American believers see coronavirus as sign from God to change ways

God is using the coronavirus to tell us something, a new poll shows most religious Americans believe.

Two-thirds of U.S. residents who believe in God see the  pandemic as a divine message urging us to change our lifestyles, according to a poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll found 31% of Americans who believe in God feel “strongly” that the virus is God’s way of telling us to “change how we are living,” with another 31 percent believing so “somewhat,” according to the poll.

Evangelical Protestants are most likely to feel strongly that the virus contains deeper religious meaning, with 43 percent expressing that belief. Just 28 percent of both Catholics and mainline Protestants felt the same.

“When people get asked about God, they often interpret it immediately as power,” said Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale University, who helped design the new poll.

“And they answer the question saying, ‘Here’s where the power is to change the thing I experience.’”

Believers are also turning to God for protection. More than half of responders — 55 percent — believe at least somewhat that God would protect them from falling ill.

And African Americans were most likely among racial backgrounds sampled to believe the virus was a sign from God to change. Forty-seven percent say they feel that strongly, compared with 37% of Latino and 27% of white Americans responders to the survey.

The small sample size means only a few people from certain religions were sampled. The poll sample included 28 Protestants, 20 Roman Catholics. one Muslim and one Jew.


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