Most Evangelicals Believe Natural Disasters Are the Apocalypse, Not Climate Change

Fatalism

Yep, according to almost half of the Americans surveyed, there’s no such thing as climate change. It’s just the End Times.

Poll results released by the Public Religion Research Institute on Friday showed that sixty-nine percent of Americans believe there is solid evidence that Earth’s temperatures are increasing. This is good news, as so far this year has been the hottest ever recorded, despite the recent chill covering the United States. But the pollsters also asked about the cause of recent natural disasters, and the responses from some religious people could impact how America responds to climate change.

While 62 percent of total respondents ascribed the cause of recent natural disasters to climate change, 49 percent also thought biblical “end times” were the cause. For white evangelical Protestants, these numbers basically reversed — 77 percent pointed to the apocalypse, and just 49 percent attributed extreme weather to climate change (the numbers add up to more than one-hundred because people could offer more than one cause).

This fatalistic view of the impacts caused in part by burning fossil fuels could influence the national policy responses to the problem. More than half of the total respondents (53 percent) thought that God would not intercede if humans were destroying the Earth, while 39 percent said that God would step in.

The Public Religion Research Institute poll suggested that congregants who heard about climate change at church were more likely to be concerned about it. Of the respondents who attend religious services at least once or twice a month, 36 percent said their clergy leader speaks about climate change often or sometimes, and these respondents were more likely to be concerned about climate change.

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