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Coronavirus and How People Are Viewing God

Updated on February 22, 2021
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes Bible lessons and motivational articles.

When tragedy strikes, usually people view God in different ways. They might even change how they think and behave. Sometimes those changes are positive. However, sometimes the changes might also be negative.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused some people to think hard about what they believe. The virus has prompted some Americans to reevaluate their beliefs. Some have gotten closer to God while others have drifted away.

According to Forbes on May 15, 2020, two-thirds of Americans who believe in God feel that the coronavirus is a message from God for humanity to change its ways. That percentage indicates that one in every 10 people blames the pandemic on “human sinfulness.”

About the Study

The poll took place nationwide between April 30 and May 4, 2020 by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey was conducted using 1,002 adults with interviews conducted online and on the telephone.

What the Polls Show

The recent poll shows that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many people all over the world to believe that God is sending a message for individuals to change how they have been living.

The poll shows that people may be contemplating what God is saying through this crisis that is causing sickness, death, loss of jobs, and economic hardship for millions. No one is exempt because the Bible says, "It rains on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Religious leaders are succumbing just as rapidly to COVID-19 as unbelievers.

The poll shows that only 2 percent say they believe more in God since the pandemic even though they didn't believe in Him before the virus began to spread. Fewer than 1 percent say they do not believe in God now even though they believed in God before the pandemic. Some people are abandoning their beliefs altogether.

Organized Religions

People affiliated with organized religions are affected just as those who are not. The survey showed that some people are believing that there is a possible message in the pandemic. One man says he believes in God, but he doesn't consider himself religious. He stated, “It could be a sign telling people to get their act together."

About 63 percent of those who believe in God say they feel God is telling humanity to change the way it is living, and 55 percent believe God will protect them from becoming infected.

Nearly 43 percent of people blame the current situation on foreign governments and 37 percent blame the United States government. However, 11 percent believe it is the result of human sinfulness.

White Evangelical Christians are less likely than others to believe God has abandoned them. They make up only 3 percent who believe that. About 67 percent of them are more likely than other Americans to feel that God will protect them.


According to the nationwide survey, 82 percent of Americans say they believe in God, and 26 percent of Americans say their faith has grown much stronger since the pandemic outbreak. Only just 1 percent says their faith has weakened.

About 57 percent of Americans who pray regularly say they are praying just as much now as they have been in the habit of doing. In fact, they say their prayer life is about the same as last year when there was no pandemic. The other 43 percent who have never prayed before say they are praying now.

The poll shows that most Evangelical Protestants believe in God and strongly feel that the virus is a sign from God telling them to change compared to 28 percent of Catholics and other Protestants.

Fifty-five percent of American believers say they feel that God will keep them from being infected. Marcia Howl, 73, a Methodist and granddaughter of a minister, said she feels God’s protection but not certain that it would save her from the virus.

Black Americans

The COVID-19 virus has disproportionately exposed minorities to the virus. According to the poll, 49 percent of black Americans are more likely than those of other racial backgrounds to say they feel strongly that the virus is a sign God wants them to change. The poll shows that 34 percent of Latino and 20 percent of white Americans feel the same way.

David Emmanuel Goatley, a professor at Duke University’s divinity school said religious black Americans' view of godly protection more than likely conveys “confidence or hope that God is able to provide.”

Goatley also directs the school’s Office of Black Church Studies. He related that there is a distinction between how religious black Americans and religious white Americans view their relationship with God.

What People Are Doing

Most places of worship have stopped having in-person services as the virus continues to spread. However, 34 percent of Americans believe prohibiting in-person religious services violates their freedom of religion. Even so, they are creating new ways to worship, including virtual worship services and drive-in gatherings to express their faith.

People are adapting to fulfilling their spiritual needs without face-to-face contact. This includes private prayer and regularly worshiping with others through online religious services.

Feel free to share your viewpoints below in the comments section concerning COVID-19 and God.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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