The following sentence can be found in a 7.1.07 Benjamin Anastas N.Y. Times piece about various authors, radio talk-show hosts and Biblical nutjobs who believe that it’s all coming to an end in 2012: “Polls indicate that up to 50% of Americans believe that the Book of Revelation is a true, prophetic document, meaning they fully expect the predictions of ‘Rapture,’ ‘Tribulation’ and ‘Armageddon’ to be fulfilled.”
I re-read that sentence two or three times before it really sank in. Let’s bend over backwards and allow for the possibility that 50% may be a little high. Maybe only 40% to 45% believe that the Rapture is really coming. Maybe only one in three Americans believe in this…who knows for certain? But think of how thoroughly divorced you have to be from reason and rationality to seriously buy into the notion that “God” has orchestrated a Big Moral Finale to the whole of human existence because of high levels of evil and collective moral failings.
But the real “tell” in this statistic is an explanation of why a significant portion of American righties are still saying that the science isn’t in yet on global warming, that Al Gore is mostly a fantasist, and even if global warming is real it’s man’s right to plunder and destroy the planet if he’s so inclined. No guilt trips, no cutbacks, no re-thinks…we’re keeping our SUVs, McMansions, dune buggies, 24-hour air condi- tioning and power boats because we work hard for our lifestyles.
We all know there some ardent Christians who are liberal, centrist or non-political, but the general acknowledgment is that most Christians are allied with right-wing Republicans. We also know from polls that a large percentage of righties don’t believe global warming is real — I read a poll a few months ago that said as much as 40% think that global-warning data is bogus.
The “polls” referred to by Benjamin Anastas provide a theoretical explanation for this. 40% to 50% of Americans don’t believe we’ll be here all that long, so why worry about the devastation that global warning will bring to the planet 50 or 100 years hence? “God” will probably be ending things sooner than that, so kick back and gas up the tank.