The Apocalypse is Coming, So Why Save the World?

One of my favorite pet theories about Republican opposition to action on climate change goes this way: many religious Republicans believe strongly in end-times prophecies and therefore has absolutely no incentive to do anything to stop climate change. After all, if God’s going to destroy the world eventually, who cares if we do?

This was something I’d sometimes tell friends if I had too many drinks. In a new study, David C. Barker and David H. Bearce actually put this hypothesis to the test through research and stuff. They found that, in 2006, a whopping 76% of Republicans stated a belief in the Second Coming. And what did that belief mean?

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 explained.

Yikes! Guys, we really have to stop taking this book so literally if we want to not drown to death.

<h/t: Andrew Sullivan>

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