Friday, December 14, 2012

End Times vs Climate Change

More than one-third of Americans believe the recent crappy weather and natural disasters are a sign of the "end times."  Not to be outdone, two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants think so. 

This from a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute of 1,018 U.S. adults, including a segment by cell phone.  There's a CNN version of the story here.

The good news, if there can be any good news?  Six-in-10 Americans think the recent weather is a function of climate change.  Some people, it seems, took science class.

It's a rather long breakdown of results, so take your time to work your way through them.  There's also a pdf of the results.  A few high points:
  • Three-fourths of respondents think "there is solid evidence" the world is warming.
  • Six-in-10 link such global warming to human activity.
  • But 39 percent also agree "natural disasters are a sign from God."
Luckily only 2 percent think we're all going to die later this month when the Mayan calendar thing happens.  Take comfort where you can.

And the next question really gets at the crux of differences between religious beliefs and the environment.  People were asked which statement they agree with more, whether God gave us complete rights to use animals and nature to benefit humans first, or whether God wants us to "live responsibly" with animals, plants and resources not necessarily just for human benefit.  Thirty-eight percent believe nature is there for our benefit, 55 percent think it's there for us to nurture and maintain.  The difference, of course, comes down to whether you accept a literal interpretation of the Bible.  In fact, much of the results above can be traced to that.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Where in the Bible does a literal interpretation require belief that "God gave us complete rights to use animals and nature to benefit HUMANS FIRST"? I don't think I've ever read "Humans first" in the Bible in any translation. Genesis 1:27 says "Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
"using that which is ruled over for your benefit" is not the definition of "rulership." Humans didn't initially even have the right to eat meat. That didn't come until after the flood. I must read a different Bible than the 38 percent mentioned above. (frankly I think it has less to do with a literal interpretation of scripture than it does with the illiberal interpretation of clergy.) But you do have to admit this post sounds a wee bit accusatory.