We know that denial of global warming is as much an article of faith — and I mean this literally, in the sense that it rejects all evidence and reason — for the Christian right as the resurrection of Jesus is. A new survey shows that nearly 80% of evangelical Christians in this country think the extreme weather we’re experience is really caused by 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.
Now the punchline: If these same people heard about a poll of people in Norway that found that 77% of them thought that bad weather and natural disasters were caused by the start of Ragnarok and that they actually had an opinion on whether Zeus would intervene to help them, they would think that was the most ridiculous thing they’d ever heard. And now they know why their opinions on this sound so ridiculous.