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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

soundoff (792 Responses)
  1. Frank

    We will all find out someday if God, Jesus and Satan all exist. But for the world to end right away, could we all be that lucky. We will all continue to suffer under the group of people who really control us, those damn Republicans and Democrats.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      All the evidence points to the likelihood that you'll never find out, that you'll die and your consciousness will no longer exist, just as it did not exist before you were conceived. You'll never know you were wrong.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Republicans are the real problem. Or maybe the VOTERS are the real problem by voting for these idiots.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Donna

      HitchSlap
      Knowing that you'll never be proven wrong has been proven a strong licence to do whatever you want.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Knarf

      Frank, if there is no god, then nobody will ever know. You will just end, and nothing about your death will prove anything about deities that you can consciously understand. Because your consciousness must be gone at the point where a god would show up, and if there is none . . .

      December 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Believing that one can have all of ones misdeeds forgiven by believing in the divinity of an ancient lunatic is the ultimate license to be downright evil in this world. History has proven that. Atheism allows for true morality and selfless action.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  2. Larry the truthteller

    As Mark 13 clearly shows, Jesus said the end times would come in the liftime of some of those standing there listening. That would include, seeing Jesus come on the clouds, angels gathering up all of the faithful everywhere, children having their parents put to death, false messiahs performing miracles, the stars fall from the skies, all in the lifetime of those there listening.

    Didn't happen. Jesus gave a detailed list, a general timeframe, and it did not happen.

    Jesus was wrong. He was also wrong about prayer by the faithful working absolutely, including making a mountain throw itself into the sea. This is the clearest evidence that Christianity is phoney: their own god was wrong. Twice.

    So if there is no evidence anywhere in the universe to support your religious belief beyond a scripture where the deity is clearly wrong, then you ae stuck with the reality that Christianity is fake, phony, bogus, bullshit.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Not to mention Genesis being full of errors.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Donna

      Look up the story of the Wandering Jew, supposedly cursed by Jesus to be immortal until he returned. Convenient how that solves that little problem, eh?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Ohm

      Each of the Gospels has a radically different account of the resurrection, including who was there, what they found, who they told, and what comes after. Just more evidence of the falsehood of Christianity.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      An immortal wandering Jew! Comedic gold!

      December 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  3. samantha

    It does not say in the bible the date or time when the world would end. Yes I believe that we are in the last chapter, however God did say he destoyed the earth once and he would not do it again. God said man will do it. So all this crap about 12/21/12 is just another way to get people to believe another hoex. Just as a preacher said the world would end earler this year and a lot of follower spent their long time savings. The world will end by man and it will be a fire in the sky..

    December 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, right. Fire in the sky, huh? I can't wait.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      The apostles thought the end was near as well. Turns out they were following a raving lunatic who didn't even fit the old Jewish prophecy of the messiah.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • winnie the pooh

      tigga please.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Donna

      People have been on the edge of their seats about the end of the world for almost 2000 years. That's one hell of a long "final chapter".

      December 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • LLR

      Donna
      Likely that final chapter will go on until the last person loses interest, which could be another 2000, or 20, 000 years.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  4. Frank

    The end is near and there is nothing any government on the planet can do to stop it. Man screwed his own destiny.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, the end of 2012 is near.

      Go out and buy a 2013 calendar. It will make you feel so much better.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      Why wait, Frank? Get in line to kneel in front of Jeebus now

      December 14, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  5. lionlylamb

    Do people understand "worldly overtures" in political terminologies? Are folks intuitions just lore to be made small talk? Where does one's dreams truly begin in light of current social brevities? Are dreams a foretelling of mysticism?

    December 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  6. dotheflippin'math

    Sadly, these same people use that to justify continuing their pollution of the atmosphere, logging of forests, and resistance to clean-energy investment. They also attack the unemployed, even though there are no jobs out there. We have the means to create jobs and industries, and make positive changes for the future. Screw the idiots hoping for an apocalypse to "save" them. THEY ARE THE PROBLEM!

    December 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  7. LAST DAY

    End Times is absolutely here,

    and the Son of Man has already come in the beginning of this LAST DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now,

    as Jesus clearly foretold about it here! (John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    December 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  8. josh rogen

    some blame the weather on man, others blame it on God, i blame it on variations in the sun's output who can say which is most likely?

    December 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Two of those are testable hypotheses. The other can be dismissed as absurd. Who can say? Man can say.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  9. josh rogen

    wow...people really are ignorant

    December 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  10. ChristianMingle.com

    This a glorious time! The end is near and the faithful are going home to God. Rejoice!

    December 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, get rid of them. Then religion will finally be gone leaving only the sane people.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Danram

      Great. Don't forget to send me a postcard when you get there, OK?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Kevin

      I'll look for you on the comments across CNN on 12/22

      December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, Jeez, people....CM.com is a freaking poe.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      More raving lunacy from the death-cult member wishing for the end of the world because his real life is miserable.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Dimenser

      People, mingle is an internet troll trying to get a rise out of people. Apparently it's working. Please ignore him and he will go away.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I'm going home to Da Bronx.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • .

      Yes, please go as soon as possible and so the rest of us can finaly build a better world

      December 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Yo . What kind of name is that?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      better yet, get a head start.....go meet jeebus now

      December 14, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  11. Ancient literature was good for the ancients ..

    and that's the end of it. Nothing more. They knew nothing more than anyone else. Get over it.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  12. Portland tony

    It will be the real "end of intelligent days" if people keep quoting and believing the thousand year old babbling of a bunch of ignorant "holy men". I just think it's a shame, with all of man's collected knowledge available to just about everyone, there are still fools that believe in fortune tellers!

    December 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  13. LabMonkey

    There are the same folks that also believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and Chupacabra's, so their connection to reality is a tad thin.....

    December 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  14. HitchSlap

    The only cure for this mass stupidity is for reasonable people to challenge the ridiculous claims of believers any time those claims enter the public sphere.

    December 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      Why would you challenge the truth? You should be getting prepared!

      December 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @mingle

      You saying it's truth doesn't mean shit.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      I agree, but God said it, so it is not crab meat.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @mingle

      You saying that god said it doesn't mean shit either.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Not fooled by your book full of contradictions and errors and not scared of your fictional end times and afterlife.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      That's true too, but God does not need you or me to think or say anthingys.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ ChristianMingle.com, How do you know god said it? Do you hear voices or are you taking someone's personal opinion as your own?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @mingle

      And yet you claim it as truth, while not being able to demonstrate that. Do you know what most people would call that outside of your religion? Delusion.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "ChristianMingle.com", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore "it" cannot say anything. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      December 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      You must have faith. Don't be afraid, God loves you and wants you to join Him!! I know a secret, I know a secret!

      December 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @hg

      ChristianMingle is flouting Poe's Law here.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Faith = gullibility. Believing in things (like the god of the Bible) that not only have no evidence in their favor, but also have been conclusively disproven by mountains of evidence, is the height of foolishness.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      GOP's a weiner.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Yo Mr. Mingle.... What is the secret? Please share it with us so we can laugh at you.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • cholla9807

      Lucky he doesn't need you to think, because if he did, he'd be really disappointed.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  15. drefromla

    scary that anybody thinks that

    December 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      Why? Are you afraid of the truth? Perhaps you should get right with God?

      December 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Idiocracy

      Christianmingle, so if the end of times DOESN'T come, does that mean that your religious hoopla is all wrong? Or will you have an excuse like, "oh we have the date wrong, it will actually end next year...I forgot to round up."

      December 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  16. LT Dan

    This is just sad... 36% of people believe that Jesus is coming back and the world is going to end?? People (or should I say sheeple) have been saying that for 2,000 years. Wake up, and realize that its not real. The bible is a book of fiction, plain and simple. This is a perfect example of the decline in US intellect in regards to math and science. Why do people not believe things like santa, magic, and the easter bunny are not real but they 100% without a doubt believe that a 2000 year old hippie is the son of a virgin and god and is going to "come back" and save everyone? Religion is a means of control and a way to extort $$$ from the mentally weak.
    "Science flys robots to Mars, religion flys planes into buildings"

    December 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  17. Dan

    So sad. Ironically, if we continue to ignore global warming, it will be the end of times. And it will be our own doing, not some magical being punishing humans.

    December 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • JuJuBee

      What can we do about global warming?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Lower carbon emissions along with China and India, and develop technologies for dealing with the high greenhouse gas concentration that will be in the atmosphere for decades to come.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  18. Harold Camping

    What a load of crap, hold on, lot of cash coming in, my prophesy is for, lets see, 20, 13, 2013 that is the 20th of the 13 th month of 2013.

    December 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  19. ChristianMingle.com

    The Bible clearly states that the end of the world will happen in 2013. Focus on preperation and the rewards will be great!

    December 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Lisa

      If I were you, I'd focus on making life more rewarding so you wouldn't be looking forward to some imaginary end-of-days.

      Do you volunteer in your community? Can you think of a way to help others?

      December 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      Hi Lisa, you sound like a good Christian. Yes, I volunteer at the youth center every Sunday and run our church's food drive every holiday season. In addition I councel troubled youth year round and I am a Big Brother for two teen boys.

      Tell me about what you do! Thanks!

      December 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Justifiably skeptical

      Oh really? Please quote chapter and verse. I would love to see exactly where it says that.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • ChristianMingle.com

      @Justifiably skeptical

      It is best to focus on being prepared. My faith tells my heart it is time, just as the Bible cleary says. Please I beg you, release your pride and come to God.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Dennizen

      What happens to you End-Times people when your end date passes (as literally hundreds have over the centuries) and nothing happens? Do you re-examine bible symbology to try and justify another end date? Is it really that important there IS a fore-ordained end date? Why? Just curious...

      December 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • economics101

      So why is ChristianMingle spending all that money on annoying TV ads if the world is coming to end?

      Are they legitimate? Baffling.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Aerin

      What a sorry state you are in.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • DEEDEE

      Weirdo alert!

      December 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • VonPapen

      Its a shame so many people buy so completely into a book of fanciful stories written by human beings. Reminds me of Scientology. Oh and by the way, by its very nature of worshipping a messiah, Christianity violates the 1st Commandment that we should not be worshipping any besides God. And yet, to echo Karl Marx, I am quite glad we have religion to control the stupid masses of which you are so clearly an excellent representative. VON PAPEN OUT. LONG LIVE SACRED GERMANY!!!!

      December 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      2013? Wasn't it SUPPOSED to be this year?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      @christianmingle.com
      II thought I could agree with yur post until you said"The Bible clearly states that the end of the world will happen in 2013" How do you know this where in the bible do you read this as a youth minister I have never read that in the bible so I would lover clear evidence

      December 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  20. Hank in TX

    I live in state with a good portion of these type people (low level of education, high level of fundamental christian training). We continue to dumb down our education system in math, science, history, arts, etc... so we shouldn't be surprised.

    December 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • PA

      To Hank in TX - I have 2 good friends living in your state: both have PhD's, both work for NASA and both are believing Christians. Just wanted to tell you that many Christians I know personally are highly educated people; in TX and everywhere you go, you will find Christians that are people of education, great knowledge, and a deep personal faith in God.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @PA,

      do your Christian rocket scientists believe they are living in the end times too?

      December 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.