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
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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)

    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 him here! (=John 6/27, 40)


    December 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      From book of hindu Mithra sim, pagan savior ism called Bible, main actor hindu fabrication Jesus never existed.

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

      Last Day

      So when will the rapture start?

      December 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • James

      1 in 3 is a Republican !

      GOP takes their vote in the name of GOD and leaves them at His mercy too ! Look at Red states in the south and you will not be surprised why after 2 + centuries they seem to be like not in the USA...

      December 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Sue

      LAST DAY, that's baloney. There is zero valid prophecy in the bible. Anyone can predict all kinds of things, and enough stuff happens over time that something resembling their prediction will eventually happen. Present prophecies with exact dates in them on which the event was predicted to happen, and then show that the event happened on that date, or else just stow your steaming bullshit and shove off. K. Thanks.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Cplf22

    1in 3 people are idiots.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jesus6_0


      December 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  3. Apple Bush

    I just wish that I could be around in a few million years to see what kind of life forms have evolved and what creatures are dominant after humans are gone.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Chris

      It'll be Keith Richards, that's it.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  4. BibleScholar

    The Book of Revelations was a prophecy about the end of the Roman Empire...which has already happened, folks! Many among us who know little about the history of Christianity and the beliefs and practices of the early Church continue to cling to the prophecy as some sort of future event, but it has actually been over with for a long time.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Sue

      Baloney. There is zero valid prophecy in the bible. Anyone can predict all kinds of things, and enough stuff happens over time that something resembling their prediction will eventually happen. Present prophecies with exact dates in them on which the event was predicted to happen, and then show that the event happened on that date, or else just stow your steaming bullshit and shove off. K. Thanks.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  5. Huebert

    In other news; approximately one third of Americans have an an IQ lower than one standard deviation below the mean.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • ah6912

      1 standard deviation would account for 16% of the population. How do we explain the other 20%? People of average intelligence.........we are doomed.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  6. Johnny 5

    1 in 3 Americans are dunces. Make that 2 in 3 Americans when it comes to science literacy.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  7. That Guy

    Want to do your part in the combat against global warming? Leave your doors and windows open with the air conditioner set to the coldest temp.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Walk, bike, skateboard, whatever it takes to avoid driving your car...eat more local produce-use less prepackaged foods...use more paper and less plastic. There are numerous ways to cut back before we foolishly kill ourselves off.
      Within our life time we stand a chance of seeing food, water, oil and fish run out. (http://www.gizmag.com/four-crucial-resources-running-out/12630/)

      December 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  8. David Ellis

    Every generation sees the world as coming to an end, going to the beginning of time. They are right in the sense that the world will always change and evolve, and you must adapt or perish.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  9. MDATB

    It is climate change.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  10. OccupyEverything

    That's great, it starts with an earthquake
    Birds and snakes,
    an aeroplane,
    and Lenny Bruce is not afraid
    Eye of a hurricane
    listen to yourself churn

    Come everyone sing it with me.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • sdfsdf

      its the end of th world as we know it!

      December 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  11. GaryB

    OK, that explains why the Republicans deny global warming. They really believe in global warming, but they want to hasten the end times so they pretend to not believe in global warming. It's brilliant.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • OccupyEverything

      Global Warming and the End Times are both a bunch of hooey.

      Just proves that both sides are easily swayed by apocalyptic BS.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • MDATB

      It is not a lie.At least global warming isn't.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • OccupyEverything

      @MDATB ManBearPig is real guys. I am super cereal about that. SUPER CEREAL!!

      December 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  12. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Whta if you have tons of stones that magnets stick too that are older than the bible???

    December 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  13. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Believing you will witness the endtimes is unbelievably narcissistic. Every generation that has ever lived has thought they were the end. Still waiting...

    December 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  14. Barry G.

    The end will come "like a thief in the night", said Jesus.

    That means, no warnings. Be ready always!

    December 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • John Summers

      Good vs Evil doesnt necessarily mean.. the right wing devout christians vs everyone else...

      There are good people that are not religious. If you ask me.. many of the christians that I know fall into the "Evil" category. They persecute anyone that isn't like them and doesn't agree with them. Ask the african american population about southern christian values when they were enslaved. Ask the gay community about the so called devout christians and their religious war against them.. That being said. All Christians are not bad. It is the extreme elements of Christianity, just like the extreme elements of the Muslim faith are causing issues around the world. If you ask me.. People should be spiritual. Not religious. Religion in itself is "evil" if you ask me. People should treat others how they wish to be treated. Doesnt matter whether they are black, white, blue, american, russian, hindu, christian, well.. you get the picture.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Sly

      What, that Jesus thief is coming at night?

      Why, is he too afraid to show his scraggly long haired stoned hippie look? The wimp is probably afraid some right wing Christian will beat the s-ht out of Him for being all high and running around with holes in His hands and feet.

      Man, it's one thing to have a God, but one that robs you at night when you're all asleep? I'm changing parties over to Allah – He seems nicer and won't rob you.

      December 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  15. Karl

    Religion, the hijacked form cluttering minds of white evangelical protestants, is not only the opiate of those masses; it functions as a lobotomy completely destroying the ability to think clearly and reason logically.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  16. jj

    In other words, one in three people are idi0ts.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Christians: We're Stupid, and We Vote!

    Jesus is coming to slaughter everyone in his infinite love!! Then most go to his eternal torture camp, because he loves them!

    The end is near! The end is near!

    December 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Sane Person

    1 in 3 Americans are delusional idiots

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

      Saved vs LOST. Difficult choice. Not!

      December 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • sixin

      The odds aren't looking good for you.

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

      @? – so you agree that the one out of three that's this insane are definitely fundies?

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

      "Saved vs LOST. Difficult choice. Not!"

      I trust that your are keeping up with your 5 pillars, then, right?

      December 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  19. Anon Ymous

    Every time I look for a reason to argue with atheists that religious people should be tolerated ... those religious people find a way to make any arguments I try to make silly.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  20. ThirdPartyObserver

    So much love coming from the "atheist" community today. Is that how you teach your fellow man? First call them f'ing stupid, and then show them the facts? Very nice. I must say you represent the atheist community very poorly. But your success cannot go without applause thanks to your fellow instigator, CNN.

    December 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Mirror Mirror

      You are right. We should treat Christians like they spent centuries doing to atheists, heretics, and other non-conformists: torture, execution, and repression.

      Very funny thinking that theists are the problem.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      We can show you facts first, and THEN call you stupid. Order isn't important. Either way works for me.

      As for "teaching people," the 33% in question are beyond teaching. Mockery is the order of the day.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "First call them f'ing stupid, and then show them the facts?"

      So your objection is to the politeness of the ordering, and not the accuracy?

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

      We've tried showing you folks the facts and explaning things to you folks. I used be a lot more to leant and nice. But it became apparent over the years that you folks had no intention of learning anything. In fact, on board after board, thread after thread, forum after forum, a fundiot nutter would post a question, ignore the answer, and then damn us to hell. And then this exact same poster would show up on the next story and ask the exact same question.

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

      You forgot to add "God is coming and you all sure will be sorry!!"

      December 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • More Common Sense

      Mirror Mirror, name one... Cause I can name thousands of Chistians thru the years.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • ?

      Sean, what facts? Talk about being duped.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • sixin

      As it occurred to you that believers have not asked for you to teach them what you believe to be facts? It's hypocritical from your viewpoint, you should know that.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @?: One word...Venus. When you understand why the planet Venus is the way it is, then you'll understand why anthropogenic climate change is far far more likely than the existence of your god. I'll admit up front that I don't have high hopes for you.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @sixin: So you won't mind if we don't consult you on anything having to do with, well...anything. If you don't want to deal with reality, you're well within your rights to do so; just don't expect the rest of us to take you seriously.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ?

      Sean, you are a liar. It has nothing to do with Venus. It has to do with the winter winter solstice coming up on December 21st.

      The North Pole is tilted the furthest from the sun, causing the season changes throughout the hemisphere. This cycle of all the major circles crossing and coming to the crux of the matter hasn't happened in 25,800 years.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:15 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.