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Waiting on the World to End: Apocalyptic Christians and Climate Change

We’ve spent the past week taking an in-depth look at Christianity, its politics, and how those line up with the stories in the Bible. For those on the right to deny the poor access to healthcare or benefits, homosexuals basic civil rights, and other such issues actually makes sense when one realizes that for many of the constituency—not so much the politicians and money-men—these positions from a place of fear, that somehow by the changing ethnic, economic, and sexual make-up of America they are threatened.

Yet, what still remains baffling to many non-religious on both the right and the left—again outside of politicians and sensationalist media—is the vehement denial of certified scientific discovery, such as evolution, the age of the Earth/Universe, and climate change.

It is the latter of those three, however, that represents a clear and present danger to not just American people, but all of humanity. The overwhelming scientific consensus—more than 97% at the time of this writing—does very little to sway those who remain opposed to it.

Again, for politicians who are funded by moneyed interests who got so moneyed from fossil fuels, fighting against reducing the world’s carbon emissions is simply good business if not extremely shortsighted. Still this does nothing to explain why their constituents buy in to their malarkey.

While there are many factors at play here, one worth mentioning is a specific sub-sect of Christianity that can only be called Apocalyptic. Apocalyptic Christians, perhaps most famously those from John Hagee Ministries, are Christians who simply can’t wait for the End Times. Their opposition to addressing climate change is not necessarily because they disagree that it’s happening, but are actually pleased that weather is growing more violent and natural disasters are happening more often. It means that Jesus Christ is on his way back and he is pissed.

The Book of Revelation contains some of the best literary language in the bible. It’s all hellfire and disaster, death and blood, angels with trumpets and death on a pale horse. Yet for Biblical Literalists, the change in the climate and the threat of the end of all life on Earth simply makes them look up to the sky, looking for a woman giving birth before a hungry dragon.

To Apocalyptic Christians “climate change” (if that’s what you want to call it) is man-made, but not because of carbon emissions but a culture of “perversion” and “sin.” These folks have no stake in saving the planet because before the Earth cooks all life of herself like some kind of planetary “reset” button, the faithful will be taken up to Heaven while the heretics burn for eternity.


Image via North Carolina Museum of Art

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.