Chart: Half of Christians Think Jesus Is Coming Back Soon

A partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation.
March 29 2013 5:00 AM

Half of Christians Think Jesus Will Return Within 40 Years

Christian views in America on the return of Christ.

PF_13.03.22_JesusReturn-02

As Christians worldwide prepare for Easter, a time of reflection on Jesus’ death and a celebration of his resurrection, many seem to be looking forward as well.

The above chart, from a Pew Research Center survey on the religious beliefs of Christians in the United States, shows that about half believe Jesus will either definitely or probably return in the next 40 years.

Theologians and scholars have debated the Second Coming for centuries, arguing over when it will happen, if it can be predicted, and signs showing its imminent arrival. The Bible states that no one but God knows when Jesus will return and that the return will be swift and unexpected: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

Advertisement

Still, predicting when and where Jesus will return is a popular business. Christians, popes, Mormonism’s founder, modern-day biblical teachers like Harold Camping, and countless others have all tried and failed. People have coveted knowledge of the Second Coming for millennia, and, if history is any example, predictions will continue to roll out as time goes on—that is, if 40 years pass by and Jesus is still nowhere to be seen.

Heather Brady is a former Slate interactives intern.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.