Consider this: if nearly half the population of this country thinks – heck, knows – that the world will end before their lifetime, what is their incentive to worry about climate change, combating poverty, and ensuring world peace? Why make the world better for our children if we expect it to end indefinitely?
If anything, these people may actually welcome war and calamity, considering them as sure signs that Christ will soon come.
This anticipation for the end no doubt breeds a sort of nihilism that partly explains why the US is so backward when it comes to many socioeconomic issues. All that matters is the thereafter, not the here and now. All that matters is getting into heaven, not trying to make this one verifiable life as fulfilling for everyone as possible.
Obviously, not everyone who is religious, or believes in the rapture, has such warped and maladaptive views. But a sizable minority of Americans – to say nothing of other societies around the world – do, and it’s being reflected in political ideologies that reject and even demonizes environmentalism, aid to the poor, science, and other efforts to save our planet and improve the human condition.