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Global Warming, God and the “End Times”


Global Warming, God and the “End Times”

For a significant number of Americans, the reality, causes and meaning of global warming are seen through the lens of their religious beliefs. Some reject the evidence that humans are causing global warming because they believe God controls the climate. Others believe that global warming is evidence that the world will be ending soon, and that we don’t need to worry about global warming in light of the approaching apocalypse. To assess the level of acceptance of these beliefs among Americans, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,204 American adults in March, 2016.

 

1. God controls the climate

One in seven Americans think it is definitely (7%) or probably (9%) true that “God controls the climate, therefore people can’t be causing global warming.”Total “yes” responses = 15% as a result of rounding.

 

Image for Global Warming, God, and the “End Times”
Image for Global Warming, God, and the “End Times”

Groups that are more likely to believe “God controls the climate, therefore people can’t be causing global warming” (i.e., to say “yes, definitely” or “yes, probably”) include:

  • Tea Party members (38%)
  • Conservative Republicans (31%)
  • Evangelical and Born-Again Christians (30%)
  • Registered voters who support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (30%)
  • Republicans (26%)
  • People who believe Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (26%)
  • People who watch the Fox News Cable Channel often (24%) or sometimes (21%)
  • People who do not believe humans evolved from earlier species (24%)
  • African Americans (23%)
  • High school graduates (22%)
  • People whose household income is less than $30,000 annually (21%)To see the results for all groups examined, please download the Data Tables PDF.

 

Groups that are less likely to hold this belief (i.e., to say “no, definitely not” or “no, probably not”) include:

  • Agnostics and atheists (1%)
  • People who do not believe that the Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (5%)
  • People who listen to National Public Radio (NPR) often (3%) or sometimes (8%)
  • People who have no religious affiliation (6%)
  • Liberal Democrats (6%)
  • Democrats (9%)
  • People who believe humans evolved from earlier species (9%)
  • Registered voters who support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (10%)
  • People with a Bachelor’s degree or higher (11%)
  • People who never watch the Fox News Cable Channel (11%)

 

2. Global warming signals the “end times”

Global warming is interpreted as a sign of the end times by one in seven Americans, with 4 percent saying this is definitely so, and another 10 percent that it is probably so.

2016_3_CCAM_ReligBeliefs_2

Groups that are more likely to believe “global warming is a sign of the end times” include:

  • Evangelical and Born-Again Christians (24%)
  • Adults who have not completed high school (23%)
  • People who do not believe humans evolved from earlier species (20%)
  • People who believe Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (20%)
  • People with an annual household income of less than $30,000 (19%)
  • Conservative Republicans (18%)
  • Republicans (17%)
  • People aged 45-59 (18%)
  • Hispanics (18%)

 

Groups that are less likely to hold this belief include:

  • Agnostics and atheists (4%)
  • People who do not believe the Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (9%)
  • People who have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher (9%)
  • People who are 60 or older (9%)
  • People who believe that humans evolved from earlier species (10%)
  • People who have no religious affiliation (10%)
  • People with household incomes of $100,00 or more annually (10%)

 

3. We don’t need to worry about global warming

Just over one in ten (11%) think the end times are coming, therefore we don’t need to worry about global warming.

 

2016_3_CCAM_ReligBeliefs_3

Groups that are more likely to believe “the end times are coming, therefore we don’t need to worry about global warming” include:

  • Evangelicals and Born-Again Christians (26%)
  • Conservative Republicans (21%)
  • Republicans (19%)
  • Tea Party members (18%)
  • Adults who have not completed high school (18%)
  • People who do not believe humans evolved from earlier species (18%)
  • Registered voters who support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton (18%)
  • People who believe Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (17%)
  • People with an annual household income of less than $30,000 (17%)
  • African Americans (16%)
  • People aged 30-44 (15%)
  • Moderate/Liberal Republicans (15%)

 

Groups that are less likely to hold this belief include:

  • Agnostics and atheists (2%)
  • Catholics (3%)
  • People who have no religious affiliation (5%)
  • People who do not believe the Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (5%)
  • Liberal Democrats (5%)
  • People who believe humans evolved from earlier species (6%)
  • People with an annual household income of $100,000 or more (7%)
  • Democrats (7%)
  • Political Independents (7%)

 

4. The apocalypse will happen in my lifetime

Close to one in ten Americans (9%) think the apocalypse will happen within their lifetime.

2016_3_CCAM_ReligBeliefs_4

 

Groups that are more likely to believe “the apocalypse will happen in your lifetime” include:

  • Adults who have not completed high school (20%)
  • Evangelical and Born-Again Christians (19%)
  • People with an annual household income of less than $30,000 (15%)
  • People who often watch Fox News Cable Channel (15%)
  • Hispanics (15%)
  • People who do not believe humans evolved from earlier species (14%)
  • People who believe Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (13%)
  • Tea Party members (13%)

 

Groups that are less likely to hold this belief include:

  • Agnostics and atheists (1%)
  • People with a Bachelor’s degree or higher (4%)
  • People who often listen to National Public Radio (NPR; 4%)
  • People who do not believe Earth was created in six days, as described in the Bible (5%)
  • Non-Evangelical Protestants (5%)
  • Liberal Democrats (5%)