If miracles happen, why aren’t they more obvious?
If miracles don’t happen, why are we talking about them?
At some point in most people’s lives, the prospect of a miracle becomes important. Times of crises, challenges to religious belief, and questions about how the world works all cause us to ask whether miracles are real and whether they occur with sufficient force and frequency to make a difference in our lives.
In the following survey, a miracle is defined as an event or act that defies ordinary explanation and whose occurrence seems to require some influence or power outside nature.
This survey appeared for a time on a well-known educational website. Similarly constructed forced-choice surveys, such as one about political correctness (The Political Correctness Inventory, or PCI), elicited a ninety-five percent response rate of visitors willing to take that survey.
By contrast, only two percent of visitors to this miracles survey typically ended up taking it. People, it seems, put miracles into a very private box within their souls, not wanting to share this information widely, and perhaps not even with themselves.
This survey doesn’t just ask whether people think miracles are real, but inquires deeply into the role that miracles actually play in their lives as well as the degree to which such miracles are clear and powerful.
For each survey entry below, choose the option that better applies to you. This is a forced choice test, so you need to choose one of the two options presented. You may not feel comfortable with either option, but choose the one that is closer to your actual views. The more miracle-accepting answer is marked with a hash sign (#) — add one for each such answer.
The aim of this survey is to examine people’s views and experiences of miracles. It was constructed as part of the research on a forthcoming book titled THE FACES OF MIRACLES. The survey is short and will take only a few minutes to complete.
I have never believed in miracles.
There have been times in my life when I believed in miracles.#
Miracles happen in the here and now.#
Miracles do not happen in the here and now.
People who think miracles happen are deluded.
It’s reasonable to think that miracles happen.#
Even if miracles happen, they play but a trivial role in the world.
Miracles happen and play an important role in the world.#
Miracles may have happened in the past but don’t happen any more.
Miracles happened in the past and still happen today.#
Moses and Jesus actually did the miracles ascribed to them.#
Miracle stories about Moses and Jesus are just that, stories.
Miracles that happened in the past were a lot more astonishing than those happening today.#
Miracles as astonishing as those that happened in the past still happen today.
What we call miracles are just puzzling coincidences with natural explanations.
What we call miracles are events caused by powers outside nature.#
The overwhelming majority of miracle claims are false.
Miracles happen more often than we might think.#
People who believe in miracles are gullible.
People can have good reasons to believe in miracles.#
Intelligent people tend to disbelieve in miracles.
Intelligent people believe in at least some miracles.#
There’s nothing that could make me believe in miracles.
I can imagine some event or evidence that would get me to believe in miracles.#
I personally have experienced a miracle.#
I have never experienced a miracle.
I personally know someone (a person other than myself) who I’m convinced has experienced a miracle.#
For all I know, no acquaintance of mine (a person other than myself) has experienced a miracle.
At some point in my life I thought that I had experienced a miracle.#
I’ve never thought that I had experienced a miracle.
I have prayed for a miracle at least once in my life.#
I have never prayed for a miracle.
I prayed a long time for a particular miracle to happen.#
I’ve never prayed long for a particular miracle to happen.
I really could have used a miracle in my life but it never happened.
I really needed a miracle in my life and it happened.#
Praying helps miracles to occur.#
Praying is irrelevant to miracles occurring.
Miracles are more likely to occur at shrines or sacred places.#
Miracles are no more likely to occur at shrines or sacred places.
To believe that a miracle might happen sets you up for disappointment when it doesn’t happen.
Belief in miracles can inspire hope and strength.#
If you are seeking a miracle, never give up.#
If you are seeking a miracle and not getting it, try something else.
Someone close to me has been miraculously healed.#
No one close to me has been miraculously healed.
I personally have witnessed someone miraculously healed.#
I have never witnessed anybody miraculously healed.
So-called miracles that happen these days are not mind-blowing.
Mind-blowing miracles like blind eyes opening or quadriplegics walking happen today.#
I have evidence of a miracle that should convince any reasonable person that it happened.#
I lack convincing evidence that a miracle has happened.
I have physical proof such as a video recording or x-ray that a miracle has happened.#
I lack physical proof that a miracle has happened.
Famous people who have career-ending injuries or sicknesses never seem to miraculously recover.
Famous people who have career-ending injuries or sicknesses sometimes miraculously recover.#
People with amputated limbs never see them grow back miraculously.
People with amputated limbs sometimes see them grow back miraculously.#
Miracles are usually subtle: those with faith see them, those without faith miss them.#
If miracles were real, they’d be so obvious that no one would doubt them.
I know someone on full disability who was miraculously healed and got off disability.#
All the people I know on full disability are either dead or still on it.
I’ve learned some things supernaturally, bypassing ordinary communication channels.#
All the things I’ve learned have come to me naturally, through ordinary communication channels.
I’ve experienced a lot of miracles in my life.#
I’ve experienced few if any miracles in my life.
Miracles are so rare that it’s better to live life as though they didn’t happen.
Miracles happen often enough that it’s important to keep a sharp lookout for them.#
Science has shown us that miracles don’t occur.
Science is irrelevant to the occurrence or non-occurrence of miracles.#
I personally have performed or helped bring about a miracle.#
I have never performed or helped bring about a miracle.
A friend or family member (someone besides me) has performed or helped bring about a miracle.#
No friend or family member (someone besides me) has performed or helped bring about a miracle.
I have never witnessed a miracle; or if I have, I kept it secret.
I have witnessed a miracle and told others about it.#
I have been able to convince others of a miracle I’ve witnessed.#
I have never been able to convince others that a miracle has occurred.
A miracle is more likely when increasing numbers of people pray for it to happen.#
The number of people praying for a miracle is largely irrelevant to it happening.
I pray for miracles often.#
I pray for miracles rarely if at all.
If people get sick, they should ignore medicine and look to God for miraculous healing.#
If people get sick, they are welcome to pray but they should also look for medical solutions.
You are more likely to experience a miracle if you exercise the right attitude and faith.#
The occurrence of miracles is largely outside human control or influence.
So-called “medical miracles” are usually cases of natural spontaneous recovery.
So-called “medical miracles” can be real miracles.#
I’ve wagered my life on a miracle, such as by refusing to take medicine or handling a poisonous animal.#
I’ve never wagered my life on a miracle.
Someone close to me was in a life-or-death situation and only a miracle saved that person.#
Miracles have played no life-saving role for anyone close to me.
I feel betrayed by people who got me to think that a miracle was going to happen.
I have no such sense of betrayal.#
Time spent seeking a miracle is better spent going about the ordinary business of life.
Time spent seeking a miracle is time well spent.#
My belief in God is weaker now because of the rarity or absence of miracles.
The rarity or absence of miracles has played no role in weakening my belief in God.#
My belief in God is stronger now because of a miracle that I witnessed or experienced.#
I have not witnessed or experienced any miracle that strengthened my belief in God.