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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
[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. Jim

    The fact that one-in-three Americans can ignore scientific eveidence and explanations is a sign of end times.

    December 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Waco Lover

    Republicans. What a bunch of fvcktards.

    December 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    rightwingers will drive their SUV to church and blame global warming disasters on "non-believers" because they don't worship god.

    December 16, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  4. Galaxy

    Our top scientists warn of global warming. Our right wing, goes all out to put out misinformation to confuse and distort.
    And they keep the fundies in line with saying, hey it's ok because it is God's will.

    Which is why religion will ultimately be what destroys us.

    December 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  5. jaysonrex

    End of times? You must be kidding. There is no end of times, biblical or not. It is all an illusion that might make people tranquile and less anxious with tomorrow. And with death.

    December 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Pete

      Why are there so many 'non religious' comments on this 'belief blog'? You must be searching for something....his name is Jesus Christ and He loves you and wants you to believe in Him.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Think Again

      Sorry to say this, but there will be an "end times". This is when the sun swells up and incinerates the Earth. I think we have a billion or so years to figure out what to do. Give that we went from riding horses to flying and then to the moon in 100 years, as long as the religious nuts don't create another dark ages, we will be fine.

      December 16, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  6. Tom

    We have a huge mental health problem in this country if the numbers are that high!

    December 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  7. Bird

    I just don't understand. In 300-400 AD when bible was in the making the Earth was the center of the Universe making humans superior etc etc made in the image of God. Other than Marco Rubio and the wing nuts who believe that the world is only 4000 years old, mainstream scientific world has given the earths age as 4.5 billion years. We realize that this earth is microscopic in the realm of the Great cosmos. Does God really care we do even exist? Can he even see us as we are so small. If I were God I would not waste time on this minuscule race of megalomaniacs.

    December 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    December 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  9. gary

    1 in 3 Americans are that insane / whacky? Religion is myth and folklore, nothing more.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  10. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:->>>>>

    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. No prophecies involved.

    December 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • lol??

      Repeat doctrines. Must be important to her.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  11. Bernard Webb

    The reason for the inevitable decline of America is clear from this article: too many religious nuts, too many right-wing extremists, TOO MANY INSANE REPUBLICANS.

    We can never move forward as long as we are saddled by today's awful conservative extremists. The ONLY saving grace is that so many of them are old white men that will be in Hades soon and unable to bedevil us any further.

    December 15, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • lol??

      So that's the rough spin of Socialist Doctrines? By the time you figure it out kid, it'll be too late for you. Say hello to your almighty "WE" deity for me.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • lol!!

      Somebody needs to look up the word 'socialist' because somebodt hasn't got a clue as to what it means and is applying it totally wrong. Jesus was socialist, you inept doofus.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  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 foretold about it right here! (=John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    So ETERNAL SALVATION is absolutely here now,
    for all those who seek it.

    December 15, 2012 at 4:26 am |
    • Ken

      Fail Whale to Last Day for that drivel. No dates in the prophecy and no evidence = no credence, as many others have said.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • professoreugene

      Last Day. Can you please explain how Jesus will resurrect people who have already been carried off to heaven?

      December 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      @professoreugene
      I can explain it 1 Thess 4:16"And the dead in Christ will rise first."which means the people who have gone on to heaven will come with Jesus to the clouds to meet there glorified bodies so in simple words there bodies will come out of the ground. Does that answer your question?

      December 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Hillary

    And 100% of CNN readers believe that the hurricane was caused by global warming, or global cooling, or just plain ole "climate change"

    December 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • lol??

      "Mat 16:3 And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times?"

      December 15, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • lol??

      NY was warned for decades but couldn't seem to get anything done for preparation because the Socialists were stealing all the moolah.

      December 15, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  14. jasonn13

    No offense folks but that's just nuts.

    December 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  15. christy

    Maybe God is telling us that we aren't taking care of the planet. It's easy to blame God for global warming.

    December 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      You realize this is even a story *because* it is lunacy to believe god is changing weather to punish humans?

      December 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • lol??

      Where are the greens when the wars are being fought?

      December 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • lol??

      The punishment comes later............"Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

      December 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      "Maybe God is telling us that we aren't taking care of the planet. It's easy to blame God for global warming."The first part I have a hard time agreeing with the last part ya it is easy to blame GOD but the devil is a big reason in the superstorms
      ex: Ephesians 2:2 – in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience

      December 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  16. Joel

    God is obviously speaking through the weather, as He often does. The question is, are we listening? Its all happening exactly as was foretold. Jesus said just as a woman in labor, the contractions (floods, famines, earthquakes, droughts, etc) would continue to increase in both frequency and instensity until the end (or new beginning). What can we do about it?Its not about man polluting the environment, no, no, no, that is not what is at the root of our problem. What is causing this is the pollution of our SINS! We must repent. The earth is groaning under the weight of human sin. Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and repent from your sins. Unless there is repentance, the contractions will continue to occur, more often and with more devestating results, and what was foretold from Enoch in Genesis to John in Revelation will come to pass.

    December 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      Your god talks through the weather? Why? Seems rather inefficient.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh, so god's an azzhole, then. Got it.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Safety of the North

      Joel says "The earth is groaning under the weight of human sin" (and, yes, many members of the Body of Christ consider earthquakes to be this "groaning" and, therefore, proof of their scriptures)...

      I remain amazed at how "human 'sin' " is far more powerful and influential than the Christian god...

      December 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      It was foretold? Like when the bible says god "foretold" Jesus would be named Immanuel? Either he foretold it or commanded it, but either way it didn't happen. Why?

      December 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Bob

      Joel, that would mean that your god is quite the vicious jerk. No thanks; you can keep your sky fairy fictions to yourself. Silently, next time, please.

      December 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Bernard Webb

      Amazing. You clearly believe this stuff with all your heart, yet you sound like a delusional, unhinged nut to me. What a gap.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • sam stone

      Joel: Your god is impotent

      December 15, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • christ_child1991

      @ Joel your right on the earth moaning and groaning Romans 8:22"For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now."and in Ephesians 2:2 it calls the devil the prince and power of the air which means the devil has something to do with the weather

      December 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  17. Enoch

    May be it's a wake-up call for those who're still defying to repent. Whether it's natural disaster or the school shooting in Connecticut, all of them could be a warning sign to the Western society which has become ignorant and decadent, and whose individuals suffer more and more under narcissistic disorder. By the way, the school is called "Sandy" Hook Elementary School. I won't call my daughter Sandy. R.I.P for all those innocent children, I know they're now in heaven!

    December 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You serve a god who is so disgusting as to use mass slaughter of innocent children to teach a lesson? Holy Sh1t!!!

      December 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      And Enoch proves my point.

      December 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Safety of the North

      One thing to always keep in mind about the mind of the Body of Christ....it's historical memory is convenient, short, and dictated by handlers as to its content (e.g. Fox and all their friends)....

      The events today are not unlike the events of yesterday and because they prefer the Alzheimer approach to history, they can't remember the monsters they created in the past that now come back to haunt them...

      It does, however, make for great "prophecy" fulfillment....

      December 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • End Religion

      speaking of disorders, enoch, you realize belief in imaginary creatures is insanity, right?

      December 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow......"they COULD be warning signs"

      well, the could NOT be warning signs,too

      December 15, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • professoreugene

      Sorry, Moby Schtick, I accidentally clicked on the abuse button instead of the reply button for Enoch
      Dear friends; Do not credit the deaths of the Newtown twenty to the removal of God from the schools of the United States. While the two events are related, they are distinctly NOT down to the U.S government. These two acts were perpetrated by the most evil mind in the universe. That of Satan the Devil. This is serious. Every sick act perpetrated since Noah came out of the ark has been down to this one character.
      The reason he is doing this is discussed in Revelation/Apocalypse chapter 12. Since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, the Devil has been cast out of heaven down to the earth. His aim now is to distract you and stop YOU from hearing the preaching of the good news of God's Kingdom. If you don't hear that message and respond to it, you wind up losing out on paradise life in God's New World. (Matt. 24:14) Remember it must be about "God's kingdom," NOT about opening your heart and letting Jesus in, or having a "spiritual experience," or finding God, or Jesus. Only one religious group on earth talks about the Kingdom, so they shouldn't be hard to find, and may even find you. As a matter of fact it's about the only religious organization that won't ask you for money. [That's one of the things that attracted me.]

      December 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Blessed are the Cheese makers

    The "cranks" don't blame weather and random violence on those they don't agree with.

    December 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. ???????????

    Earth timeline
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/earth_timeline

    December 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  20. { ! }

    CNN, why do you bother keeping a Faith blog? Do you ever read the comments? Most bloggers here pay miniscule attention to the content of your articles, then promply lapse into the usual sarcasm, spleen, blame, namecalling, etc. And, lets face it, most of this is by people who deem themselves masters of reason (the atheists) who are completely obsessed against Someone who they insist doesn't exist. Nevertheless, CNN, you should keep this page. THe streets are mean enough without such cranks having the Faith blog taken away from them.

    December 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Safety of the North

      Yes, that desperate need to be in control of all things...makes you so angry that these evil atheists won't comply with your rules of the Belief Blog....

      I'm sorry that your world is such a terrifying place...sad, in the supposed light of your scriptures that claims to bring a peace that "passeth all understanding" and where "perfect love casts out fear"....

      December 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • lol??

      Think of it as a safety valve on a boiler.

      December 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Akira

      How is this:
      That one ouyt odf three people believe it is the biblical "end times" is patently ridiculous, whether one belives in God or not.
      Not to mention that CNN doesn't maintain these blogs; WordPress does.

      December 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Athy

      Atheists are not evil. What makes you say such a thing? Is it because we don't believe in your mythical bullshit? Are you beginning to doubt it yourselves and that's making you uncomfortable?

      December 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • { ! }

      @Athy Of course atheists aren't evil. Evil is an abstract. In the atheist "mind" we are merely evolved biochemical machines. Machines don't deal in abstracts. If atheists had a little more courage, they could look their own ideas in the face. Namely, that evil is no more than a form of self preservation, by a species or individual. Atheists cannot face this, so they look for something to blame. Religion is always convenient.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Safety of the North

      @ {!}...

      one need only replace "athiest" with Christian (or the preferred "Evangelical") in your response and change little else and the paragraph is valid.

      Why don't atheists "deal" in abstracts? As you blame the atheist for not understanding you, you, clearly, have no understanding of them.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Huebert

      @ { ! }

      Evil, is not an act of self preservation. Evil is a social construct. In our society, wantonly malicious acts are generally regarded as evil, especially when there is no logical motivation for such behavior, like the Connecticut school shooting, or the Colorado movie theater shooting. Self preservation was not an element in either of these incidents.

      December 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bernard Webb

      Jeez, what an intensely dumb comment. We are not "completely obsessed against Someone who they insist doesn't exist". We are completely horrified by people like you who buy into insane myths and fairy tales, then use them to justify hatred, bigotry, and war.

      December 15, 2012 at 7:41 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.