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This month’s new Public Religion Research Institute poll asked how America’s evangelicals, mainline Protestants,  Catholics and minority Christians felt about natural disasters, like Japan’s earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis, as it relates to their understanding of God. The findings include:

  • Most white evangelicals (84 percent) and minority Christians (76 percent) believe God is in control of everything that happens in the world, compared to a slim majority of white mainline Protestants (55 percent) and Catholics (52 percent).
  • White evangelicals (53 percent) are most likely to agree that God punishes nations for the sins of some citizens, followed by 40 percent of minority Christians and just 20 percent of white mainline Protestants or Catholics.
  • Most minority Christians (61 percent) believe natural disasters are God’s way of testing our faith, while evangelical Christians are somewhat divided (51 percent agree, 43 percent disagree, 5 percent don’t know). Most white mainline Protestants (57 percent) and Catholics (56 percent) disagree.
  • Most white evangelicals (59 percent) and minority Christians (53 percent) see natural disasters as a sign from God; most white mainline Protestants (63 percent) and Catholics (63 percent) disagree.
  • Nearly half of Americans (44 percent) say the increased severity of recent natural disasters are evidence of biblical “end times,” but more (58 percent) believe they are evidence of climate change. The only religious group more likely to believe that natural disasters are evidence of “end times” than climate change is white evangelicals (67 percent to 52 percent).
  • Most white evangelicals (67 percent) and minority Christians (67 percent) think the severity of recent natural disasters is a sign of biblical “end times;” most white mainline Protestants (68 percent) and Catholics (61 percent) disagree.

Check out my Religion News Service story here ; The Journal NewsCNN and other outlets are also reporting on this poll.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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