A new study shows that just one in ten Brits believe the Covid-19 crisis has strengthened their faith. The poll, conducted by Pew Research, asked 14,276 adults across 14 developed countries about the impact that the pandemic has had on their beliefs. Just 14 per cent of Britons said that the situation had strengthened their faith, compared to 28 per cent of Americans.
White evangelical Protestants were the most likely American sub-group to say that the crisis had bolstered their faith, with 49 per cent responding in the affirmative. In addition, five per cent of Americans who report no religious affiliation say their religious faith has increased due to the coronavirus outbreak. Countries with the lowest rates of those who felt like the pandemic had positively strengthened their faith include Sweden at three per cent and Denmark at just two per cent.
In Spain and Italy, classed as two of Western Europe’s more religious countries, approximately one in six people said their own religious faith has grown due to the pandemic.
On average, people across the 14 countries did not think that the crisis has had a distinctly positive impact on their faith, with 85 per cent of respondents saying their religious faith had not changed much as a result of the virus.
"In some countries, significantly more people say their country has experienced religious renewal than say they themselves have greater religious faith," Pew noted. "In the Netherlands, 17 per cent say their country has become more religious, even though just seven per cent of Dutch adults say they, personally, are now more religious. In Sweden, 15 per cent say the religious faith in their country is stronger, compared with three per cent who say they themselves have experienced stronger religious faith."
Pew also discovered that many people felt that other areas of their support network were being bolstered through the crisis. Indeed, 41 per cent in both the UK and US indicated that they were much more likely to say that family bonds had been strengthened during the pandemic.
"Religion is by no means the only way people cope with crisis," the group explained. "Family relationships are often a bulwark of support. And as many families in countries surveyed remain confined to their homes because of mandated work from home and closed or virtual schools, more people say their relationships with immediate family members have become stronger than say these relationships have weakened."