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Life in 2050: Amazing Science, Familiar Threats

Sponsor: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Smithsonian Magazine
Released: 2010-06

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These are among the findings of a new survey of attitudes and expectations about the future, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Smithsonian magazine in conjunction with the magazine’s 40th anniversary.

War, Terrorism, and Global Trends

As expected, predictions about whether Jesus Christ will return to earth in the next 40 years divide along religious lines. Fully 58% of white evangelical Christians say Jesus Christ will definitely or probably return to earth in this period, by far the highest percentage in any religious group. Only about a third of Catholics (32%), and even fewer white mainline Protestants (27%) and the religiously unaffiliated (20%) predict Jesus Christ’s return to earth.

In addition, those with no college experience (59%) are much more likely than those with some college experience (35%) and college graduates (19%) to expect Jesus Christ’s return. By region, those in the South (52%) are the most likely to predict a Second Coming by 2050.

On a related subject, 65% of Americans say that religion in the United States will be about as important as it is now in 40 years; 30% say religion will become less important. Majorities across all religious groups, including the unaffiliated, see religion continuing to be about as important as it is now in the coming decades.