God Causes Natural Disasters According to 44% of Americans
They believe that everything on this earth is controlled by God. 44 percent of the Americans believe that He is the one which causes the natural disasters to occur. These people believe that the natural disasters are signs which indicate the fact that God is mad at us. However, only 29 percent of the Americans believe that God is cruel and vengeful. Scott Schieman, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who studies people’s beliefs about God’s influence on daily life, said that it is very common for people to associate a natural disaster with the wrath of God. They usually do not like to accept the fact that some things in the Universe could be random. They need an explanation for everything, and in the majority of the cases that explanation is God.
The researchers surveyed 1,008 adults from the United States of America, days after the earthquake which affected Japan. The researchers chose people of various age, sexes, geographic regions, education levels, and races, in order to see if all the people from the country share the same belief. The researchers discovered the fact that the evangelical people were more likely to associate a natural disaster with the wrath of God than the other religions from the country. 59 percent of the evangelical Christians believed that God caused the disasters, whereas only 34 percent of the Protestants and 31 percent of the Orthodox Christians had the same belief. 44 percent of the ones, who participated to the survey, said that the natural disaster could indicate the approach of the End of Days; the Apocalypse as it is described in the Bible.
67 percent of the evangelical people have the same belief. David Foy, a psychologist at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, said that it is very common for the people who interpret the Bible in a very literal manner to make the connection between these events and God. Dr. Foy, who has studied for a very long time the religious coping and post-traumatic stress disorder, said that the poll should be interpreted with much care. He believes that the data is not conclusive enough because it does not represent the Protestants and the Catholics very well. 53 percent of the white evangelists and 20 percent of the Christians believed that God punishes an entire nation for the sins the people from that country did. Dr. Foy said that the people who make this association often have a difficult time coping with a tragedy. They do not know who to make responsible for the things which just happened, so they choose God. They do not blame Him for the things which occurred, but they consider the event to be a showcase of His powers.
He said that the people, who believe that God is responsible for the tragedies which usually happen in the world, are the same ones who offer 100 percent credit to God for everything else which occurs on our planet, and even in their daily lives. These people do not take credit for the majority of the things which they do in life. If they got a high grade, then God was responsible for it, if they found a store opened, God was responsible. If something bad happened to them, then that was the Lord’s will. According to Dr. Foy, this mentality can be pretty damaging. On the other side of the specter there are the people who do not consider God to be responsible for the things which happen in our lives. They consider Him to be in charge of our lives, but who does not interfere with them. He does not start tsunamis or earthquakes all of a sudden, because He felt like it. Schieman said that it isn’t certain if people feel better because they believe that God is the one who caused the appearance of these disasters.
In fact, the effects of this mentality are unknown. Schieman said that people who believe in God and who consider Him to be the one who makes the decisions in one’s life, but who do not go to church, feel that they do not have too much control over their destiny. The ones who believe in God and who consider Him to be the one who makes the decisions in one’s life, but who go to church, consider themselves to be the ones responsible for their lives. He said that the conception about God is very important, because it can be difficult for some to see God as a caring deity who is capable of triggering such destructive events. Foy said that the people who believe that God is in charge, but who do not consider Him responsible for every little thing which happens in their life are the ones who are the healthiest.11