39 percent of Americans believe we are living in the end times, a poll has found.
These findings come from a Pew Research Center survey of 10,156 adults on the center’s American Trends Panel conducted in April 2022, entitled “How Religion Intersects With Americans’ Views on the Environment.”
Belief in the end times appears to extend across many religions, with 47 percent of Christians polled saying humanity is in its last days.
Climate change vs. apocalypse
The poll also found that those who believe the “end times” are here do not necessarily see climate change as a pressing issue. Those who think we are living in the end times are less likely to say climate change is an extremely or very serious problem (51 percent) than those who don’t (62 percent).
Of those Christians who believe we are in the end times, a small group express what the Pew Research Center defines as a “premillennialist” view, saying that one day Jesus Christ will return to the earth and that the world will expire by then. Around 40 percent of those surveyed from this group of people consider climate change to be “extremely or very seriously”.
“American attitudes toward climate change are sometimes associated with belief in the apocalypse or ‘end times.’ According to the theory, people who believe humanity is in its final days may be less concerned about the dangers of climate change than those who don’t believe the world is about to end,” said Becka Alper, a senior researcher at Pew Research middle, told news week.
Climate change is undeniably the result of human action on the planet, with fossil fuel burning and greenhouse gas emissions, along with the release of other pollutants and deforestation, already leading to a global temperature rise of about 1° Celsius (nearly 2° Fahrenheit) since 1880, according to Scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is projected to increase by a further 4°C (7.2°F) by 2100 if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase at their current rates. Climate change has already led to an increase in extreme weather events around the world.
“Climate change is here and it’s time to stop fumbling,” said Matthew Casale, director of environmental campaigns at the nonprofit Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), previously news week.“Our planet is getting hotter, our forests are burning and we are losing more lives and homes every year. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that these dangerous rises in global temperatures are being caused by human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels.”
“Some scholars have theorized that public attitudes toward the environment may be linked, at least in part, to beliefs about the ‘end times’ – such as the belief that the end of the world and the advent of a Messiah (or the ‘second coming’ of Jesus ) is imminent,” Alper said. “For example, if you think the world is about to end, protecting the environment may not seem so important in the long run.”
What are the end times and who believes in them?
The end times refer to a wide range of events depicting the end of the world, the apocalypse, or judgment day, often as part of a God-driven eschaton. Many religions have an “end times” in their scriptures, usually as an event when the world will be destroyed in order to cleanse mankind of sin – or sinners – and redeem the worthy. The exact sequence of events of the apocalypse varies from religion to religion, but is believed throughout Judaism, Islam, Norse myth, and several subgroups of Christianity, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and Mormons.
However, the survey did not define any end times for respondents.
“When people answered that question, they might have had a number of things in mind that they might associate with it; some respondents may have been thinking about the end times in supernatural terms, others may have been thinking in purely natural terms. Some may have been thinking about the end times as described in their scriptures, others may have been thinking about other things, like extreme weather events or the pandemic,” Alper said.
Although the poll seems to indicate that non-religious people also believe in the end times, the significance of this event was open to interpretation.
“However they understood the question, the overwhelming majority of atheists do not believe we are living in the end times, while 9 percent say they believe we are,” Alper said.
Is belief growing that we are living in the end times?
Belief in the now existing end times does not seem to increase. The AdventistToday reported in 2013 that 41 percent of all adults in the United States believed the world was now living in the “end times” described in the Bible, while a 2016 poll conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that 11 percent of people thought that since the end times are coming, we don’t have to worry about climate change.
The most recent Pew poll found that 76 percent of adherents to the historically black Protestant tradition and 63 percent of evangelical Protestants said they believe mankind is living in the end times.
Despite this belief that the world may end, the Pew poll also found that 80 percent of religious Americans identified with the concept of stewardship, or with the statement, “God gave man a duty to protect and care for the earth.” to care for, including the earth’s plants and animals.”
Additionally, an April 2021 Pew poll found that nearly half of Americans say they are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, with 81 percent reducing their daily food waste and two-thirds reducing their daily water use.
How religion intersects with Americans’ views of the environment. Becka A Alper. Pew Research Center (2022).
https://www.newsweek.com/shocking-number-americans-believe-living-end-times-1762615 A shocking number of Americans believe we are living in the end times