Portraits of American Life Study
Hosted by The ARDA
The PALS seeks to understand the impact of religion in everyday life, and ultimately the connections between religious change and other forms of change among diverse individuals and families over the course of their lives.

Relationship with God (2006)

The following questions were asked of those who stated religion or religious faith was at least “somewhat important” to them personally.

About 70% have a meaningful relationship with God.

Over 80% believe God loves and cares about them.

Half of the population has never felt God punished them for their sins.

About half of the population has had doubts about their faith at some time.

About 40% have wondered, at least once, whether God abandoned them. When this wondering occurred only “sometimes” or less, 60 to 70% of respondents strongly agreed that God loved and cared about them. When the wondering about abandonment occurred as frequently as “very often” there was less agreement about God’s love and care for them.

Based on further analysis, we found that even when struggles in life cause Americans to occasionally doubt their faith or feel God has left them, they return to their relationship with God and view God as loving and caring. To what do you attribute this persistence in faith?


Give us your feedback!

Through out these sections, we invite you to enter the discussion about these findings and what their implications may be. Click on the COMMENT link to send your thoughts to pals@rice.edu. Where appropriate we will include comments for others to read and discuss. Names of contributors will not be posted, but, if you like, include your religious tradition.