Nearly 80% of American Adults now believe in divine miracles, up from 70% just two decades ago.
A recent article by the Huffington Post cited a study to claim that nearly 80% of American Adults believed in divine miracles. This is alarming, and for many reasons. Even as religiousness goes down in the world, people are continuing to believe in illogical spiritual phenomena. A study found that nearly 70% of nonreligious people polled definitely or maybe believed that divine miracles happened.
First, there is no evidence whatsoever for miracles. When something unlikely happens, people may believe that it is because of divine intervention. A relative beats cancer. A child survives a natural disaster while everyone around them dies. Someone turns their life around and becomes a millionaire just when they need money most. The first happens with amazing frequency. The second is a catastrophe, not a miracle. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people died. Only one person survived, and everyone they loved is dead. The third has to do with random luck and personal effort. Any claim espousing a miracle that has any effect on the world can be tested, and if tested, will be found to be false.
Belief in miracles can be disastrous. Hundreds of children have died in the past 25 years because their parents did not bring them to a doctor, preferring instead to pray for divine intervention - a miracle, in other words. The number for children is shocking, but even more adults have died of faith healing. It's impossible to put a number on it because it can be difficult to distinguish between someone who just doesn't seek medical treatment and someone who tries to pray the sickness away.
An oft-ignored implication of believing in miracles is what it means for the granting of miracles. For someone who believes in miracles and prays for them, they view themselves as important in god's eyes. They are hoping that god will personally assist them in whatever they pray for. Prior to the 2010 Haitian earthquake, approximately 80% of the population believed in the abrahamic god. This stayed about the same during and after the disaster. Certainly some of those believers prayed. 300000 people died because of the earthquake, so using the aforementioned statistics, approximately 240000 believers in the abrahamic god died. With numbers like that, the lowest reasonable estimate of the number of people who prayed to survive, but died, has to be at least 20000. So, whenever someone prays for some little thing to go their way, by expecting intervention, they are implying that they believe that god will answer them, even though he ignored thousands of haitians back in 2010. They are implying that they are more important to their god than millions of other people with much greater need.
Belief in miracles is not a good thing, and it being on the rise is a very bad thing.