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>

Do the Coen Brothers Believe in God?

Growing up in a religious Jewish community, I always had a special affinity for the films of the Coen brothers. Their cheeky humor was appealed to my cynical side and the whispers I heard that they’d grown up Orthodox made me feel an unearned kinship with them. Seeing Walter Sobchak on screen was a formative experience for a generation of Sabbath-observing Jews. As I got older and a little brighter, I started to notice the murky moral waters in which their films swam and my appreciation for them deepened.

Throughout their films, the Coens grapple with the struggles between good and evil, the impact of luck and fate on our lives, and the concept of a creator running it all. Matt Zoller Seitz spoke with film critic Jeffrey Overstreet in Indiewire last month about the representation of religion in the worlds of the Coens:

I think the Coens suggest him via negativa. They show the incompleteness and insufficiency of a vision that leaves God out. There are clearly human evils at work —evils of foolishness, carelessness, folly, and evils of greed and deliberate violence. But there are also evils of apocalyptic, seemingly supernatural proportions. As No Country demonstrates, good deeds and the power of law are not enough to save the world. Ultimately, the best we can do is seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in the presence of something greater than ourselves.

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A Bible for the Bible Belt

Holy Bible: Stock Car Racing Edition

Over the holiday break, friend of the show Poncho Peligroso discovered this gem in Texas: the Stock Car Racing Edition of the Holy Bible. In amending the bible to appeal to alternate audiences, it’s kinda like what we’re doing, but OMGWTFBIBLE has a lot fewer car crashes.

I haven’t read it, so I imagine in this version the cross is covered in corporate logos and Jesus is resurrected with the help of a pit crew but I could be wrong. Check out an interior page below:

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