NASHVILLE (BP) — When natural disasters occur, most Americans take increased interest in God and donate to relief agencies — and they trust faith-based agencies more than their secular counterparts. A third also believe prayer can avert natural disasters.
Those are among the findings of a LifeWay Research survey conducted days after an historic EF5 tornado devastated parts of Oklahoma May 20, killing two dozen people and causing billions of dollars in damages.
According to the study, commissioned by LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum, a third of Americans increase their trust in God during times of suffering. In response to the question, “How do you feel about God when suffering occurs that appears unfair?” the most common response is “I trust God more” (33 percent). Other responses include:
— “I am confused about God” (25 percent).
— “I don’t think about God in these situations” (16 percent).
— “I wonder if God cares” (11 percent).
— “I doubt God exists” (7 percent).
— “I am angry toward God” (5 percent).
— “I am resentful toward God” (3 percent).
“Disasters, particularly natural disasters, perplex all of us,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “While some call them ‘acts of God,’ others question why a good and loving God would do such a thing.
The fact is, God does not give us all the answers.
“But, as Christians, we believe that God gives us Himself — and that is why we have faith,” Stetzer said. “Faith is believing God when you don’t have all the answers. But disasters test that faith — some people draw closer to God, some pull away.”
LifeWay reported Southerners, frequent church attendees and those without a college degree are likely to trust God more during disasters, while younger Americans are more likely to doubt God exists.
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