- (Photo: REUTERS/Michelle Mcloughlin)
A recent survey found that while the majority of Americans believe the weather has become more extreme in the past few years, their viewpoints differ regarding what is causing this climate change.
A December survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the majority of Americans (63 percent) believe the severe weather is due to global climate change, while 36 percent (4 in 10) believe it is evidence of the "end times", as taught in the Bible's book of Revelation.
More specifically, the majority of white mainline Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (60 percent) believe the recent natural disasters are due to climate change, while the majority of white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) believe the weather is a foreshadowing of end times, according to the institute's recent press release.
The topic of climate change has long been debated among evangelical Christians, many of whom believe that because the Bible does not indicate any Scriptural passages regarding climate change, except in reference to the end times, then it is impossible for man alone to create a change in climate.
"It's actually quite difficult and often not a good use of time trying to have a conversation with someone who is convinced global warming is a hoax, the data is not in yet, or it's all a 'liberal' plot to ensure one-world government," Mark McReynolds, assistant professor of Environmental Science at Biola University, a Christian university located in Southern California, previously told The Christian Post.
Many critics contend that although evangelicals may still be weighing the issue, there has been an increase in evangelicals believing in climate change.
A 2008 Barna Group study found that only 27 percent of evangelicals stated that they "firmly believed" in global warming.
On the other side of the spectrum, the issue of the "end times" has been a highly publicized topic in recent months, as Dec. 21, 2012, the date on which the ancient Mayan calendar ends, quickly approaches.
As the PRRI's recent survey found, only two percent of Americans believe the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012.
In addition to this supposed end date, several natural disasters, including hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, and tsunamis have recently shaken the world.
As Greg Stier, president and founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, previously wrote for The Christian Post, he believes the reality of the situation is no one, except God, really knows the reason for the recent extreme natural disasters,.
"He is working a plan beyond our comprehension to cause people to look up to Him and raise both hands in praise," Stier previously wrote.
As the PRRI survey recently found, although Americans disagree on why the climate is changing, the majority (67 percent) believe the U.S. government needs to do more to address the issue.
"While there is disagreement about the causes of, and to a lesser extent the existence of, global warming, there is nonetheless widespread agreement about the need for action," Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, said in a recent press release.
"Nine-in-ten Americans who believe global warming is caused by human action and nearly six-in-ten Americans who believe global warming is due to natural weather patterns agree that the U.S. government should do more to address the issue of climate change," Jones added.
This recent PRRI survey was conducted in early Dec. 2012 among 1,018 adults in the U.S. via telephone questionnaire.