Political Animal


May 02, 2013 4:10 PM Climate Change and the Second Coming

By Ed Kilgore

So we learn today from RawStory’s Eric Dolan that an upcoming political science study will show that believe in a biblical “End of Days” is a tangible factor in resistance to public action to prevent or mitigate climate change:

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.
“[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 [the authors of the study] explained.

Well, maybe some end-time believers think that way, but I don’t know that it’s “rational” or for that matter “biblical.” Here’s Matthew 25:13:

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

That verse is sometimes quoted to suggest an imminent apocalypse, but it could be read in the opposite manner. So even if you think the Earth has an “expiration date,” it could be so far into the future that it might be nice to keep it life-sustaining for a good while just yet.

Here’s a tart retort to carpe diem advocates, religious or just greedy and self-centered, from the Australian band Hunters & Collectors, back in 1989:

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on May 02, 2013 4:21 PM:

    Look, Dominionist Christians, you can meet God and his Son anytime you want!

    Just don't take the rest of us rational people, when you commit suicide.
    We want no part of your mutually-agree-upon suicide pact.

    If you want to join them, God and Jesus are waiting for you right now!
    Operators, are waiting!!!

    Religion is a mental disease.
    The degree to which you believe, is the degree of your insanity.

  • FlipYrWhig on May 02, 2013 4:39 PM:

    I thought I was the only one who remembered Hunters & Collectors!

  • Peter C on May 02, 2013 4:50 PM:

    End-of-timers have a perfect record - they've NEVER been right. No sane person should ever vote to put them in charge of this sort of issue. Indeed, anyone who recommends an end-of-timer for a position dealing with ecological issues should have their basic judgement questioned.

  • Bokonon on May 02, 2013 5:03 PM:

    Apparently, some hardcore fundamentalists who believe in the Rapture aren't that concerned about climate change - precisely because it will just be one of the tribulations for the unrighteous people that will be left behind on Earth. To deal with all the very bad stuff that will come down afterwards. And the righteous people will be gone.

    Besides, you don't want to get in the way of God's gathering judgement, do you? Especially not with taxes or regulations - those things that are the mark of the Antichrist's coming reign. It is time to get right with God - and be among the righteous - not enact climate regulation.


    You can't make this sort of thing up.

  • Liberal Christian on May 02, 2013 5:34 PM:

    The passage from Matthew is the best way to counter the "rapturists". They seem to think they know better than God.

    Captcha: contemplate alRepub --- NO THANKS!

  • denim on May 02, 2013 5:40 PM:

    Revelation Chapter 11:18 "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

    "...and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

    utro. pay attention.

  • Sean Scallon on May 02, 2013 9:04 PM:

    "political science study will show that believe in a biblical “End of Days” is a tangible factor in resistance to public action to prevent or mitigate climate change."

    And all this time I thought it was the oil and gas and coal industries doing the resisting. Amazing.

  • jhm on May 03, 2013 7:33 AM:

    Why not go straight to the horses mouth?

    "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God."
    -Luke 9:27

    Of course, the exact nature of the kingdom have had many revisions since then....

  • Dredd on May 03, 2013 10:06 AM:

    Parochial thinking equates to "all weather is local."

    Fundmental science and fundamental religionists have the end in mind albeit for varying reasons.