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Determining God's will through prayer

Pilot study: design & data

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This data is for a pilot study to determine whether people can assess the will of God through prayer.

Design of the study:

Our survey was conducted by Email. We placed a request on our "help us" page, asking people to take part in a study of prayer. The survey's main purpose was explained as an assessment of "the will of God on the topic of same-sex marriage." A secondary purpose was to determine how certain that the participants "feel that they have understood God's will." We mailed an identical form to each person who wrote us asking to be included in the study. Subjects were thus self-selected. The form asked the participant:
  1. Whether they were personally in favor of or opposed to same-sex marriages.
  2. What their sexual orientation is: heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual.
  3. What is their prime religious affiliation: Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc.
  4. Whether they viewed themselves as a religious liberal, "mainliner" or conservative.
  5. To pray about same-sex marriage, seeking Gods will on the matter.
  6. To wait until they had determined God's will (or had given up trying).
  7. To state whether they had likely determined God's will. If so, then:
  8. Whether they believed that God is in favor of gay & lesbian marriages, and 
  9. How certain they were that they had determined God's will on this matter. 

We promised to not publish any identifying information about the subjects. The test started in 1999-JUL. At first, most of the responses were from religious liberals. Few religious conservatives participated --probably because very few religious conservative visit our web site. On 2000-JAN-1, we asked that only religious conservatives reply to our survey. We terminated data collection on 2000-JAN-27, having received 75 responses.

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Raw data -- Subjects #1 to 30:

  Query 1 Query 2 Query 3 Query 4 Query 7 Query 8 Query 9
Subject Their Belief Their Orientation Their Religion Their Wing Prayer Succeed? God's Response How Certain?
1 Y B C L Y Y V
2 Y B Satanism L Y Y C
3 Y G C L Y Y C
4 Y H Wicca L Y Y C
5 Y H C L N - -
6 Y H Unitarian L Y Y V
7 Y H C L N - -
8 Y G C L Y Y V
9 Y H None - N - -
10 N H C M N - -
11 Y H Wiccan L N - -
12 Y H C L N - -
13 Y H Agnostic L N - -
14 Y H Arican C Y Y C
15 Y H C L Y Y F
16 N H Meditation L N - -
17 Y G C L Y Y V
18 Y H Wiccan L N - -
19 N H C C Y N -
20 Y G C L Y Y V
21 Y H Wiccan L Y Y C
22 Y H Humanist L N - -
23 Y H Neopagan L N - -
24 Y B Atheist L N - -
25 Y H Wiccan L Y Y N
26 Y H Other L Y Y C
27 Y H Unitarian L - - -
28 Y H Atheist - - - -
29 Y H Atheist L - - -
30 N H C M Y N C

Data for subjects 31 to 75 are located elsewhere

Codes used:

bulletQuestion 1: Whether they approved of homosexual marriage when the started filling out the survey form (Y or N).
bulletQuestion 2:  Sexual orientation: H = Heterosexual; G = gay or lesbian; B = Bisexual.
bulletQuestion 3: Religion: C = Christian.
bulletQuestion 4: Religious wing: L = Liberal; C = Conservative; M = mainline.
bulletQuestion 7: Were they successful in assessing the will of God (Y or N). 
bulletQuestion 8: Whether God approved of homosexual marriage: (Y or N).
bulletQuestion 9: How certain were they that they had accurately determined the will of God: N = not sure at all; S = somewhat sure, F = fairly sure, V = very sure, C = certain?

Site navigation:

Home page > Science vs. religion > God's will > here

 Home page > Christianity > Christian history, etcPrayer > God's will > here

or Home page > Religious Information > PracticesPrayer > God's will > here

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