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Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times
December 13th, 2012
02:55 PM ET

Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – More than a third of Americans see recent extreme weather as a sign that the world is in biblical “end times,” according to a survey released Thursday.

Thirty-six percent of Americans say that the severity of recent natural disasters indicate that we are at the precipice of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world, according to the survey, released by Public Religion Research Institute. The survey found that 15% of Americans believe the world will end, as predicated in the book of Revelation, in their lifetime.

“Theology plays an important role in how we view the world,” said Daniel Cox, the survey firm’s research director. “We have had a number of really severe weather events in 2012, and we thought that might affect how people respond.”

In late 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the east coast, killing 106 people in the United States and causing up to $50 billion in damage. The year also saw a major drought in the Midwest and southeastern United States, wildfires throughout Colorado that provoked tens of thousands to evacuate and June floods that washed out roads and bridges and inundated neighborhoods in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A belief that the end of the world is near does not necessarily rule out acceptance of global warming, however. More than six-in-10 Americans said the severity of recent storms is caused by global climate change.

“To some, climate change is one way that we are experiencing end times,” Cox said.

Beliefs about climate change and the end times are largely split along religious lines. While most white mainline Protestants (65%) and Catholics (60%) say recent extreme weather is born of climate change, a large majority of white evangelical Protestants (65%) say the storms are proof of “end times.”

The book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, paints itself as a prophetic look at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The apocalyptic book says that believers will be saved and that nonbelievers will perish in a struggle between good and evil.

Many Christians believe the end times will be marked by drought, famine, storms and floods, as well as economic failures.

Though they disagree on why it’s happening, most Americans agree that the weather is intensifying. According to the Public Religion Research Institute survey, 63% of Americans say the weather is getting “more extreme,” while only 6% said it was getting “less extreme.”

“While there is disagreement about the causes of, and to a lesser extent the existence of, global warming, there is nonetheless widespread agreement about the need for action,” Robert P. Jones, CEO of the polling firm, said.

The survey found that eight in 10 Democrats and more than 6 in 10 independents say the government needs to do more to combat global warming, though most Republicans disagree.

The telephone survey of 1,018 American adults was conducted from December 5 to December 9. The poll’s margin of error is 3.2 percent.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Faith Now

soundoff (792 Responses)
  1. Kebos

    Translation.......1 in 3 Americans are mind-controlled.

    December 14, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • lol??

      Science abuse by the Socialists.

      December 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • gary

      Uh – no, try again lol?? Is it fulfilling being the blog idiot?

      December 14, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • New Alias

      Let's not all criticize our friend Kebos too quickly here!
      I agree that half of the Christians are mind controlled. If those are the 1 in 3 he is referring to, we need to show some support!

      December 14, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  2. laststonecarver

    When I am supplied with only 2 options, a red flag goes up. Are those the only options?
    How about the option that the Earth is a living creature, that humans have been obliviously, systematically killing.
    And that this creature, which although is not human, supports all life on this planet, with the interactive support of the sun.
    And humans should have a much greater respect for the life of their planet.
    So the next time the planet scratches the itch, that is humans, you just might ask yourself, who is the great creature, which is called Earth.

    December 14, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You've been watching too much Avatar.

      December 14, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • laststonecarver

      I did appreciate the movie Avatar, but know you this, there is Knowing beyond human existance.
      The Earth is a living creature. Universal really does not mean all of Earth, but instead is about the Universe.
      A movie is just a story about life, possible or impossible.
      Life is a story about possibilities and impossibilities.
      The stones can talk. I know, I am a stone carver.

      December 14, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • lol??

      Who is mudder earth? Ask the wicked witch of the west.

      December 14, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • laststonecarver

      lol?? (what a cute name) – Sorry to be the one to have to break it to you, but the WWOTW died in the movie. Yes it was just a movie, as in not real life, a story. BTW you may want to keep a synapse count, you may have already burnt to many.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • LLR

      Rational Libertarian
      You can never watch too much Avatar! :-)

      December 14, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  3. atomD21

    I've never understood the fascination in Christianity with the end of the world. People waste their entire lives looking for signs of the end times and proof of Jesus' imminent return and all that. They're completely missing the point. Life is so much more than just looking forward to death. We have so many opportunities to do so many things, and we waste them because we think it's better to be religious and try to make God happy with us through our memory verses and praying just the right way. I choose to work to make this world we live in better while I'm here, not to wear a butt print into a pew.

    December 14, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Anne

      I agree!

      December 14, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      EXACTLY RIGHT!

      December 14, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Kebos

      Excellent comment!

      December 14, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • lol??

      atomD21 sayz, "....end of the world....." What end? Jesus will reign for a Kyear. Hows that for a buffer, a time buffer?

      December 14, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • LLR

      atomD21
      I like your post, but I think I know where the fascination in Christianity with the end of the world comes from. There is a distinct lack of satisfaction in telling people that God's Glory will be revealed to everyone when they die, which makes it delightful to fantasize about an end of the world where everyone will see God come down to smite THEIR enemies, with the bending of every knee, and the tongues and such. Only really at the end of the world do Christians see a time when their critics will be humbled into admitting that they were wrong in not having faith. It's the Christian equivalent of having Publisher's Clearinghouse knock on your door with a check while all your neighbors are watching. Like I said, it's a fantasy, and lots can't wait for it to come!

      December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Lou

      LLR
      It's more like winning the Powerball if it was a Billion, or more. Some people would just calculate their odds as either too high to even bother with playing, or they might but a ticket on a lark, kissing the money goodbye. Others might regularly buy a few tickets, or join the office pool, but what they really do is invest in their retirement portfolios because they know that the chances of actually winning are very slim. Finally, there will be those who have no other plan for retirement, or in life really, other than winning the Big One, and all they ever think about is how they can tell their bosses, old girlfriends, and basically everyone else to f–k off when they get their giant check on TV. Many of the Rapture ready are clearly like this last group.

      December 14, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  4. saggyroy

    33% of Americans also need to cut waaaay back on the caffeine and stop watching Faux News.

    December 14, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      I love my coffee (Navy habit) and my Cherry Dr. Pepper. But, I have deleted Faux News from my channel lineup. The DVR just skips that channel completely. Am I on the right track? lol

      December 14, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  5. saggyroy

    But Buffy stopped the apocalypse in the last episode with the help of the Scooby's....

    December 14, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Lou

      Which time? There were soooo many!

      December 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  6. saggyroy

    Everybody talks about the apocalypse, but no one does anything about it.

    December 14, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • lol??

      Now, now, relax...." I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies!" .........................................Now do you get it?

      December 14, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  7. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Marilyn Agee says the rapture will be today – http://prophecycorner.theforeverfamily.com/. See ya later!

    December 14, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Mirosal

      Cool!! that means less traffic on the roads, and shorter lines in the stores ... so hurry up with them already!!!

      December 14, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Go Get 'Em

      Let's all go out in the yard or street and put down some folded clothes next to a pair of shoes with some dry ice in them. Beleebers will think that they missed out on it!

      December 14, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • saggyroy

      Cool. Lines for Christmas shopping will be shorter.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And when all the true, pious, humble, charitable, forgiving Christians ascend bodily to Heaven today, I'm sure the world will miss both of them.

      December 14, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • lol??

      Rapture? The gubmint is planning one.

      December 14, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Christians, I'll see you in the Rapture Capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose rings – the big steel ones that I padlocked the chains onto when we were practising for the Uplifting.

      This time, though, when the swirling starts and your head goes down and under, close your mouth so the brown floaters don't get in like they did in your last practice.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  8. Mirosal

    It's amazing how many are duped. This "end of the world" claim isn't even Christian. It's the end cycle of a Mayan calendar. And they are a people who knew NOTHING about the Chrsitian god or that dead zombie guy Jesus. They had their own gods. This is just another example of Chrsitians hi-jacking someone else's claim and making it their own, just like they did with Christmas. They hi-jacked that one from the Romans.

    December 14, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  9. LAST DAY

    The End Times is absolutely near;

    so the "Son of Man" has already come

    with the Salvation of GOD

    in the beginning of this LAST DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now,

    as Jesus Christ clearly and unmistakably foretold about it right here (=John 6/27, 40)!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    December 14, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • midwest rail

      Men have been predicting the end of days since roughly 40 A.D. They have all been wrong. So are you.

      December 14, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • Primewonk

      The batshit crazy woo is strong with this nutter.

      December 14, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  10. Jeffision

    Periodically both the ecosystem and civilization degrades due to extreme climate variations that are related to solar fluctuations. What expands must contract. This degradation and contraction is what is referred to as the "end times" in ancient mythologies. We're now in the tail end of one of these cycles of decline. Nothing religious, spiritual, magical, or mystical about it.

    December 14, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • lol??

      Just trade some carbon credits, but first ya gotta buy em. That work takes energy.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  11. justin

    Has Pope Benedict XVI requested to go to Area 51 ? I would like to have hime request to visit the place where the Greylings are being housed. His relationship with all of the creatures of this earth and the other galaxies as well would put any speculation of any kind to rest. Someone needs to get him in there to see for himself what is going on. Our various presidents have all been required to go. Why not ask the pope to see these beings up close and personal. Freedom of information goes hand in hand with freedom of religion.

    December 14, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  12. Mirosal

    End of the world, the time has come
    Let Earth receive her doom
    Let every single reprobate
    disintegrate, evaporate
    And buildings crumble too
    All over me and you
    All over, all over, your fake god too.

    December 14, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • HitchSlap

      We are the pure and chosen few
      And all the rest are d-mned.
      There's room enough in h3ll for you.
      We don't want heaven crammed.

      December 14, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  13. sparky

    That's hilarious! The majority of Americans don't believe in evolution or global warming, but when it comes to a magic wizard man in the sky screwing with our weather in preparation for his night of the living dead return... that is obviously true and going to happen any day now!

    December 14, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  14. UnKnown

    People who believe this ( Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times ) as in this article are stupid and idiots!

    That is crap and so is the BS that people say the end of the world is coming, if people really believe this, you need your heads examined!

    December 14, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  15. Epidi

    Hogwash. The world will go on wether we live in it or not. It is far older than us and will likely outlive our species as well. The sooner people accept the fact that they are a part of the animal kingdom on this planet the sooner they'll smarten up and stop fouling thier own nest.

    December 14, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • saggyroy

      99% of ALL the species that ever lived on the earth are now extinct. Our time is coming, because of nature: our passion for screwing things up maybe – human nature. It's the way we are wired.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  16. Zombie Jesus

    I would return, but the Romans already knew Zombie Rule #2 and double tapped me.

    December 14, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  17. Ancient literature was good for the ancients ..

    But apocalypticism is bunk.
    The world will end when the sun goes red giant a few billion years from now.
    Just as now, (if they even know who he was, and they probably won't give a crap), the few who might, will still be waiting for a the dead guy to come back.
    Give it up, and get on with life.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • ScepticStill

      its hard to get on with life when you're stuck in a death cult

      December 14, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  18. ScepticStill

    1/3 of the population is in need of psychiatric help

    December 14, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Ex-Christian

      Oh, I'd say quite a bit more than that...

      December 14, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • ScepticStill

      Ex-Christian- the poll put the figures at 33% but you're "on the ground", as it were, and see a bigger picture

      December 14, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  19. krehator

    So I guess 33% are kooks.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Michael S.

      No "Guess" about it. They are all certifiable. People have been running around with such ignorant ideas for thousands of years and yet the stupidity never ends.

      December 14, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  20. Sue

    Russ, up to the top again: that website that you cited is rubbish. Now stop dodging the issue and present some evidence for the existence of your disgusting Christian sky fairy yourself if you can. If you succeed, you will be the first person to ever do so. The bible is not valid evidence for your god, and you should know that already.

    Now grow some courage and stop dodging the question, you cowardly wimp. Answer up, coward, and no dodging.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • krehator

      People have been predicting the end of the world since it began. There will always be suckers lined up to buy into it too. After all who will give them a refund?

      December 14, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • ScepticStill

      krehator- paul the apostle believed it would be in his own lifetime, and christ told some of his disciples (according to the bible) that the end would happen in their lifetime.
      those two authorities got it wrong and 1/3 of the population is deluded,
      p.s. Sue, in my hurry to reply I accidentally hit "report abuse" on your post, sorry!

      December 14, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Ancient literature was good for the ancients ..

      Not to worry. No one monitors the "report abuse" replies, and there are no mods.

      December 14, 2012 at 1:59 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.