How Does This Evangelical Scientist Convince Christians to Accept Climate Change? June 9, 2014

How Does This Evangelical Scientist Convince Christians to Accept Climate Change?

Over the weekend, NPR’s Rachel Martin had a fascinating interview with Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian who is trying to convince other conservatives that human-induced climate change is a real problem that they need to be concerned with… and not just God huggin’ us closer:

Here’s what Hayhoe says when speaking at churches:

One of the biggest issues I often get asked is if God is in control, how could this happen? Or to put it another way, doesn’t the idea that humans could change climate threaten the idea of the sovereignty of God? And the answer to that is actually pretty simple. It’s free will. 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. It’s a consequence to the fact that we have an industrialized society that depends on coal and oil and gas for many of our resources.

And another argument that you hear a lot in Christian circles is, well, if the world is going to end anyways, why bother? In fact, won’t this just hasten the end of the world? And in that case, we can actually look directly to the book of Thessalonians where Paul wrote to people very strongly. And the apostle said, don’t just quit your job and lay around waiting for Christ to return. Go get a job, work, support your family and care for the poor. That’s what we’re intended to do, not just sit around and say, ah, it’s going to end anyways.

Essentially, her goal is to reconcile the science with her faith for an audience that thinks it’s all a big conspiracy, but she seems to explain it in a very straightforward way.

Would that approach work with other aspects of science? Doubtful. I don’t think, for example, that she could explain something like evolution that directly contradicts what Genesis says. But if she can nudge her audiences in the direction of science, maybe they’ll come to realize that when the facts appear to go against their Holy Book, the facts will always win out.

For those Christians who insist on the truth of the Bible, Hayhoe reminds them that their book must conform to the evidence, not the other way around.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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