More than 100 million Americans don't believe that there will be a world that needs saving by mid-century, and that's a real problem for the planet.
Unless you've been living in a monastery, you're well aware that, right now, there are some Christians getting awfully excited about the rapture. By some interpretations of the Bible, Jesus will return to Earth this Saturday, May 21.
While these May 21sters are being pretty widely mocked and in some cases exploited (to the point that I'm starting to actually feel bad for them), it turns out that the belief in the rapture itself isn't all that fringe. According to a Pew poll, four in ten Americans think Jesus Christ will return to Earth by 2050.
That means more than 100 million Americans believe that Judgment Day is just around the corner. It's no wonder then that a relatively long-term problem like climate change isn't a priority in the public's mind.
This is actually really serious. While there are plenty of Christians who believe that it is our responsibility as a species to protect and care for all of God's creation—see the Creation Care movement for starters—well over a third of Americans don't believe that there will be a world that needs saving by mid-century.
Earlier this week, on the Climate Ride, we stayed with two devoutly religious hosts—an Amish-Baptist camp in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and a Jewish retreat in Maryland. In both instances, our hosts embraced and blessed our mission. Until the rational faithful among us succeed in preaching the importance of protecting God's creation and help subdue the fantasy myths, we don't stand a chance in finding the public will to combat climate change. They'll get their fire and brimstone one way or another.
Photo on Wikimedia Commons