Nearly three-in-ten Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened their religious faith.
In a Pew Research survey of 14 countries with advanced economies, it showed that about 28% of Americans claimed that the pandemic has bolstered their personal faith, a significantly higher figure than in other countries. In Spain, 16% of the respondents reported that their faith is stronger because of the pandemic. Only 3% Swedes and 2% Danes answered a stronger religious faith.
Pew said, “Religion continues to play a stronger role in American life than in many other economically developed countries.” This observation supports a previous Pew study published in October 2020 which showed that roughly a third, or 35%, of Americans said the pandemic bears lessons from God.
Religion continues to play a stronger role in American life than in many other economically developed countries. —Pew Research Center
Despite trends toward secularization in first-world countries, many Americans still hold on to their faith. Nearly half of Americans (49%) said religion is very important in their lives. In Australia, only 20% of adults shared the same passion, 17% in South Korea, and 9% in Japan.
Pew found three criteria which influenced how a person thought about how the pandemic affected his/her personal faith.
The survey showed that people’s own level of religious observance was a great factor on how they perceived the pandemic affected their faith. Those who were more religious were more likely to say that COVID-19 strengthened their faith compared to their less religious peers.
Forty-five percent of Americans who said their religion is an important part of their lives also said the pandemic has made their faith stronger, compared with 11% who think religion is less important.
Wealth and education also affected people’s opinion on the effect of the pandemic in their personal faith. According to Pew, “people with lower incomes and less education are somewhat more likely than others to say the pandemic has bolstered their religious faith.”
Of the five countries surveyed, those with less education in Spain are 11 points more likely to say that their personal faith has strengthened because of the pandemic; Italy (8 points), the US (7 points), France (5 points), and Japan (3 points).
In addition to personal faith, the pandemic also strengthened family bonds. Lockdowns, work from home, and online schooling compelled people to stay in their homes and spend time with their families. Pew said, ” A 14-country median of 32% say relationships have grown stronger, while just 8% say the opposite.” However, in 11 countries, majorities said the Coronavirus outbreak had not changed their relationship with their immediate family.
The survey was done last summer and more than 14,000 people were questioned by phone.