Here’s a perfect illustration of how the influence of religion can distort public policy and foster utter irrationality. A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that almost 40% of Americans believe that extreme weather events are a sign of the “end times” rather than having a natural cause.
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.
There are several ways that Christian fundamentalists use such arguments to fight against taking any action to fix the problem. We’ve had members of Congress make the astonishingly idiotic claim that global warming can’t be real because God is in charge of the weather and he’s promised not to destroy the world again (which is both irrelevant and irrational. And if severe weather is really just a sign of the end times, then there’s nothing we can do to stop it anyway. Such beliefs aren’t just wrong, they’re dangerous.