More than a third of Americans believe the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the “end times” described in the New Testament — a period of turmoil preceding Jesus’ Second Coming and the end of the world.

“There is a significant proportion of Americans who see these phenomena through a theological lens,” said Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, which released a poll on religion and climate change on Thursday (Dec. 13) in partnership with Religion News Service.

“It’s hardly a fringe belief. It’s nearly four in 10 Americans who are embracing this,” Cox said.

The conviction is particularly strong among white evangelical Protestants (65 percent), and less common among Catholics (21 percent) and the religiously unaffiliated (15 percent). Overall, 36 percent of Americans see signs of the end times in Mother Nature’s fury.

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