Religious Groups in the US Don’t Think Climate Change is a Crisis

By: Lauren | Last updated: Nov 06, 2023

No matter what you read or watch these days, climate change is almost always making headlines.

However, while most scientists, government officials, and the general public are adamant that climate change is a real and imminent problem, some factions of religious groups throughout the US simply don’t believe what they hear.

The Public Religion Research Survey

A recent survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute asked 5,192 adults in all 50 states how they felt about climate change, and specifically, whether or not they think it qualifies as a “crisis.”

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Hands on a Bible

Source: Freepik

What the research found was incredibly interesting: The large majority of religious Americans do not believe that climate change is an actual crisis.

Breaking Down the Numbers

In a table that shows how specific groups of people feel about climate change today in 2023 versus how they felt in 2014, the PRRI reported some seriously interesting results.

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Table that displays statistics from PRRI climate change survey

Source: PRRI Climate Change Survey, 2023

In 2014, only 23% of Americans believed that climate change was a real crisis. Today, 27% would agree with that statement. And according to the survey, almost every religious group in the US also increased their belief in the crisis, except for one.

White Evangelicals Least Likely to Support Climate Change

Although every other group reported at least a marginally higher percentage of people who believe climate change is a crisis since 2014, white Evangelical Protestants actually went the other way.

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Evangelical choir at church service

Source: George Frey/Getty Images

While 13% of white Evangelical Protestants agreed the climate was in crisis in 2014, only 8% think so in 2023.

American Jews Most Likely to Support Climate Change

On the other hand, American Jews are the most likely religious group to believe that climate change is a real crisis.

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Child walks with Jewish flag around shoulders

Source: Alexi Rosenfield/Getty Images

Although only 1% more than in 2014, 32% of the Jewish community in America maintain that the planet is in crisis.

Less Than a Third of All Religious People Fear the Climate Crisis

Interestingly, across the board, less than one third of all religious people believe that the climate is actually in crisis.

Wildfire burns forest near campground

Source: David McNew/Getty Images

Only 31% of Hispanic Catholics, 20% of white Catholics, and 19% of Black Protestants would argue that Earth is experiencing a real climate disaster.

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Religious People’s Specific Views on Climate Change

It’s critical to understand why so many people affiliated with various religious beliefs don’t adhere to the climate crisis theory.

Survey that explains why religious people don’t believe in climate change

Source: PRRI Climate Change Survey, 2023

Statistically, most people across the board who do believe in climate change state they think it’s “caused mostly by human activity.” However, many religious individuals, including most Evangelical Protestants, argue that “climate change is caused mostly by natural patterns in the earth’s environment.”

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Many Believe Climate Change Marks the ‘End Times’

What’s really interesting is that a huge amount of religious people believe climate change is happening due to what the Bible calls “the end of times.”

Survey that shows religious people’s belief that climate change is the “end of times”

Source: PRRI Climate Change Survey, 2023

In fact, 77% of white Evangelical Protestants say that “recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in the “end of times.” On the other hand, only 35% of all Americans would agree with that statement, down 14% since 2014.

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Many Religious Groups Fighting Against the Climate Crisis

It’s vital to understand that not all religious people are arguing against the climate change crisis.

One Future One Home logo

Source: Onehomeonefuture.org

On the contrary, there are several organizations, such as One Home One Future, imploring religious people of all faiths to act now and make the changes needed to save the planet from climate change.

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Pope Francis Publicly Supports the Need for Change

Even the current pope, Pope Francis, spoke publicly in support of the climate change crisis.

Pope Francis speaks into a microphone

Source: Vatican Media/Vatican Pool/Getty Images

His call to action asked Catholics to not only stand up and agree that climate change is a real problem, but also to take concrete action for lasting change.

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Climate Change Activists Feel the PRRI Report Is ‘Really Concerning’

While many Americans now fully believe and understand the reality of climate change, the fact that a wide pool of religious people do not is quite concerning.

Ice from Svinafellsjokull glacier floats in a lake near Svinafell, Iceland

Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Melissa Deckman, CEO of PRRI, told the press, “The fact that [the numbers] remained unchanged was pretty remarkable to me. It’s just really concerning.”

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The Climate Change Debate Continues

The debate as to whether or not climate change is real, as well as how much humans are affecting the planet we live on, and even what needs to happen next will certainly continue

Large crowd takes part in a 'Walk For Your Future' march in Brussels, Belgium

Source: Theirry Monasse/Getty Images

No matter which side of the argument you are on, or if your religious affiliations are affecting your feelings about the crisis, the bottom line is that this is one of the biggest conversations of today and likely also will be for future generations.

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