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Two-Thirds of Worshippers See Coronavirus as Message from God

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Two-Thirds of Worshippers See Coronavirus as Message from God

2020-05-15 22:51:56

Image: Man worshipping in church (Image source: Public domain)

When we're in the midst of a tragedy, such as the coronavirus pandemic, we have a tendency to ask why, why this is happening. A study found that for two-thirds of worshippers, they answer the question believing the virus is a message from God to do better. 

A poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that people are looking for a deeper meaning in trying to apply answers to the novel coronavirus.

"It could be a sign, like, 'hey, get your act together — I don't know," said Lance Dejesus of Dallastown, Pennsylvania, who doesn't even affiliate with organized religion. "It just seems like everything was going in an okay direction, and all of a sudden you get this coronavirus thing that happens, pops out of nowhere." 

The poll's results show that 31 percent of Americans who believe in God feel strongly that the virus is a sign telling humanity it needs to change.

This is despite most places of worship halting in-person services while sheltering in place, with some getting their worshipping in through drive-in events and online. Some are just worshipping in private. 

A professor of religious studies at Yale University, Kathryn Lofton, believes the high number of people believing COVID-19 is a sign from God are doing so out of "fear that if we don't change, this misery will continue."

Personally, I'm caught between my beliefs with this. For one, I am a believer in everything happening for a reason. But when I apply that to the coronavirus, I can't make sense of it.  

The god that I believe in wouldn't want all this suffering and continual, ongoing suffering at that. I just can't see a god observing this and saying you need to do better or more people will die.

But I can't answer the why either. It could definitely be said that there's a message that we all need to do better. The question is where that message originates from. Is it from a higher power? 

There's also a question left behind of what will happen to places of worship when all is said and done. Life will indelibly change. There's no way it can't. Crowded gatherings will never be looked at the same again.

Will churches have the directions painted on the floors and the pews showing how far apart to sit? What happens for those religions who take communion? Will anyone feel right sharing in this manner? 

Above all, what about the part in many ceremonies where parishioners are told to be welcoming to their neighbors, and turn and shake hands with strangers sitting around them? Will this be removed from services? Or will everyone douse themselves with hand sanitizer afterward?

Certainly, that is not part of the sign from above. God certainly was not giving everyone a sign to distance. What will happen to "love thy neighbor?" 

Regardless of where the sign came from, god or another entity, or just deep within ourselves, it's a poignant one that should be adhered to. There is always room for improvement. We can always do better, and right now we must.

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