December 17, 2012

Extreme Weather and End Times Prophecy

Hurricane

According to CNN, the results of a poll released last week show that more than a third of those surveyed believe that the extreme weather we have seen in the U.S. this year is evidence that we are approaching the "end times" described in the Christian bible. The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, found that most respondents (59%) attribute severe weather to climate change. But as CNN reported, just over a third (36%) are convinced that it is evidence of some sort of biblical prophecy.

I wonder how many of these same people have laughed at those who claim that the end of the world is happening this month in accordance with the Mayan calendar? My guess is that several have done so without realizing that what the Mayans believed is no more ridiculous than what they believe.

It is tempting to point to the 36% who link our weather to supernatural factors, call them morons, and move on. Unfortunately, widespread belief in "end times" theology is detrimental to us all. How can we reasonably expect someone who thinks that the end of the world is rapidly approaching to be future-oriented? We can't. And how can we expect such people to have our interests and the interests of future generations in mind? We can't.

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