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. Rev Charlatan

    I have a limited number of front row seats available for the End OF The World. They can be yours for the amazingly low price of $10,000 per ticket. Believers, YOU can be among the first to witness the Second Coming. Included with every purchase, is a First Class ticket for the Rapture Bus to transport you to the Rapture Site and a personally autographed 8×10 glossy of the Saviour. But wait, If you mail me the money within the next 24 hours, I'll double the number of tickets!!! That's right TWO tickets for the price of one!!! This is a limited time offer (as I change my address frequently), so act now. Just send your money (CASH ONLY) to:

    Reverend Charlatan
    PO Box 666
    George Town
    Cayman Islands


    December 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Linsey Lohan

      I sent in my check weeks ago, when will i get my confirmation and free booze

      December 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Rev Charlatan

      Ms. Lohan, I'm very sorry about the delay. We accept CASH ONLY. Obviously, you've been violating your conditions of parole with alcohol and drugs (the tools of SATAN), so your mind may be a little foggy and you failed to read the conditions of sale. I believe, however, we can rectify the situation with some "personal" counseling, if you know what I mean. I can cast out all of your demons for a very nominal fee. I'll lay you down and put the fear of GOD into you and you'll feel so much better and you'll be back making terrible movies before you know it.

      Yours Truly,
      Reverend Charlatan

      December 14, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  2. Pander Bear

    36% of Americans believed that George W. Bush was a good President. 36% of Americans believe Jesus rode a Dinosaur. 36% of Americans think that Bigfoot is real. 36% of Americans are completely $#@%ing stupid.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      This comment deserves a Venn diagram.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, Bigfoot may be real!

      December 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Actually, Bigfoot may be real!"
      The odds that Bigfoot is real are far greater than that G.W. Bush was a good President.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Who told you my shoe size?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  3. Rational Libertarian

    Or one in three Americans is retarded.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Martha


      December 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Jim

      Why don't the "paid off" pollsters take another poll. Find out how many people know what the HARP project in Alaska is all about. And, for that matter why doesn't every person responding to this, also look at it. Google it, Youtube it whatever. That's where your crazy weather is coming from. The US gov't.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Boon

      That is putting it kindly. The moronic drivel that you read on these sites is truly scary and does make one fear for this country. The sad part is that it seems to be getting worse since I don't believe that the schools teach anything remotely close to critical thinking or thinking at all for that matter. Not a good sign for USA, USA, etc..

      December 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Don't let Sarah Pain-lin hear you use the word retard.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

    Yes, the End Times is near,

    and yes, the Son of Man has already come in the beginning of this LAST DAY/MILLENNIUM now,

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


    December 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Pirate65

      Silence. You're annoying me with your religious drivel.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Yes I am here my son.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  5. CNN Death Watch Poll

    What would you do if you knew this was your last day on Earth?

    December 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Lawrence

      I'll tell you what I'd do, man: two chicks at the same time, man.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      You know what I'd do? Nothing.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Athy

      Get totally drunk. No need to worry about a hangover the next day!

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Bang a tranny.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Bet

      Office Space reference F.T.W.!

      December 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  6. Bob

    Extreme weather is biblical end times and not global warming, huh? Frightening that so many people could be so ignorant. It will be our downfall as a society and a country.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Martha

      It's no wonder we're thought of so poorly in the international community...ugh....

      December 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  7. nonreligious believer

    Why can't an atheist think it's possible the world could end? Honestly, with all the stuff we've done to this planet, I think there'd have to be a god for us to be saved.
    Why does someone have to be a christian to believe the weather is a sign we screwed up the world, and we've reached a point where there's no turning back?

    December 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Speak for your self hindu pagan Christian.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • the AnViL

      "Why can't an atheist think it's possible the world could end? Honestly, with all the stuff we've done to this planet, I think there'd have to be a god for us to be saved."

      because: science

      December 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The "world" could care less if humans are on it or not. We wil be gone soon enough and changes to the Earth will continue until our dying star gobbles up this little rock.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • nonreligious believer

      So you're saying science says the world can never end?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • nonreligious believer

      that was directed at the anvil

      December 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • the AnViL

      sure – the world will end – in a few billion years when the sun blows up.

      there's no gods.


      December 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Because no climate scientist thinks that global climate change is going to cause humanity to be wiped out, much less the world to end. Even when the earth has been struck by cataclysmic events much greater than global climate change, the destruction of some species let others thrive and radiate.

      Secondly, there are several plausible technological means for counteracting the high carbon concentration in the atmosphere that could reverse the recent climate change or maintain a status quo.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  8. The truth shall set us free...

    19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

    22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell,[c] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
    25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

    27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    December 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • the AnViL

      this is what mentally ill people do when they hate free speech. they spam the forum with trash.

      xians are delusional and should be culled.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Pirate65

      Why is it that people like you believe in angels and demons, even though there is no concrete evidence of either, yet you deny global warming when there is obvious concrete evidence of that?! Go babble somewhere else. It bores me.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • The truth shall set us free...

      Who said I don't believe in global warming? Do you always put words in other people's mouth?

      Obviously polluting the earth has resulted in global warming. In my lifetime alone, we went from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom to where the hell did the wild kingdom go?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Just another cheep, flimsy excuse

      Used by christians in a futile attempt to explain why there is no evidence of god

      December 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  9. the AnViL

    all americans who profess a belief in imaginary men in the sky should be prohibited from voting, holding public office, purchasing/owning firearms, and teaching public school.

    tolerance of religious idiocy has to end – and it will.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • JM

      Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Eisenhower, FDR....

      December 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Pretty sure Obama is faking it.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Pretty sure Obama is faking it."
      He won't have to worry about running for any other office ever again. I'm hoping he announces that he's been faking it.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  10. JM

    15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
    16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

    18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

    19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

    20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

    21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
    22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

    23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’

    December 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      What are you talking about, word god is short of word GOWD, belly, god of hindu's, ignorant s, fathers of hindu Mithraism, savior ism labeled as Christianity.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • JM

      If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
      – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

      December 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  11. mark

    This is one of the many reasons why we're made fun of around the world.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  12. Swell_swell

    Would someone please explain to me what is "predicated" in the book of Revelations? I always thought that the book of Revelations was believed to predict things and that predicates were parts of sentences (or conditions that must be met for successful outcomes).

    December 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • rock woman

      Try a dictionary, or Google the word. Consider it a learning experience.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  13. God Bless Us, One and All

    "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." -Isaiah 9:6-7

    December 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Akira

      And that makes for a lovely song to sing, too, as part of Handel's 'Messiah'.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Hallelujah

      Yep. There's a reason he wrote it and there's a reason the queen (and everyone else) still stands when the Hallelujah chorus is sung.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Athy

      What is that reason? Do you really know how that got started?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • JM

      According to the musicologist Donald Burrows, much of the text is so allusive as to be largely incomprehensible to those ignorant of the biblical accounts.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Can I play bible quotes too?

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      December 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      People stand because it's traditional to do so. It's a great piece of music. That doesn't mean god exists.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Here:In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of the performance. Tradition has it that on first hearing the chorus, King George II was so moved that he rose to his feet. As is true today, when the King stands, so do all subjects also rise; thus engendering the tradition. However, modern scholarship holds its origins in doubt: the King may not have even been present at the premiere.

      Occasionally, people unfamiliar with the work have been known to leave after this movement, assuming this to be the end of the oratorio when this is, as noted above, merely the conclusion of the second of the three parts.

      It is also interesting to note that here, again, is seen a common ti tling mistake. The name of the chorus is Hallelujah, not "The Hallelujah Chorus". The word "chorus" simply refers to the type of movement and is not part of the ti tle. It is not incorrect to refer to it as "the Hallelujah chorus"; it is, however, incorrect to t itle it as such.

      December 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  14. Salero21

    Biblical signs about anything and everything are anywhere and everywhere all over again and again. Is not that a Wonderful thing? I mean, if Jesus is coming back to put an end to a corrupt, pervert and unjust world, I think that is as Wonderful, as having created a world that was very good to begin with. That is part, a big part of what the Good News of the Gospel of Christ is. They are an intrinsic part of the Good News.

    Now; What is Good News for us and to us, by its own and on its own merits, are and must be bad, very, very bad news for those who are and have been intrinsically a part of that same corrupt, pervert and unjust world.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Religion, and especially Christianity and Islam, is the primary perpetrator of corruption, perversion, and injustice.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, the good news is that nobody I know, including myself, is perverted, corrupt, or unjust, so I guess we're safe.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      No, he will not, why. because he never existed.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is "intrinsically" on your "Word a Day" calendar today?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Pirate65

      I agree with HitchSlap.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • peridot2

      No, HitchSlap, it's people who do the bad stuff in the NAME of religion.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Left to their own, good people will do good, and evil people will do evil. To get good people to do evil takes religion.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Salero21

      Just like I said! 🙂

      What is Good News for us believers in Jesus is very, very bad news for evildoers.:-( It has to be like that, because that is intrinsically intrinsic to the Good News of the Gospel. That's the way it is by its very nature, by and on its own merits.

      At the end we win!

      If we win, then that’s very, very bad news for ALL of those who will lose. There is ONLY ONE WAY to win at the end, take your side with the Winner of ALL, the Lord of All; Jesus the Christ and THE WAY.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Are you taking lessons from fred and Chad? Just post moronic assertions as fact, with absolutely no evidence to back it up. I'm sure the more you say it, the more you convince yourself that it's relevant.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How is something "intrinsically intrinsic"?

      December 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      He probably thinks it makes him look smart.

      December 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  15. Rob

    Religious zealots and their archaic beliefs...Ridiculous

    December 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Atheist extremists and their tyrannical beliefs

      December 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Ken Margo


      "Atheist extremists and their tyrannical beliefs" How are Atheists like that?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      Aleprechaunist extremists and their tyrannical nonbelief in leprechauns.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      LL, what are atheists trying to force you to do?

      December 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Martha

      I'd rather have a good blaster at my side...damned ancient religions! 😀

      December 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  16. Ohioman5576

    In other news...... 1 in 3 Americans are insane and gullible.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  17. Bob Knippel

    Apparently, 1 in three Americans is an imbecile. CNN ought to get "news" about religious beliefs out of the public domain. Religion is as credible as the Mayan calendar apocalypse.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • peridot2

      Don't be a lackwit...oh, dear, I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, yes, now I remember! This is the BELIEF BLOG!

      December 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Jesus Is Coming! Look busy!

    December 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Where's Towlie when you need him?

      When Jesus is coming, don't forget to bring a ...

      December 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Towelie

      If you are staying for the second coming, don't forget to bring a towel!

      December 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Akira


      December 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  19. Martin

    They thought the Iraq War was a sign of the end times too. Ridiculous.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • peridot2

      When the First Millennium changed it was the end of time. Oops. Didn't happen, did it? The world was supposed to end last year, remember?

      Don't hold your breath.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  20. squeezedat

    Funny how the choice of headline makes this article seem biased towards pointing out the amount of Americans that believe the weather changes are related to religion. If you click on the survey this article is based off of the majority of Americans believe that the climate change is not related to religion at all. You simply can't believe everything you read. You just have to do more research of your own. Put all those stories in a sieve and shake out the facts.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • HitchSlap

      The headline says explicitly that one in three believe the weather is a sign of end times, which in an alarming rate of idiocy.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The second major bullet point in PRRI's survey summary says exactly:

      "More than one-third (36%) of Americans believe that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in what the Bible calls the end times. Roughly 6-in-10 (59%) Americans disagree."

      Other than the change in emphasis for the sake of the headline, how is:
      "Survey: One in three Americans see extreme weather as a sign of biblical end times"

      In any way misleading or inaccurate. The survey actually said 36%, which when last I checked is greater than one in three.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bob Knippel

      Intelligently written news articles need not be filtered for facts, nor should things which are not facts be reported, preached, or taught in public schools.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
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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.