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. 78% of Americans are deluded & believe in Angels

    This only proves how INSANE most Americans are.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Honey Badger Dont Care

    If Jesus died for our sins but came back to life, doesn't that break the deal? Hmmm......

    December 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      It is crucifiction not crucifixion, hindu ignorant. What do you expect?

      December 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      No that does not break the deal that solidified the deal because he had to rise so he could come back to receive his people unto his-self

      December 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  3. humanistJohn420

    This kind of depressing news doesn't even shock me anymore. Most of the world recognizes that many Americans are complete fools.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • ?

      John, I bet you are the best apple polisher that the school system has ever seen.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Heh

      @? = guess who...?!

      December 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  4. Akira

    This also shows that there were 1018 people who either don't have caller ID or are stupid enough to answer telephone surveys.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      if Gallup, Pew or PRRI called me, I'd answer.

      Gallup did call me during the election cycle, but I wasn't home.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • ME II

      It's not in the same class but I've heard the same about jury duty, which in my mind completely bogus. I take jury duty as a civic responsibility and serve when called, if at all possible. Likewise, I would gladly respond to a respectable polling organization.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  5. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    trick of hind dark ages, played by followers of hinduism denier of truth absolute to hind scare the hind hell out of weak minded in to gentile ism, slavery in hinduism, racism, followed by hindu criminal preachers of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christianity to speak of some thing no one has knowledge of, By son of blessed Mary, not hindu fabrication called Jesus, end day will happen, when no one will have a clue of it. hindu sanatans, filthy goons of hindu Mithra ism, savior ism, Christianity will do any thing to hind, fool humanity or any way they can hind, fool humanity, because it is good for business.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

      You're insane for believing in horse manure.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Isoquita


      December 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • ?

      Bull doesn't know how to read scriptures. Big surprise? No!

      December 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      hinduism, misunderstanding, I do not believe in you.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  6. What a load .......

    It is just SAD! Rational thought doesn't come from the Bible! Science is the one true god.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      No need to be a hindu, ignorant, Science is not the initiator nor the destination, but a medium to learn constant, truth absolute of a matter, nothing more nothing less. please think before spewing your hinduism absurdities about truth absolute GOD.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  7. Honey Badger Dont Care

    When you die you become closer to god, because you no longer exist. Hmmm........

    December 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • sam

      Now I've got that NIN song stuck in my head.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Akira

      Thanks a lot. So do I.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Garnet69

      Or my favorite verse "I want to feel you from the inside"

      December 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  8. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Nah, can't be global warming – it has to be the hand of God!

    Is this surprising. If almost one in two believe that God created humans in their present form <10,000 years ago, the idea that one in three interpret weather as a sign of the end-times is unsurprising.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • MathProf

      Sad indeed-

      I taught "math" for 38 years (CC). Our illiteracy rate might be approx. 30%, but our innumeracy rate is somewhere north of 90%. I cringe when I hear the words "millions" and "billions" on the tube. I know that the vast majority of us have no concept of what these numbers really are. Could be one reason why we seem to vote against our own self interest so often. Just sayin'.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  9. Primewonk

    Wait! For years it has been the religious nutters who have been at the forefront of the denier movement. And now these nutters are claiming that Climate Change is real, and it means Jebus is coming again?

    How the hell does that happen?

    December 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      These people are are highly practiced cognitive contortionist.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • ?

      Another fool that doesn't know how to read the farmers' almanac.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Thanks to Jennifer McCreight's "Boobquake" experiment in 2010, we at least know that God has no problem with bare ti/tties.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Primewonk

      As much a I love Jen, I don't think her experiment went far enough. There should have been ten million women distributed across the country who "shook" in syncrony. They should have bounced in sync. Yes it would have taken a small army of volunteers to get all these women shimmy'ing together, but I bet we could have found volunteers to do it.

      I doubt it would have triggered an earthquake, but I bet it would have resulted in millions of small scale explosions isolated to adolescent males.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  11. Reality

    What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

    1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

    2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

    3. One wayward rock/comet and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

    4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

    5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

    6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

    7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

    Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

    December 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • ?

      Reality, our tax dollars pay for this nonsense.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Reality

      No but our dollars to give our kids a good education do.

      December 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  12. Mohammad A Dar

    That makes sense, more than a third of Americans are high school drop outs.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  13. Reality

    Au contraire !!!

    Weather records which have been kept since the late 1800's show that similar storms have hit Pennslyvania and New Jersety 40 times since 1880. The problem recently is that more people live near or on beaches and therefore damages to homes and property are much more extensive. Bottom line: Don't live on or near a beach !!!! (If you do, don't expect the USA taxpayers to bail you out.)

    December 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • ?

      Let me guess, you never sent a dime to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • sam

      @ ?

      Let me guess...you make generalizations based on nothing?

      December 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Yes, there are lots of hurricanes on the eastern seaboard, going back to colonial times.

      look at this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_York_hurricanes

      Look at the 'deadliest storms' list near the bottom and sort by year.

      There is an increase in the frequency of 'death by hurricane' since the second half of the 20th century. This could be due to increased populations, but it could also be an indicator.

      What is clear is temperature – which is what global "warming" measures. It was 72F in Chicago on December 3. It was 61F in Toronto on December 4. This is certainly a change from 'normal'. Toronto won't have a white Christmas.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • ME II

      @I'm not a GOPer...
      Not that I disagree with your point nor deny global warming, but the record high for Toronto in December was apparently 67 F on Dec. 3rd 1982.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Right now, it's a balmy 45F in Toronto.
      There have been many Christmases without snow since I moved here 10 years ago.
      My partner is a born and raised Torontonian who isn't surprised when there's a green xmas.
      When I lived in Borden, just a little bit north of Toronto, there was lotsa snow at Xmas – and there still is.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • ?

      Let me guess Sam, you're just another dummy handle for Reality that needs to back him up. You are a joke, no matter what handle you use.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Where is that $60 billion Obama has requested for victims of Sandy coming from? The USA taxpayer i.e. me and you so yes I am making my contribution although tis the insurance companies who should be paying most of the tab. And then there are the power company electric rates which will increasing because of the beach, near beach dwellers power restoration costs. And who will be paying these increased rates? Me and you so again I am contributing.

      December 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”
    – Matthew 24:34

    The biblical definition of a generation can be found in Psalm 90.
    "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
    26 Psalms 90:10
    This is confirmed in the Gospel of Matthew.
    "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
    – Matthew 1:17
    Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological story.
    Even we we put aside that argument, there is further scripture indicating that the Second Coming was expected shortly after Christ's zombification.
    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
    —1 John 2:18
    Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
    Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
    George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
    William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
    Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
    Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
    Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
    Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
    Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
    Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
    Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
    Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

    Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

    It would appear that the much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Reality

      Amen to that!!!

      December 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • The Truth

      Your knee will be the first to bow...

      December 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @The Truth
      The day that I see a 7 headed dragon spewing torrents of water and eating pregnant women, or a swarm of crown and armour wearing locusts with the face of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tail of a scorpion swoops across the plains as is prophesied in Revelation, I'll bow down and beg Jesus for fogiveness.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Pete

      The Truth, if I ever meet your god he will have to chop off my leg to keep me from kicking his a$$.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Doc Vestibule,
      I agree with your sentiment and it's not likely to happen in our lifetimes, but with enough genetic engineering a lot of that might be possible.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care


      Unless you're on peyote when you see that vision.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Honey Badger
      If I'm out in the desert chewing on peyote buttons, anything that gives water is my friend – even a 7 headed dragon.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • sixin

      Doc Vestibule, imagine you lived back in that time and could see into the future, today. How would you describe the unimaginable? Like a helicopter, a rocket, bombs and explosions, tanks and jets, etc etc..

      December 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  15. Lou

    One in three is similar to the number of Americans who still believe Obama is a Muslim, that he wasn't born in the USA, that the moon landings were all faked, that ghosts are real, that dinosaurs lived alongside humans, that environmentalists intentionally caused the Gulf oil spill, that aliens are definitely real and have visited the Earth recently, and that Fox News is the most trustworthy news channel.

    A pretty big percentage believe in most or even all of these things together.

    In the great big cutlery drawer that is America not everything is very sharp.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  16. sheetiron

    Now, before everyone starts saying that one in three US adults are stupid, idiots, retarded, or whatever derogatory term you choose, think about how much of an arrogant and self righteous assertion that is.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • sam

      1) Too late
      2) It's not arrogant to think it's ridiculous when someone thinks a storm is a god'a way of punishing us for..."something." The something always ends up being something the believer doesn't like, like those pesky gays or liberal media or what have you.

      It's creepy.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Chuckles

      .... Arrogant and self-righteous as.sertion? Saying that people who would rather beleive that more intense weather patterns are a result of the end times rather than global warming and somehow to call these people idiots is arrogant?

      That's the issue here, it's something fox, people on this blog and many others have been doing, trying to equivocate their beliefs with those of facts and then to call the person saying these facts as arrogant because apparently knowing facts is an arrogant thing to do. It would be a terrifying thing to get all the answers right on a test lest someone think I'm arrogant for knowing answers!

      December 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I'm sorry, but if you do believe this crap, you are stupid and an idiot. Just like the 46% of the public who thinks a "god' created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • ME II

      A belief that the end of the world is near does not necessarily rule out acceptance of global warming, however.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  17. sam

    One in three Americans: scientifically illiterate Chicken Littles.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  18. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Survey of one (me): one in three Americans are fvcking stupid.

    December 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Pete

      It is probably more than that you forget about the people who are so stupid they couldn't even respond to the survey.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  19. Huebert

    I've never understood these end times believers. Do they not understand that people have been predicting the "end times" for thousands of years? How many times does the world have to not end before they get the message?

    December 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • sam

      They're like folks with gambling addictions. The next one could be THE ONE!

      December 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  20. Primewonk

    Research shows that one in three US adults are fucking ignorant religious nutters.

    December 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I see you beat me to it. Well played.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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.