According to a new poll by Lifeway Research, over a third of Americans said their faith is what has given them hope throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The poll, titled "American Views on Emotions and Adversity," is based on interviews with more than 1,200 American adults and was conducted last September.
According to The Christian Post, respondents were asked to answer the question, “What has given you hope during the adversity you have seen during 2020?"
The results found that the "kindness people have shown" was the highest source of hope for Americans (40 percent), followed by "relationships" (38 percent), "my religious faith" (36 percent) and stable finances (33 percent).
In contrast, fewer Americans found their hope in the knowledge of experts and scientists (19 percent), recreation, leisure or fun (17 percent), new opportunities (14 percent), their work (13 percent) or the research they’ve done on their own (10 percent).
Lifeway also asked respondents to reveal which feelings they want to avoid the most. More than four out of 10 Americans responded that they most want to avoid “fear” (41 percent). A high number of respondents also revealed that they most want to avoid “shame” (24 percent) and “guilt” (22 percent). Twelve percent of respondents, however, said they were unsure of which feelings they wanted to avoid the most.
The findings differed from Lifeway's 2016 survey of over 1,000 Americans in which “shame” (38 percent) was found to be the common feeling Americans most wanted to avoid, followed by "guilt" (31 percent) and then "fear" (30 percent).
“For many Americans, circumstances in 2020 led to an increased focus on their fears,” Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell said in a statement. “Many feared getting COVID; others feared social unrest during protests; and politicians played on people’s fears in ads and speeches.”
Regarding respondents with evangelical beliefs, 76 percent were more likely to consider “religious faith” as their source of hope. Respondents attending worship services four or more times per month also based their hope on their religious faith (74 percent).
“About half as many Americans who identify with a religious faith credit that faith with giving them hope during 2020,” McConnell noted. “The Christian faith points followers of Jesus to a more hopeful future, which should shine even brighter during dark times.”
When asked what they most desired in life, Americans overall chose “personal freedom” (36 percent), a desire to “overcome'' (32 percent), and “respect” (24 percent).
Further, 40 percent of Christians attending services once a month noted a desire for “personal freedom,” whereas, among Christians attending services one to three times per month, just 29 percent stated a desire for “personal freedom.”
“The events of 2020 led some to reevaluate their priorities, with fewer desiring respect. But most responded from what was already a priority for them,” McConnell explained.
“Resistance to social distancing mandates was likely motivated by the desire for personal freedom,” he added. “Speaking up about racial injustice was likely motivated by the desire to overcome power differences in society.”
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.