Biblical ‘End Times’ Fears Drop as Natural Disasters Increase

Biblical ‘End Times’ Fears Drop as Natural Disasters Increase

Anna Skinner for Newsweek reports that the percentage of Americans who believe that the Earth is approaching the “end of times” has fallen even as natural disasters are stronger and more frequent. A 2020 UN study found more than 7,000 major natural disasters had taken place in the preceding two decades, killing 1.23 million people. Even as numerous fatal natural disasters plagued the globe, PRRI’s climate survey finds that the percentage of Americans who say that natural disasters are evidence of the end of times dropped by 14% since 2014, though the majority of Black Protestants (73%) and white evangelical Protestants (62%) continue to believe this.

A New Measure of the Political-Cultural Gap on Climate Change

For the Washington Post, Philip Bump examines new PRRI data that shows how the partisan divide on climate change overlaps with demographics that aren’t explicitly partisan, including religion and age. In recent decades, he points out, one of the issues on which the difference between Democrats and Republicans increased the most was the cause of global warming. When it comes to religion, PRRI finds Americans with no religious affiliation are overwhelmingly likely to say that humans are causing climate change and those who say religion is the most important thing in their lives are more likely to reject human causation.

Religion and Race Shape Views on Cause of Climate Change

For Axios, Russell Contreras and Andrew Freedman report that most Americans (61%) believe that climate change is caused mainly by human activity, according to PRRI’s latest survey. As nearly everyone living in the United States experienced hotter temperatures driven by climate change this summer, a striking 19% of white evangelical Protestants say there is no evidence that climate change is happening — the largest percentage of any religious group in the survey. “A lot of white evangelicals believe that the second coming could be imminent so why bother with fighting climate change,” Andrew Chesnut, Director of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, told Axios.

Survey: U.S. Religious Groups Do Not View Climate Change as a Crisis

Yonat Shimron for Religion News Service writes that on the same day Pope Francis issued a new call for climate change action, PRRI’s new survey data indicates that this work won’t be easy. While American Jews are the most likely religious group to say that climate change is a crisis at 32%, less one-third across all religious traditions agreed. Despite increasingly dangerous natural disasters, public opinion on whether climate change is a crisis has not shifted significantly over the past decade; “The fact that it has remained unchanged was pretty remarkable,” said Melissa Deckman, CEO of PRRI.

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Read “The Faith Factor in Climate Change: How Religion Impacts American Attitudes on Climate and Environmental Policy” here.