A large swath of Americans across the religious spectrum believe they are living in the last days of humanity, a recent study showed.
Nearly two in five Americans, including both Christians and the religiously unaffiliated, responded affirmatively when asked if they believe “we are living in the end times,” according to a Pew research study published last month.
The study addressed Americans’ views regarding the earth, environmentalism and climate change, but a specific portion addressed respondents on their views about the end of the world.
At 58%, a majority of respondents did not believe they were living in the end times, but approximately four in 10, or 39%, said they believe they are.
Most of those who believe the end is near were self-professed Christians, 47% of whom believe they are living in the last days. The study further broke down the statistics to determine that 14% of such Christians believe that the end of the world will culminate with the return of Jesus Christ and that the conditions of the world will worsen until then.
Black Protestants (76%) and evangelicals (63%) were the most likely to believe they are living in the end times.
Mainline Protestants (31%) and Roman Catholics (27%) were less likely to assert they are living in the last days.
Christians have historically differed on the specifics of how the world will end, with some believing many end-times prophecies in the Bible were fulfilled during the first century, while others believe many have yet to be fulfilled. According to the Apostles’ Creed, one of Christianity’s oldest historic statements of faith, all Christians believe Jesus “will come to judge the living and the dead.”
Among those who adhere to a non-Christian religion, nearly three in 10 (29%) said they think the world is wrapping up. A quarter of U.S. adults overall said they believe they are living at the end of the world but do not hold such specific views about how it will take place, according to the study.
Among the other findings of the study, those who believe humanity is in its last days are less likely than their counterparts to say climate change is an extremely or very serious problem (51% vs. 62%).
The study also found that “most U.S. adults – including a solid majority of Christians and large numbers of people who identify with other religious traditions – consider the Earth sacred and believe God gave humans a duty to care for it,” the researchers said.