In times of crisis and uncertainty people often turn to religion. It can offer comfort and consolation, as well as support from the community. Additionally, it can help people make sense of traumatic events that can seem meaningless at first by giving people answers that simply can not be given by science. So it comes as no surprise that during the onset of covid many people found comfort in faith.
What does come as a surprise however, is the recent decline in faith we see in a new survey from Germany. It found the longer the pandemic went on, the more people seemed to lose their faith in god. In a total sample of 4,693 people, surveyed multiple times during the pandemic, trust in a Higher Source, as well as praying and meditation decreased. During the course of the survey, from June 2020 to November 2021, the amount of people saying they lost faith in a higher power rose from 3% up to 21.5%.
The researchers hypothesise that the loss of faith is most likely because of people’s isolation of churches and social ties. Whenever people are separated from the place they practice and share their beliefs, they find different ways to practice spirituality or simply move away from it. This explanation is indicative for what has been happening worldwide; a shift away from communal religion towards a more individual experience of spirituality. The need for spirituality and transcendence remains a fundamental human need, yet individualisation and secularisation transform the religious experience into something that focuses stronger on self-discovery and tools to handle daily life. Illustrated by the rise in astrology and mindfulness.