(OPINION) A recent survey came across my desk which revealed that four in ten U.S. adults believe humanity is “living in the end times,” according to a survey done by the Pew Research Center.
Let me acknowledge the source of this information — the Pew Research Center is not a right-wing Evangelical organization. I say that because I don’t want people to think that I am only presenting information that comes from the far-right conservative voices.
The Pew Research Center is a think tank based in Washington, D.C. They conduct public opinion polls, demographic research, and surveys on various topics such as social issues and public beliefs and habits.
The Pew Research Center did not start out wondering if Americans believe we are living in the end times. This research was due to the result of a prior survey and a completely different subject.
In April of 2022, Pew Research conducted a survey to find out how concerned Americans were, or are, about climate change. In gathering those results, they found that many Americans expressed little or no concern about climate change, and the interesting nugget was why they felt this way.
Why was there such a lack of concern about climate change? People explained they believed there are much bigger problems in the world today. They overwhelmingly said they believed God is in control of the climate and that they do not think the climate is changing.
That connection of results showing people believing God is in control of the climate led Pew to the more recent survey. So, they began to research what people’s views were about God. Pew Research conducted this end times survey eight months after that climate change poll.
This follow-up survey revealed that in the United States, 39% of adults (4 out of 10) say they believe “we are living in the end times,” while 58% say they do not believe we are living in the end times.
Interestingly, Christians are divided on this question, with 47% saying we are living in the end times and 49% saying we are not living in the end times. However, (29%) or three in ten people from non-Christian religions (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus) and 23% of those with no religious affiliation, say we are living in the end times.
The survey also explored American’s views about a fundamental foundation of Christianity: the belief that Jesus will return to Earth, meaning His Second Coming. When asked if Jesus will return to Earth someday, more than half of all U.S. adults (55%) said yes.
Respondents who said they believed Jesus would return to Earth were also asked how certain they were that this would happen during their lifetime.
One in ten Americans say they assume the second coming of Jesus will definitely or probably occur during their lifetime, 27% are not sure if Jesus will return in their lifetime, and 19% say the return of Jesus will definitely or probably not occur during their lifetime.
The survey also asked about other eschatological beliefs held by the average American adult. People were asked if they thought Jesus would return after a worsening of global conditions, which is consistent with a Premillennial view, or if Jesus would return after an improvement in conditions consistent with a Postmillennial view.
This survey revealed Premillennial beliefs are far more common than Postmillennial beliefs by a 20% to 3% margin. The Postmillennial view believes the world will gradually improve and the thousand-year millennium (Rev. 20) will happen prior to Jesus’ physical return.
The Amillennial view believes the thousand-year millennium is already happening and is more of a spiritual timeframe so not a literal thousand-year period.
The Premillennial view believes the return of Christ will usher in His thousand-year reign and is often connected with circumstances in the world worsening until His Second Coming.
Because of this, Pew Research classified anyone as Premillennial if they say the world situation will worsen and then Jesus will return. And again, those polled overwhelmingly by a 20% to 3% margin agreed with a Premillennial belief.