Former Vice President Al Gore invoked the Bible’s Book of Revelation this week while discussing climate change at an event with black interfaith leaders.
Gore encouraged leaders to tackle global warming, an issue he has frequently spoken on since serving as U.S. vice-president from 1993 until 2001, and said watching the news is like going through the Book of Revelation.
“Nineteen of the 20 hottest years ever measured with instruments have been since 2002,” Gore said, according to Religion News Service. “And every day watching the international television news feels like a nature hike right through the Book of Revelation.”
The politician-turned-activist made the biblical reference while speaking at “Black Interfaith In The Time Of Climate Crisis.” The event, hosted by Interfaith America’s Black Interfaith Project and the Center for Earth Ethics, was held in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Oprah Winfrey Theater.
Gore also spoke about racial injustice, calling the issue and climate change “twin crises” and encouraging Black interfaith leaders to come together to tackle these problems. Gore argued global warming poses burdens to communities of color and the poor and vulnerable, the outlet noted.
The former vice-president has used this line about the Book of Revelation before. In 2017, he invoked it during a town hall discussion during which he decried Republicans’ supposed “climate denial.”
“We are seeing pushback, now, and we are seeing a lot of changes with people who don’t want to engage in the argument. They don’t even feel comfortable using the phrase global warming,” he said. “But they understand…that they have an obligation to their kids, and every night on the network news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations. Even if the newscasters don’t connect the dots, people are saying, ‘Wait a minute. Something’s going on here.’”
While Gore and others routinely offer apocalyptic warnings, Americans hold differing views on processing climate information. In fact, the public’s opinion on global warming and climate change continues to be complex.
In 2022, 40% of American respondents told Gallup the seriousness of global warming is “generally underestimated,” but 38% said it is “generally exaggerated.” And while 43% worry “a great deal” about global warming or climate change, 35% worry very little or not at all.
Regardless of views on global warming and climate change, Gore’s use of the Revelation, the final book of the Bible, is intentional. The apocalyptic biblical book maps out the end of days, Jesus’ reign, and a new Heaven and Earth.
Throughout the text, the stirring imagery of what’s to come stands out, as prophecies tell believers what to expect — and some of the events preceding God making everything right are quite catastrophic.
Gore is clearly looking to connect that imagery to the weather patterns and other issues unfolding before us. Interestingly, Jesus also offered warnings about signs of the end times in the Gospels.
When Christ’s disciples asked about the circumstances surrounding the end of days, Jesus said in Luke 21:10-11 (ESV): “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
It will be interesting to see where these global warming conversations go next. However, the use of biblical references — especially in light of the contents of the referenced book — certainly stands out.