Survey Finds Americans Turning to TV, Movies to Cope With Coronavirus Rather Than Bible

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WASHINGTON — A survey conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center finds that Americans by far are turning to television and movies to help themselves cope with the coronavirus pandemic rather than spending their time in the Scriptures.

The nonpartisan organization surveyed 10,211 adults at random from July 13 to 19 to analyze how the novel coronavirus has impacted worship practices among Americans.

Section two of Pew Research Center’s report centers on the activities that respondents engage in to help them get through the crisis.

“Large segments of the public are regularly watching TV or movies and spending time outside to help cope with the coronavirus outbreak,” it outlines. “Nine-in-ten U.S. adults say they watch TV or movies at least weekly to cope with the outbreak, including roughly three-quarters (73%) who say they do this daily.”

57% said they spend time outside daily and 27% said they do so weekly.

Smaller numbers said that they talk on the phone or videoconference family and/or friends — 34% daily and 36% weekly — and similarly, 34% of Americans stated that they exercise daily as a means to get through this unique season.

While 43% of participants said that they pray daily as a means to cope with the pandemic, only 17% stated that they read the Bible daily. An even smaller number, 12%, said that they read it weekly and 5% said they read the Scriptures at least once a month.

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More than half, or 55%, said that they never read the Bible to help get through the pandemic.

The figures were naturally improved for those who identified as Christian, but still showed that many are not turning to the Bible for truth and comfort.

“Many Christian adults pray and read Scripture to help with the stresses of the pandemic, although regular prayer is more common than Scripture reading across the board,” the report states. “More than eight-in-ten Protestants in the evangelical (83%) and historically Black (88%) traditions say they pray at least weekly, as do smaller majorities of Catholics (66%) and mainline Protestants (65%).”

However, “[m]ost members of the historically Black Protestant tradition (59%) and evangelicals (57%) say they read Scripture at least weekly to help cope with the pandemic, but far fewer mainline Protestants (29%) or Catholics (27%) say this.”

And when it came to television and movie watching as a coping mechanism, many of those who identified themselves as Christ-followers were no different than the rest of those surveyed.

View the questions as asked here. 

View the report in full here.

“Across all religious and [age and gender] demographic groups analyzed, majorities say they watch TV or movies, spend time outdoors, talk on the phone or by videoconference with family or friends, and exercise regularly to help cope with the coronavirus outbreak,” the Pew Research Center notes.

It made little difference whether the respondents were young or elderly, or men or women, when it came to their Scripture reading habits.

Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

2 Timothy 2:15 also exhorts, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

In Hosea 4:6, God lamented over Israel, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…”


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