The survey on which the statistic above was based, as indicated in the Guardian article below, is a pretty reputable source: a collaboration between the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the University of Chicago Divinity School (the latter was probably appalled by the figure!). Click on the screenshot to read and weep:
. . . the findings of the poll. . . . indicate that people may also be searching for deeper meaning in the devastating outbreak.
Even some who don’t affiliate with organized religion, such as Lance Dejesus of Dallastown, Pennsylvania, saw a possible bigger message in the virus.
“It could be a sign, like ‘hey, get your act together’ – I don’t know,” said Dejesus, 52, who said he believes in God but doesn’t consider himself religious. “It just seems like everything was going in an OK direction and all of a sudden you get this coronavirus thing that happens, pops out of nowhere.” [JAC: Isn’t that the way all plagues start? What does that have to do with God?]
The poll found that 31% of Americans who believe in God feel strongly that the virus is a sign telling humanity to change, with the same number feeling that somewhat. Evangelical Protestants are more likely than others to believe that strongly, at 43%, compared with 28% of Catholics and mainline Protestants.
In addition, 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, regardless of education, income or gender. Forty-seven per cent say they feel that strongly, compared with 37% of Latino and 27% of white Americans.
Yes, we are meaning makers, but this is beyond belief. It’s actually the claim that God has killed over three hundred thousand people to impart a message to us. (Is the message: “be prepared for a pandemic?”) And did God have to kill off so many people to get that message across? Do poor people and blacks need it more than the privileged? I thought the poor were especially blessed! Were the Italians and Spanish especially in need of correction, while New Zealanders were exemplary? And why wouldn’t God spell out his message more clearly? For example, he could write it in the stars first without killing anyone: “Stop gay marriage NOW or I’ll afflict you with a plague the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
Even 28% of Catholics having that belief is appalling. And these data even more so:
Overall, 82% of Americans say they believe in God, and 26% of Americans say their sense of faith or spirituality has grown stronger as a result of the outbreak. Just 1% say it has weakened.
. . . Fifty-five per cent of American believers say they feel at least somewhat that God will protect them from being infected.
Both of these beliefs are palpable nonsense. Why would your belief in God increase when we have a pandemic whose cause is known? It’s not mysterious like the Black Death was in the fourteenth century . No, we know that it has a natural and predictable cause and spreads through naturalistic mechanisms. If your belief in God increases because he killed hundreds of thousands of people to impart a message whose content isn’t know, you’re hankering after an odious god!