Stock up on water and canned goods, secure your home, and, um, get ready: nearly Nearly four in 10 U.S. residents say the severity of recent natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy is evidence the world is coming to an end, as predicted by the Bible, while more than six in 10 blame it on climate change, according to a poll released on Thursday.
The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service found that there is disagreement among religions and political parties about the causes of sever weather, and the weather itself. Yes, political disagreement has literally expanded to arguing about the weather. From the poll's findings:
- More than 6-in-10 (63%) Americans agree that over the last few years, the weather has gotten more extreme. Roughly 3-in-10 (29%) say the weather has not changed, and less than 1-in-10 (6%) report that the weather has become less extreme. 3 out of 4 Democrats said that the weather was gettng more extreme, while Republicans were split down the middle.
- 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.
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of white evangelical Protestants believe that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of what the Bible calls the end times, compared to roughly 1-in-5 Catholics (21%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (15%).
- Four-in-ten (40%) independents, 35% of Democrats, and one-third (33%) of Republicans agree that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in what the Bible calls the end times.
That last detail is a surprise. Given the correlation between Republicans and evangelicals, one would think that believers in the end times would skew toward the GOP. Of course, perhaps some of the Democrats and Independents who said that the end is coming think that Biblical or not, climate change is real, and it's going to cause Earth-rearranging changes in our lifetimes.
Either way, it seems one thing that nearly every American can agree on is that we live in very interesting times.