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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. ma & pa

    larry at 7:28 and 9:25pm appears to think only of the form, ignoreing it's inhabitant. Nay-sayers talk against anything until it is accomplished, then try to get into that action. The warning against false prophets says No Man Knoweth the Day nor the Hour of the Return of the Lord. Those doubting the Bible because of man's misuse of it's words can maybe learn from it by looking up book, chapter and verse where this caution is given to us. DJones, at 7:28pm, thank you for the gem of insight.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Bob

      Try some punctuation and real sentences next time, ma & pa. And while you're at it, ask yourselves how it is that your omnipotent sky fairy can't do better than a book that is so readily subject to misinterpretation, and why he can't use a more modern medium than a book, maybe even push some tweets out.

      The answer is that your god doesn't exist. Grow some courage and start realizing that. The world is already leaving you behind.

      December 14, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's. You bible spouters spend way too much time groveling on your knees kowtowing to your imaginary boss and not enough time learning basic writing skills.

      December 14, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Larry again

      A repost, since ma & pa reverred to it:

      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, bullsh!t.

      December 14, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  2. THE END IS NEAR! EVEN NEARER THAN THE NEAR IT WAS A THOUSAND YEARS AGO!!!

    You know, by the standards of Jesus' day, a rich man had a few more goats than most other people. Rich was nothing particularly extravagant, certainly not up to the level of affluence now enjoyed by even lower middle class Christians.

    So how do modern Christians deal with that? Do they just ignore the whole "eye of a needle" thing, pretend Jesus didn't say it and it doesn't apply to them, even though they swear Jesus is truth?

    December 14, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  3. LAST DAY

    End of Autumn Special

    Jesus Blood / Holy Water

    Your choice in 5oz/10oz decorative gold bottles

    50% OFF! (good thru 12/31/2012)
    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

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    December 14, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I will take the large blood, but do you have diet?

      December 14, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Starbloods

      One venti skinny plasma coming right up.

      December 14, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  4. Oliver Haddo

    100% of all people who breathe, die.
    Therefore, breathing is fatal.
    But....wait....so is NOT breathing....because if you do NOT breathe, you ALSO die!
    Therefore, breath must be the Angel of Death!
    But....wait....in many ancient languages, the words for "breath" and "spirit" are the same!
    So.....yer all devil worshippers!

    Pretty good imitation of thible bumper "logic", if I do say so myself.

    December 14, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. IslandAtheist

    This is the 21st century.... right?

    December 14, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Apparently not in much of the USA!

      December 14, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Apple Bush

      21st Century going on 4 ad

      December 14, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Akira

      Goody...when will the lion show begin?

      December 14, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • LLR

      Well, they say that Rome got it's most superst itious right before it fell too.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  6. chuckie

    Christians voting for a Mormon is truly a sign that the end is near. Beware false prophets.

    December 14, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      They are all false! Astrologers have as much credibility and success as any Babble prophet.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  7. DUMBAtheiStS

    @Oh Boy..I didn't say "No religion" I mentioned 'atheists' specifically.

    @Athy..it's VERY relevant in the contrary, eye witnesses and other circu.mstancial evidence could win a case in the court of law.

    @OG+++++

    He exists in our my 'hearts'. That's why I understand why you believe He doesn't exist. Inside your ribcages are hardened undigest foods.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      "He" only exists in your sick brain. Time for believers to shed their childish beliefs and grow up.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And you seriously believe you good prove your god exists in a court of law?!? You are delusional!

      December 14, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Akira

      You equate a heart with undigested food?
      Apparently you don't even know the fundamentals of the human body, which does explain a lot.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Hi Akira, how are you today? How has your week been going?

      December 14, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Akira

      Hey, Apple!
      I'm getting ready to get some sleep...long day.
      My week's going fine, but I'm glad tomorrow's Friday.
      How about you?

      December 14, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Doing good thanks, just helping the little one with homework. The Hobbit tomorrow!!

      December 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Akira

      I'm going to try very hard to see it.
      My time hasn't been my own lately.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Akira, read the book first!! Trust me.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  8. Oliver Haddo

    So all the thible bumpers are gonna be sucked up into the sky and leave the world for the rest of us?
    Cool!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • LLR

      Sucked up to be God's fuel for eternity, like a bunch of little potato batteries. :-)

      December 14, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  9. MAJORITY always WIN

    "must get over with the fact that they are (atheists) in the second-class minority."

    And THEY could NEVER win!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Akira

      There is no such thing as a second class citizen in this country; what an absolutely arrogant and pompous thing to say.
      You need to get over your conceited self.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • LLR

      Women are the actual majority in this world, but I doubt that most of them feel like "winners" all the time.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  10. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    And in related news....1 in 3 Americans are bat sh!t crazy.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  11. Stephanie

    Please, whatever, nothing will happen as far as " the world coming to an end". I guess you have never seen the stupid shows showing people paying thousands of dollars to exist underground. December 21, 2012 WILL NOT be DOOMSDAY for planet earth!!! You need to get your HEAD out of the toilet.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      You mean the silly show featuring silly American believers? Seen it, laugh at it and it makes me sad to see how stupid some (a majority?) of Americans have become. Perhaps you need to develop a wee sense of humor. . .

      December 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  12. 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 clearly and unmistakably thus foretold about it right here! (=John 6/27, 40)

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

    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    December 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Bullsh!t – you have problems in your sick delusional mentally ill head. . .

      December 13, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Oh Boy...

      Churches are just small mental hospitals...

      December 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  13. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Fucking Idiots – meaning delusional mentally ill believers, of course!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  14. behemothdog

    I do not think the world will end for biblical reasons, but yeah one day earth will go poof!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  15. behemothdog

    I I do not think the world will end for biblical reasons, but yeah one day something will make earth go poof!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  16. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    Well if the christians just keep predicting the end I guess eventually they will be right.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  17. retphxfire

    I'm not on the Lord's speed dial so I don't know if this year is the end, but I recently watched 'The Dust Bowl' on PBS; the YEARS of drought conditions and extreme weather in other sections of the country had many believing the end was near. When it happens I'm not sure how we will be 'notified'.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  18. Stephanie

    Ok, end if times with the weather yes, I myself believe it is close. However, to say December 21, 2012 is the end of time is quite foolish. Y2K seriously, everything should have ended then just saying. So, just because the Myan calendar runs out maybe there was nothing else to make any more calendars. Anyway, the Bible clearly states no HUMAN knows the return of Christ. My wedding anniversary of 15 years is December 21, 2012, nothing is going to happen!!!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Except Jesus predicted his own return 1900 years ago, your god failed.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Stephanie, by "nothing is going to happen" do you mean your husband is not finally going to get lucky?

      December 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Al

      "Stephanie, by "nothing is going to happen" do you mean your husband is not finally going to get lucky?"

      December 14, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  19. lol??

    Who were the people that decided to call their town, West Babylon, New York? Isn't that asking for it? "Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,...." I count twice fallen.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Akira

      Maybe the same people who named Intercourse, PA?

      December 14, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  20. DUMBAtheiStS

    Atheists have been fighting a losing battle, when will they learn and get it over?

    December 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      *get it over with?

      December 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Get what over with? And learn what?

      December 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Fighting what battle?
      Learn what?
      Elaborate, please.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      Battle against God and religion.

      They should learn that nothing in Science could thump faith and must get over with the fact that they are (atheists) in the second-class minority.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • atheists are immaterial, thus irrelevant.

      Therefore, they don't count.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      So where is your wimpy hasn't been seen in at least 2,000 years, if ever, god? You believe in something without a single bit of evidence. You are mentally ill, a liar or both.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Oh Boy...

      "No religion" is the fastest growing belief system in America... Atheists (along with logic and common sense) are winning.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Athy

      Science easily "thumps" faith. If I have to explain that to you, you'd never understand. And being a minority is irrelevant. Truth is not established by popular vote.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • MAJORITY always WIN

      OH BOY!!! THEY could NEVER win!

      December 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Akira

      Atheists aren't in any battle with religion and gods...they don't believe in religion and gods.
      Duh.

      December 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      @Oh Boy..I didn't say "No religion" I mentioned 'atheists' specifically.

      @Athy..it's VERY relevant in the contrary, eye witnesses and other circu.mstancial evidence could win a case in the court of law.

      @OG+++++

      He exists in our 'hearts'. That's why I understand why you believe He doesn't exist. Inside your ribcages are hardened undigest foods.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Bet

      Inside your ribcages are hardened undigest foods.

      I knew I shouldn't have eaten that fourth taco.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Athy

      Wow! Arguing with DUMBAtheiStS is like arguing with my dog. Except I think my dog's writing skills and logical thinking abilities are slightly better.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, DUMBAtheiStS: What are you doing here? You could be svcking off Jeebus in no time. Do you have a tall building where you live? Perhaps a sidearm? Come on, boy.....put the fvck up or shut the fvck up.....

      December 14, 2012 at 7:05 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.