are just attempts by enemies of America to “destroy its prosperity” by loading “unneccesary” regulations on business owners, and goes on to dismiss what he calls the leading promoters of climate change by labeling them “socialists” and other derrogatory terms, with the strong implication that they plotting the downfall of free market capitalism. It’s an interesting read:

      https://www.facebook.com/LanceWallnau/posts/10155433280904936:0

  2. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    Boy did I need this article! I have been pondering how the Christian right could be such big climate deniers when most of the other recognized groups believe in man-made climate change. The Climate Deniers are Trump’s Brigade and are rock-solid in his camp. Part of their nest of vipers are Nazis, White Nationalists, Homophobic, Racist, Anti Immigration and they don’t have your interest in mind..We must rise up and vote these fools out of office and in jail.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Hmmm… so because I am skeptical of catastrophic claims of climate change alarmists that makes me a “…Nazis, White Nationalists, Homophobic, Racist”? Love the over the top hyperbole of the left. I am a skeptic because I study the science closely. Nothing else

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        You don’t study the science closely. That’s a fib.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        If you truly, ” study the science closely”, you should have no problem providing link’s to a few of your most highly respected sources of information on AGW. This is a simple request I have been asking you for years now and you have never been able to provide those links. No time better than now Doug. (Sit back and watch how denial works)

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Randy…in talking about sea level rise. I have on multiple occasions directed you to NOAA’s sea level map, that closely tracks sea level rise around the world. The fact that you can’t or won’t look at that data is not on me. When I sent you that study about the Ca drought, it took me weeks of badgering you before you actually read it…and you still didn’t believe the study even though it came from your #1 source. So to answer your simple question. My sources lately has been NOAA, NASA, GISS, and whatever study I can find pertaining to the subject. In looking at temperature records. There is not one link I can show you. It takes digging deep into the data, measurements and adjustments to get a clear picture, but mostly through NASA.

    • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

      Robert Scheide Sr: I so agree with you that the vote is critical. For now, I haven’t been able to put on my walking shoes, and “rise up,” on a physical level to “vote the fools out of office.” What I am doing, after indulging in too much sadness after the Carr Fire, is donating my wine money to a legitimate cause. There are folks out in FB Land, whom I trust, and are walking the talk to get people even registered to vote. In the “key” states. One such person is a UCLA college law professor. He has donated his summer time to living in North Carolina, setting up a small table, driving folks to get registered to vote, one vote at a time! As he has described his efforts, he understands he is entitled, and has the time off. Oh, and he’s also a Rabi! Anyway, I just wanted to lend a reason to have hope, because I appreciate your style! And last, the donating my wine money has been a win-win. Ha, ha!

  3. Avatar Ted says:

    Doug Craig is a genius and one of my favorite people. He has helped me and my family in so many ways Over the years that I could never thank him enough. —climate change is real and human caused. I believe that. The problem is as soon as we can get the world on board with a plan the better. The problem is, you can’t sell that to a Bolivian who is trying feed his family with his tractor and smog spewing car. And Africa, the fastest growing population on earth, cannot be led, as that cornucopia of leadership can’t agree on anything. Where to start?

  4. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I am glad to see Indigenous People listed as nation wide every effort to mine, frack, drill for minerals is always protested by a native tribe. Worldwide Indigenous people are being imprisoned or killed for protesting against harming the Earth. While the world is focused on Hong Kong, in Western China hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities are being thrown into re-education camps to and required to change to communism or face death and imprisonment. In the Amazon the native tribes, and any outsiders who help them, protesting against deforestation are killed. In Africa the plight of Blood Diamonds is front and center and in South African gold mines the miners are dying under abusive conditions.
    Where to start? Sanction and blockade those countries for their human rights offenses.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…. Worldwide Indigenous people are being imprisoned or killed for protesting against harming the Earth”. Huh?

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Doug, in your post above you claim to study climate science closely and yet in this post you claim ignorance of what is happening to Indigenous people protesting against the mineral extraction and burning going on in their areas.
        Which is it? Are you informed or uninformed?
        I’m done Barbra, I will not be drawn into a Vortex of Negative by Curly, his profile pic from the RS.

        • Avatar John Wellington says:

          Buddy I know it is hard not to respond to the absurd comments that doug posts. It is difficult to refrain from pointing out the inconsistencies of his statements; however, not responding to him is the only way to shut him up. I spent today reading Sartres “Antisemite and Jew” and the parallels of how the anti-semites of the 1940’s argued and the arguments of todays radical right wing and their apologists are remakable. Not to say that doug is an antisemite merely that their debased arguments are similar. You will never get through to him and responding to him raises only your blood pressure. Read Sartre. Be well. Don’t feed the trolls.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            What was absurd about my comment and what am I inconsistent about? And why should an opposing view have to be “shut up”? Perhaps with my knowledge of climate change, you may actually learn something from me.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            Doug Cook provides a case study in the strategies and processes of denial. While Doug seems to play his deceptive word games just because he gets off on it he perfectly replicates the same deceptive word games being played by LaMalfa, Trump and Dahle while they are collecting public funds and working toward lifetime public funded retirement.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Randy, I keep asking you what my deceptive word games are…but you never seem to answer me Give me one example of me being deceptive.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            I don’t need to detail your games anymore because everyone knows you. Post your sources.

  5. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    The leader of the entire Roman Catholic Church just today…

    VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – “Pope Francis challenged governments on Sunday to take “drastic measures” to combat global warming and reduce the use of fossil fuels, saying the world was experiencing a climate emergency.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-pope/pope-urges-politicians-to-take-drastic-measures-on-climate-change-idUSKCN1VM161

    What part does the catastrophic fires burning in the Amazon Rain Forest play in this ? This headline just today….

    “Nearly 2,000 new fires have started in the Amazon in the last 48 hours despite burning ban from government”

    Another fascinating headline …

    “There have been three times more wildfires in the EU so far this year”

    Scary …

  6. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    This was an excellent article Doug. Thank you and thank you to Linda Cooper for suggesting a different, but effective way to change our future.

  7. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I have found Doug Cook’s credible source on AGW. I do not know how to do links so I will just supply info.
    The Blot Report, 5/27/2019
    The Three Stooges VS Science.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      I find it interesting that whenever there is a story about climate change, anyone that has an opposing view can be insulted without impunity and told to ‘shut up’. No Bruce…I don’t link sources like Randy does ad nauseum. Except his links are little more than press releases. I often direct those interested in sites, like NOAA that have actual data and measurements. Dr Craig insists that by the end of the century, sea level rise could hit 60 ft. That is absurd since NOAA’s own data shows a yearly sea level rise that is equivalent to a width of a dime. That makes me not credible because I look at real data? My friend Randy made the claim that homes were being flooded in the Maldives because of sea level rise. I researched the data and measurements and tried to find any evidence of flooded homes. There is none. He searched high and low for proof and the best he could do was find a typhoon from 1989 that caused flooding. That of course has nothing to do with AGW.
      I was told to shut up during the drought when I tried to explain to readers that it had nothing to do with AGW. That was according to 3 studies by NOAA.
      It’s also interesting that this article is about religion and AGW. There is a religious fervor about AGW where facts are now thrown out the window. A claim of 60 ft sea level rise goes without being challenged, matter of fact,bthe person making the claim gets put on a pedestal while someone that looks at the data,that has read every IPCC report cover to cover is told to shut up. I spent the better part of this week sitting in a hotel studying solar cycles and the effect is has on climate. A study that is in its infancy. We have had 30 years of predictions that have yet to come to fruition, but yet we still clutch our pearls every time a new ridiculous prediction is thrown out. Revel in your religious fervor over climate change. Believe all the gloom and doom scenarios. Me? I’ll stick to facts, data and real science.

      • Avatar Larry Winter says:

        “Dr Craig insists that by the end of the century, sea level rise could hit 60 ft.”

        No he doesn’t. What’s absurd is your claim that he does.

        Here’s an example of his claims, of which I’ve read many and they all conform to this NOAA predictive modeling..

        “Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since 1880 as a result of warming oceans and melting glaciers. A rise of another 6 feet by 2100 is possible, depending on how quickly we transition away from fossil fuels.”
        https://anewscafe.com/2019/04/08/redding/twenty-five-points-of-climate-change/

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Larry…thanks for correcting my Curly moment. Yes, of course Dr Craig said 6 ft rise , not 60. Even that number is absurd. Sea level rise has been accurately tracked since the early 1800’s by tide charts. It has been a steady increase averaging 1.7 to 3mm a year. Not much more than a width of a dime or two. According to NOAA’s own data. There hasn’t been a marked increase in the rate. It’s quite a leap to predict an increase of 6 ft in 80 years. Why do you do readily believe that prediction? Even NOAA acknowledges that there are natural causes for sea level increase. Why do you think it is all because of AGW?
          I continually ask for proof from Randy that shows the flooding in the Maldives that he claims. There isn’t any. Is he relieved there isn’t? Of course not. His reaction bid always…well, there might be. Answer me this, why do you believe these predictions without researching actual data or facts?

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Doug, you say you are well read on the science that NOAA is putting out and you still make this statement? “It’s quite a leap to predict an increase of 6 ft in 80 years. Why do you do readily believe that prediction?”

            I quoted a NOAA statement above. Take it up with them or quit saying you use NOAA’s own websites for your info.

            And I must say, when you post something in defense of your credibility while attacking others using wrong information, it has a tendency to do just the opposite.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Therein lies the problem, Larry. You said that quote comes from NOAA…it doesn’t. It was reported by the Washington Post from a random study. The IPCC, which most consider the bible of climate change predicts a sea level rise of 40 cm by 2100 (about a foot). NOAA’s likely scenario is 8″. By the way, most of these predictions are from 2013, since then the Arctic and Antarctica has been gaining ice, since the low of 2012. When someone pulls out the worst case scenario, uses a number as facts…that is deceiving. Yes, sorry I made a mistake in my number that Dr Craig mentioned. I wish I was as perfect as you, but I’m not. I occasionally make mistakes.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            For those who want to read for themselves what the IPCC and NOAA have to say about rising sea levels instead of allowing Doug Cook to misinterpret it for you.

            IPCC- https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_Chapter13_FINAL.pdf

            NOAA-
            https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sealevel.html

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Well…once again you don’t even read your own links. The IPCC predictions of sea level rise you linked are exactly what I posted in my earlier comment. Thanks for proving me right. So tell me, Randy. What exactly did I misrepresent?

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Doug, you’re right that this isn’t a product of NOAA, but just reported out on a NOAA website. My mistake and thanks for pointing it out.
            But the report is anything but a “random study” reported on by the Washington Post. It was published by the National Academy of Science.

            “Ice sheet contributions to future sea-level rise from structured expert judgment
            Jonathan L. Bamber, Michael Oppenheimer, Robert E. Kopp, Willy P. Aspinall, and Roger M. Cooke
            PNAS June 4, 2019 116 (23) 11195-11200; first published May 20, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817205116

            Edited by Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany, and accepted by Editorial Board Member Hans J. Schellnhuber April 8, 2019 (received for review October 5, 2018)

            https://www.pnas.org/content/116/23/11195

      • Avatar Randy says:

        “I spent the better part of this week sitting in a hotel studying solar cycles and the effect is has on climate”

        No one is telling you to”shut up” just post direct links to the information you find relevant and make the case you want to make. Can you not understand the concept of backing your position with the information you rely on for your position?

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Sometimes Randy, you have to do a little work. Here is a project for you. Often, I cannot just supply a link to my data I come up with. As far as global sea level rise, here is what you can do.. if you go to NOAA tides and currents, go to the trend tables, select Global trend tables, you will see a list of 369 trends, download the data and average the trends and you come up with the amazing result of 1.362 mm per year. Easy?

  8. Avatar John Wellington says:

    Randy,
    I cannot figure out how to directly respond to your 0755 comment above but suffice it to say that I have never really thought about how his denials, phrasing, and word choices closely mirror that of those you mentioned. Are you postulating that he is being paid, perhaps that this is just the fox machine at work, or something darker yet? Another possibility is that i seem to recall he has claimed before that he worked in government before (Air force?) and his verbiage was perhaps picked up while being a government employee. I lean toward this being the fox machine rearing its uglier and uglier head as I can think of no plausible explanation for his vehement defense of all things Bethel.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      John,

      I have considered that Doug Cook is getting funded to fuel denial and misinformation about climate science but his games are so adolescent and irrational I think he just enjoys wasting the time of those he views as ‘liberals’ and sometimes distracting them off into his nonsense. My comparison between him, Trump, Lamalfa and Dahle is just to point out the fact that these elected officials are equally adolescent in their own games of promoting denial and misinformation as is Doug Cook. The difference is that these elected officials are responsible to the people for making informed decisions on critical issues of policy and they are failing their obligations to our citizenry.

  9. Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

    Thanks to Doni Chamberlain for allowing me to write for ANC and thanks to those who read my articles and take the time to comment. Regarding the evangelical view of climate change, there are many enlightened individuals who are fundamentalist in their religious views and also understand the need to preserve a healthy climate for others. Many call it Creation Care. Back in February of 2006, “86 prominent Evangelical leaders issued an unprecedented statement, ‘Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action.’ Among the signers: Dr. Rick Warren, author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life;’ David Neff, editor of ‘Christianity Today;’ and a score of denominational and university presidents.” https://virtueonline.org/evangelical-call-action-climate-change-mike-mcmanus
    That number has now grown to over 300: “The Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) is a group of over 300 senior evangelical leaders in the United States who are convinced it is time for our country to help solve the problem of global warming.” http://www.christiansandclimate.org/
    Of local interest, one of the original signers was from Redding, Rev. James M. Grant, Ph.D., former President of Simpson University. And there is the Evangelical Environmental Network: https://www.creationcare.org/ and Care of Creation: http://www.careofcreation.net/what-creation-care-is-all-about/

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