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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

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. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !............that is sad for the nation !!!

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!..........

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!

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    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

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    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

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    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

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    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

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    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

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    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

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    Make sure to read comments

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    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

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    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

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    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420


    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

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    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

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    Education works for children

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    February 16, 2013 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |


    May 5, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  2. Philip

    80% of Americans are uneducated.... so it doesn't matter.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  3. stevep44

    "a large majority of white evangelical Protestants (65%) say the storms are proof of “end times.” Now that is a shocking piece of information.... who would have guessed? WWFSMD?

    December 20, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  4. Klaus Mager

    Is that truly the best CNN can do to report on climate change? How long do you expect to stay in business?

    December 19, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  5. christ_child1991

    Its amazing how all these atheists and non-believers call us Christians uneducated well I am a firm believer and I stand on the word of GOD called the bible and I am currently working on getting a B.S. degree in Meteorology so quit calling all of us believers uneducated got it great. Have A Blessed Day John 3:16-17

    December 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • AlexVonOrm

      wake up and use your cars less. Walk or cycle instead of talking nonsense

      December 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Denitza Fisher

    Typo-on a word meant to say- uneducated-doesn't mean I am stupid-just spelling error- those who say there is no God-now that is foolishness beyond spelling errors. I am not angry-at anyone just angry about the rejection of God in our culture-and we wonder why we are killing eachother in schools and other public places?

    December 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Maya

      Prove it.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm |

    Yes, 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),

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


    December 17, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • End Religion

      2000+ years of "end times" - that's some party you nutters are throwing for a dude that never existed.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Denitza Fisher

      You know for all you folks that say God/Jesus doesn't exist, wait til he comes and you stand before his throne as the Bible prophecies and you are in shock and awe when you see him-don't blame us that we didn't try to tell you the truth.

      Besides-how do you God rejecting folks cope in the face of death and tragedy? What hope do have? So quit knocking down faith-you sound foolish.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Maya


      December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Brian

      You wanna know how we "without God" cope in the face of death and tragedy? We tough through it. I don't need some imaginary friend telling me everything is gonna be alright because the dead are in some mystical paradise. I'm not stupid, I know that's false. When someone is dead and gone, they're just that. I have the memories and I'll always keep them. I'll mourn, I'll be sad, I'll get over it, I'll get on with my life the way they would have wanted me to.
      In the face of tragedy? If I can I help out and try to make lives better. If I'm a victim, again, I tough through it. If you need God's help, you're weak.

      December 22, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  8. sdf

    What's that? 36% of us are drooling maniacs? God, that's embarrassing.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  9. Dan

    Jesus makes it clear that we must be spiritually "born again" if we want to go to heaven (John 3:3). No exceptions. What does that mean? Well, first we must acknowledge that our sins have separated us from a holy and righteous God who will not allow sin to enter heaven. Then we must be willing to repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.

    When we believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins, that He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and that He rose from the grave on the third day, then He forgives us of all sin and writes our name in His book of life. You must have your name written in the Lamb's book of life, or else you will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (see Revelation 20:11-15). Again, no exceptions.

    Finally, salvation is a free gift that you must receive by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    God bless you 🙂

    December 17, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • sdf

      Is there a word for that sound you make when you place your index finger long-ways between your lips and move it up and down while making an 'oo' sound, indicating someone is crazy?

      December 17, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Noodly Guy

      Have you not ever wondered why your god trades you eternal life in exchange for believing without thinking?

      December 18, 2012 at 3:38 am |

    People choose to believe things that are ridiculous without any real evidence to support it.

    Christianity, although losing its ground finally, is still strong among the under-educated and the people that just flat out don't want to be educated.

    These are the same people that ask the most stupid question of all time..........

    "If we evolved from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?"

    Once we all hear that question, we lose all will to even try to help these people.

    You have to start from the very beginning of basic science and move through a vast amount of information, as well as needing visual aids for these people because most of our words will be too confusing for them.

    I do not wish harm to any person, but I must admit that my natural reactions to these people's ignorance is growing stronger everyday. I cannot deal with their blatant disregard for truth, and wanting to accept the easiest possible answers for everything.

    December 17, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Electric Larry

      Cool name font. How did you do that? Cut-and-paste from somewhere?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Denitza Fisher

      FYI I am an educated person-in fact I graduated college with high academic honors-so don't think that faith is for the uneduacted. The more atheists speak the more foolish they sound.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Noodly Guy

      God is a fiction for the ignorant.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • Religious independant

      I am an evolutionist as well but I like faiths, it's something I ponder. I don't think a negative opinion is better than a positive opinion. Both are just discussions on the nature and type of diety and if a diety of any sort exist. It's all just opinion and philosophy in my eyes. However yes I understand why you would be frustrated at philosophy getting in the way of science. But as you said, I don't think frustration in that regard should translate into harm to others.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:04 am |
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About this blog

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.