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Survey: Most Americans Don’t Think God Is Responsible for Bad Things

A new Pew Research poll found that while most Americans believe in God, very few hold Him responsible for the bad things that happen in life.

Instead, Americans tend to think pain and suffering are the result of either individual choices, structural issues or some mix of both. 61 percent of respondents said “suffering is mostly a consequence of people’s own actions,” while 69 percent said “suffering is mostly a result of the way society is structured.” A little over half said it’s both.

“People tell us they think a lot of suffering is just part of life,” said Gregory A. Smith, associate director of research at Pew. “A lot of suffering is caused by people or systems people have created.”

Overall, Pew found that Americans’ belief in God has held steady at about 91 percent for years now — just as beliefs in Heaven (73 percent) and Hell (62 percent) have. But this was the first year that Pew started asking about suffering (wonder why?) and what they found is that surprisingly few Americans are troubled by the famous “Problem of Evil” — why a good God would allow bad things to happen.
Most Americans say the suffering in the world comes from people — not God. For the most part, Catholics' views reflect those of other Americans.
80 percent of Americans say people — not God — are responsible for suffering, while 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively, say suffering is part of God’s plan or is Satan’s fault. Only a slim minority — 16 percent — say suffering makes them doubt God’s power or His love. Meanwhile, 70 percent say they either rarely or never feel angry at God when bad things happen.
You can read the rest of the study here.

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