Can prayer determine the will of God?

Results from the Preliminary Study

Results of the same-sex marriage (SSM) study:

  1. Total replies received: 85. 

  2. Margin of error: IF the subjects in this test had been selected at random, then we could compute the margin of error in the study. "The margin of error in a [randomly selected] sample = 1 divided by the square root of the number of people in the sample." Thus, with 75 responses, the margin of error would have been 1/ 75 exp -0.5 = .115 = 11.5%. 1,2 This means an individual survey would have been accurate to within 11.5%, 19 times out of 20. Thus, if the poll had been taken from a random sample of adults and were repeated 20 times, with the same number of contributors, a given value would be within 11.5% of the original value, for 19 of the 20 repeats. However, the subjects were self-selected. Although their beliefs covered a wide range, they could not be considered a random sample. So the margin of error calculation is relatively meaningless.

  3. Religious makeup: 40 (53%) identified themselves as Christians; 10 (13%) were Wiccan; 3 (4%) Atheists; 2 (3%) Agnostics; 20 (35%) were NOTAs (none of the above; unaffiliated with a religious group). Christians were somewhat under-represented and Wiccans were greatly over-represented when compared to the general population. This is to be expected because of the religious profile of visitors to this web site at the time of the study.

  4. Wing: 40 (53%) rated themselves as religiously liberal; 23 (31%) as conservative; 6 (8%) as mainline; 6 (8%) did not answer the question. Liberals were over-represented; conservatives and mainliners were under-represented.

  5. Assessed the will of God?: 51 (68%) felt that they had probably assessed the will of God; 19 (25%) felt that they were unsuccessful; 5 (7%) did not respond.

  6. Initial belief about same-sex marriage (SSM): 
    bullet 49 (65%) of all subjects favored allowing two persons of the same biological sex to marry each other.

    bullet 26 (35%) of all subjects opposed allowing two persons of the same biological sex to marry each other.  
    bullet Everyone had an opinion.

  7. How certain were they? Of the 50 (67%) subjects who felt that they had assessed the will of God, most were confident that they had done so correctly. 33 (66%) were certain; 10 (20%) were very sure; only 7 (14%) were fairly sure, somewhat sure, or not sure at all.

  8. Divisions by wing:
    bullet Among the 40 religious liberals, all but 3 (7%) favored SSM.

    bullet Among the 23 religious conservatives, all but 3 (13%) opposed SSM.
    bullet Among this latter group of 3, one is gay and one is bisexual.

    bullet Among the 20 heterosexual conservative Christians, all opposed SSM.

  9. Division by sexual orientation:
    bullet 11 (15%) of the subjects were bisexual.

    bullet 7 (9%) were gay or lesbian.

    bullet 58 (77%) were heterosexual.

    bullet If one assumes that about 5% of the population has a homosexual orientation and that 5% are bisexual, then gays, lesbians and bisexuals were over-represented in the study.

    bullet All of the gays and lesbians favored SSM.

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star symbolSummary of the study:

bullet The most significant result, in the author's opinion, is that:
bullet ALL of those who personally favored SSM found that God also favored it.

bullet ALL of those who personally opposed SSM found that God also opposes it.

bullet God did not disagree with any of the participants' beliefs, even though they are in conflict.

bulletAlmost always:
bullet Religious liberals favor SSM.

bullet Religious conservatives oppose SSM.

bullet With no exceptions:
bullet Heterosexual conservative Christians oppose SSM.

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The main finding:

Although the sample size was small, one result was striking: Of the 68% of the participants who believed that they assessed the will of God, every person found that God agreed with their personal stance on SSM:

bullet All of those who are personally opposed to SSM reported that God agreed with them.

bullet All of those favoring SSM also reported that God agreed with them.

bullet None found that God took a intermediate position, saying that God supported or opposed SSM depending upon the specifics of each individual case.


  1. "The margin of error calculator," at:
  2. "So how come a survey of 1,600 people can tell me what 250 million are thinking," at:

Copyright 2000 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2020-OCT-07.
Author: B.A. Robinson

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