36% in US see weather as sign of 'end times'

The extensive damage to an amusement park roller coaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is seen in Seaside Heights, New Jersey last month. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek
The extensive damage to an amusement park roller coaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is seen in Seaside Heights, New Jersey last month. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek
Nearly four in 10 US 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 new poll.

The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service found political and religious disagreement on what is behind severe weather, which this year has included extreme heat and drought.

Most Catholics (60 percent) and white non-evangelical Protestants (65 percent) say they believe disasters like hurricanes and floods are the result of climate change.

But nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say they think the storms are evidence of the "end times" as predicted by the Bible.

Overall, 36 percent point to end times and 63 percent to climate change.

PRRI research director Daniel Cox said that some respondents - including 75 percent of non-white Protestants - believe extreme weather is both evidence of end times and the result of climate change.

"No one really knows how (end times) would look and how God would bring it about," Cox said.

Politics also color perceptions of the weather, the survey found. More than three-quarters of Democrats and six in 10 independents believe that the weather has become more extreme over the last few years, while less than half of Republicans say they have perceived such a shift.

"Their political leanings are even affecting how they experience weather, which is pretty fascinating," said Cox.

The January-to-November period in the United States this year was the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous states. And 2012 will likely surpass 1998 as the warmest year on record for the nation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

CALL FOR ACTION

Most climate scientists believe that the warming trend for the nation and the world is tied to human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels.

Extreme storms like Sandy, along with more intense droughts, wildfires and floods, are projected by some as the result of climate change, though scientists are reluctant to attribute individual events to global warming.

The PRRI survey found that while there is disagreement about the causes of global warming, there is widespread agreement about the need for action.

Two-thirds of Americans say the US government should do more to address climate change - including most of those who believe global warming is due to natural weather patterns, the survey found.

It also found that 15 percent of Americans believe that the end of the world, as predicted by the New Testament's Book of Revelation, will occur in their lifetime. Some 2 percent believe that the end of the world, as predicted by the ancient Mayans, will occur by the end of this year.

Some people who say they believe in end times do not act on that belief in their everyday lives, said Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

"I think that's their way of expressing a deep commitment to Biblical literalism," said Jillson. "If you sat down with them and said, 'Do you really think that within the next few years we'll experience the end times?' they probably don't ... . A good number of these people are saving for retirement."

The survey of 1,018 adults was conducted between Dec. 5 and Dec. 9. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(Reporting By Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Greg McCune and Xavier Briand)

3rd Century BC reality

Funny how gullible and not terribly bright humans have become over the last twenty years or so. You would have to wonder whether instead of 'evolution' we are seeing de-evolution, with humans becoming less intelligent, less able to communicate with intelligence, etc.
Sea captain notes from centuries ago show that in fact the apparent curvature of the earth is nothing out of the ordinary. Curvature happens.

What has changed though is the way the scribes and jesters are handling it, a ship only has to return to port after a lengthy voyage and suddenly everyone in the royal court is talking about it. Just twenty to thirty years back if such an event had happened, it wouldn't have been heard outside of the taverns!
The other thing of course is that we now also have the Round Earth hysterical fanatics who love to claim every time a ship returns to port without finding the edge of the world that the Earth is round! Again, funny how gullible people have become.

Oh dear GW is at it again

GW when you make claims like that the correct thing to do it to actually justify them.  Provide references to valid reviewed scientific documentation that back up your statements.

Weather's turned out ideological again

Before rushing to Judgement: this is a localised American study. Stats show the End Times believers are evangelical christian fundamentalists.

Then - there is reality

Funny how gullible and not terribly bright humans have become over the last twenty years or so. You would have to wonder whether instead of 'evolution' we are seeing de-evolution, with humans becoming less intelligent, less able to communicate with intelligence, etc.

Weather records show that in fact the number of storms this year, and in the last few, are nothing out of the ordinary.  Storms happen, hurricanes happen, etc.   

What has changed though is the intense media coverage we now get, it only has to rain heavily in Auckland for ten minutes and suddenly it is headline news.  Just twenty to thirty years back we could have a major storm somewhere in NZ causing flooding, and it wouldn't even reach the back page of the newspaper!

The other thing of course is that we now also have the Global Warming hysterical fanatics who love to claim every weather event (good or bad!) is due to GW.  Again, funny how gullible people have become. 

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