God told me to, say 38% of Americans

October 25, 2013, 1:34 PM UTC

38% of Americans say that they have done something because God told them to, while more than half of people who believe in God say that the deity sometimes controls weather and disasters

New research from YouGov America suggests that many people in the United States believe God plays an active role in their lives. 

Out of the 76% of Americans who said that they personally believe in the existence of a God, half say that they have at least once before done something because God told them to. Including non-believers, this makes up 38% of the entire country. 

The group most likely to have acted on God's command are 'born-again' or evangelical Christians, who make up about a third of Americans. Almost two-thirds (65%) of born-again Christians say God has told them to do something at least once before. Only a quarter (25%) of the remaining population have ever had the same experience.

In broader religious terms, Protestants (56%) are much more likely than Catholics (39%) to say that they have done things under the instruction of God.

Republicans are also among the most likely to say God has told them to do something, as 42% do. However, the belief is nearly as common among Democrats (40%), and is actually least common among Independents (37%). 

A Closer Look

Few Americans say that this happens very frequently, with only 10% of people who believe in God  saying 'all the time' and another 16% saying 'most of the time'. 


24% say that they have never done something because God told them to, while 26% either do not know or prefer not to say.

Believers are more likely to say that God often controls the weather and disasters: 31% of people who believe in God say that he controls weather or disasters 'all of the time', while only 17% say that he never does.  

Out of all Americans (including people who do not believe in God), a total of 40% believe that God at least sometimes controls weather or disasters.

Last month, YouGov found that half of Americans believe in possession by the devil, along with 18% of British people

Image: Getty.

See the full poll results