Religion and attitudes towards nature in Britain

Bernadette C Hayes, M. Marangudakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Religious institutions have been identified as important conduits in shaping social attitudes toward nature and the environment. Using Lynn White's historical thesis that Judeo-Christianity has cherished the domination of nature ('dominion' belief) by humans as our frame of reference, this article examines the impact of religion, specifically Abrahamic and Judeo-Christian beliefs, on environmental attitudes in Britain. Based on the 1993 British Social Attitudes Survey, a nationally representative sample of the adult population in Britain, the multivariate results of this paper suggest that: (a) there is no significant difference between Christians and non-Christians concerning environmental attitudes; (b) Roman Catholics are the most sceptic toward nature among Christian denominations; and (c) irrespective of religious identification, the two most notable and consistent factors in determining pro-dominion attitudes in Britain are educational attainment and particularly levels of scientific knowledge about the natural environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages16
JournalThe British Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


  • religion
  • nature
  • Britain
  • environment
  • Christian


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