Belief In Biblical End-Times Stifling Climate Change Action In U.S.

Belief In Biblical End-Times Stifling Climate Change Action In U.S.

May 10




By Eric W. Dolan
Raw Story
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Original Link

The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.

Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.

The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on climate change by 12 percent when controlling for a number of demographic and cultural factors. When the effects of party affiliation, political ideology, and media distrust were removed from the analysis, the belief in the “Second Coming” increased this effect by almost 20 percent. (This suggests there is a significant overlap between those three variables and belief in the “Second Coming.”)

“[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence ill-advised,” Barker and Bearce explained.

That very sentiment has been expressed by federal legislators. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said in 2010 that he opposed action on climate change because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

Though the two researchers cautioned their study was not intended to predict future policy outcomes, they said their study suggested it was unlikely the United States would take action on climate change while so many Americans, particularly Republicans, believed in the coming end-times.

“That is, because of institutions such as the Electoral College, the winner-take-all representation mechanism, and the Senate filibuster, as well as the geographic distribution of partisanship to modern partisan polarization, minority interests often successfully block majority preferences,” Barker and Bearce wrote. “Thus, even if the median voter supports policies designed to slow global warming, legislation to effect such change could find itself dead on arrival if the median Republican voter strongly resists public policy environmentalism at least in part because of end-times beliefs.”



  1. Joy

    I am doubtful of the validity of this article. Beliefs in the second coming, by the way, are shared by Democrats as well. Some of the most spiritual people around are also promoters of leaving the earth better that we found it. Believers in the second coming would base their beliefs on Bible teaching, which also says that no man, nor even the angels, know
    when that day would be. It’s been 2000+ years, and may be double that. No one knows. Why would anyone be so naive to just throw up their hands concerning the earth? We are told to be stewards of it. I just get tired of the bias that is becoming common in this nation against Christians, now being lumped in with Republicans. These guys aren’t also employed by the IRS, are they ?

  2. Nicholas Kovalenko

    This is why superstitious religion based on misconstrued scripture is so harmful to humanity. It manipulates the behavior of the well-meaning but ignorant to the fruit-fly like demise of the planet.
    Like cattle & sheep being herded by words in a book, which is their god, the “Armageddon” religious self-fulfill false prophecy instead of recognizing their intended role as responsible stewards for this extraordinary divine creation upon which we are honored to play the Game of Life.
    How stupid and lame can religious subculture get?!
    Ironically, these are also people who likely have never had one authentic, profound, legitimately divinely enlightening spiritual experience in their lives. They don’t even truly know that such a thing as the “Alpha & Omega” exists.
    Everything they believe is based on a conviction in an interpretation of a book based on absolutely unfounded and inaccurate non-original material.
    Would you use the same unsubstantial standards for a business deal?
    Is the earth at least as important as a business deal?
    Or is it our destiny to be cavemen and assure a self-fulfilling prophesy of self destruction due to irresponsible behavior with this amazing God’s gift?

  3. Veronica

    Hello David:

    Did the study publish the percentage of Democrats that believe
    in the biblical Second Coming?

  4. Good question, Veronica. I don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.