Poll: More Than One-Third of Americans See Signs of End Times in Extreme Weather
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2012 Dec 26
More than a third of Americans -- 36 percent -- believe the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are the "end times" described in the New Testament, the Religion News Service reports. "There is a significant proportion of Americans who see these phenomena through a theological lens," said Daniel Cox of the Public Religion Research Institute. "It's hardly a fringe belief. It's nearly four in 10 Americans who are embracing this." The conviction is particularly strong among white evangelical Protestants (65 percent), and less common among Catholics (21 percent) and the religiously unaffiliated (15 percent). But a majority of Americans connect recent extreme weather to climate change: 63 percent say the severity of recent weather is evidence of global warming, compared to 33 percent who disagree. Cox noted religious divisions among Americans on recent destructive storms, floods, snowstorms and heat waves. Sixty-nine percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans link dramatic weather to global warming, compared to 60 percent of Catholics and 50 percent of white evangelicals. "They're experiencing the same weather, but how they perceive it is very different," Cox said. The differences among Democrats and Republicans are even starker, with 70 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents saying unusual weather patterns are evidence of global warming, compared to 43 percent of Republicans. The survey also found that 29 percent of Americans believe God sometimes punishes nations for the political decisions of their leaders, though 65 percent reject this idea.