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Can prayer determine the will of God?
Results from the Preliminary Study
Results of the same-sex marriage (SSM) study:
Total replies received: 85.
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
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.
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
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.
Initial belief about same-sex marriage:
49 (65%) of all subjects favored SSM.
26 (35%) of all subjects opposed SSM.
Everyone had an opinion.
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.
Divisions by wing:
Among the 40 religious liberals, all but 3 (7%) favored SSM.
Among the 23 religious conservatives, all but 3 (13%) opposed
Among this latter group of 3, one is gay and one is bisexual.
Among the 20 heterosexual conservative Christians, all opposed SSM.
Division by sexual orientation:
11 (15%) of the subjects were bisexual.
7 (9%) were gay or lesbian.
58 (77%) were heterosexual.
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.
The most significant result, in the author's opinion, is that:
All of those who personally favored SSM found that God
also favored it.
All of those who personally opposed SSM found that God
also opposes it.
God did not disagree with any of the participants' beliefs,
even though they are in conflict.
With few exceptions:
Religious liberals favor SSM.
Religious conservatives oppose SSM.
With no exceptions:
Heterosexual conservative Christians oppose SSM.
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:
All of those who are personally opposed to SSM reported that God agreed with
All of those favoring SSM also reported that God agreed with them.
None found that God took a intermediate position, saying that God
supported or opposed SSM depending upon the specifics of each