Americans who go to church think the clergy can be very helpful in providing guidance on growing closer to God, but distrust their advice on issues such as climate change, the Pew Research Center reveals in a new study.
A full 68 percent of U.S. adults who attend religious services at least a few times a year say they have “a lot” of confidence in the advice of their clergy on growing closer to God, yet just a small fraction of this number (13 percent) say they have this confidence when the topic is climate change, Pew found. When expanded to include those who have “a lot or some” confidence in the ability of their clergy to guide them, 92 percent of religious Americans say they have confidence in this for growing closer to God, yet fewer than half (49 percent) say they have a lot or even some confidence when the topic is climate change. In fact, of all the issues surveyed by Pew, climate change garnered the greatest amount of distrust regarding pastors’ ability to offer sound advice.
Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) said they had not much or no confidence at all in their clergy’s counsel in this field. When it comes to issues with political resonance, significantly more U.S. adults appreciate their pastors’ counsel on the question of abortion than on the question of global warming. Pew found that a substantial majority (69 percent) of religious Americans say they have “a lot or some” confidence in their clergy’s advice on the matter of abortion, which represents a full 20 percent more than those who have this confidence in clerics’ opinions regarding climate change.