Poll: 63% of religious Americans believe COVID-19 is a message from God

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Most religious Americans in the United States believe God sent the COVID-19 pandemic as a warning for humanity to changes its ways.

Just as churches were full in the weekends immediately following the 2001 terrorist attacks, so are people taking a new look at their faith amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to a survey by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, some two-thirds of American believers of all faiths think that God may be telling humanity to change how it looks at life.

The virus has killed more than 85,000 Americans, and the response to the virus — arguably just as bad — is causing economic hardship for millions more.

The poll found that among the two-thirds (or 63 percent of those polled), 31 percent of Americans who call themselves believers feel strongly that the virus is a message from God telling humanity to change, with the same number feeling that somewhat strongly. Evangelical Protestants were more likely than others to believe that strongly, at 43 percent, compared with 28 percent of Catholics and mainstream Protestants.

The question was asked of all Americans who said they believe in God, without specifying specific faiths. The poll’s sample size was not large enough to reliably reflect faiths with fewer U.S. adherents, like Muslims and Jews.

Interestingly, black Americans were more likely than those of other racial backgrounds to say they feel the virus is a sign God wants humanity to change. Forty-seven percent say they feel that strongly, compared with 37 percent of Latino and 27 percent of white Americans.

The COVID-19 virus has disproportionately affected black Americans. That reality appears to have caused more questioning among that racial group; the poll found black Americans who believe in God are more likely than others to say they have felt doubt about God’s existence as a result of the outbreak. Some 27 percent said that, compared with 13 percent of Latinos and 11 percent of white Americans.

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