(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – Isolation from one another and public life as a whole during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, worsened by other measures such as mask mandates, hurt Americans’ faith in God, particularly among the youngest age group.
Only 81% of Americans now say that they believe in God, according to a recent public opinion poll by Gallup, leading four Christian leaders to explain in Fox News interviews why that has occurred.
While they attributed the decline in faith in God to many factors, they have dwelled in particular on the effects of the pandemic lockdowns.
Their main conclusion isn’t that Americans have lost faith in God because of the coronavirus but that the pandemic isolation has hurt their ability – particularly of the youngest adults – to learn about God and Christianity and practice their faith by getting together with other worshippers.
“I’ve talked to a lot of young people who say, ‘You know, all through this COVID thing, I’ve come to doubt whether God exists or what my relationship with God is,” said Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church.
“You cannot underestimate the power of relationships. So I think isolation has bred that sense of doubt,” he added.
The surveyed Christian leaders also said Americans, especially younger generations, need more time in their schedules for seeking God and practicing faith.
“People are continuing to search and continuing to think about the larger questions, but the lack of dedicated spaces and time set aside for that leads to the chaos that we see around us presently,” explained Rev. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., a former Lutheran pastor who is the president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“Even some of the people who identify themselves as Christians and say they believe in God and have accepted the gospel, for a lot of them, church and contemplation and worship have been squeezed out by the schedule in their lives,” reasoned Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville in East Texas and president of the Southern Baptist Convention.