Belief in God and regular prayer may be on the decline in the United States, but praying for supernatural healing is still almost a universal experience. A new study conducted by researchers at Baylor University found that 90 percent of Americans have prayed that God would physically heal them or someone they know. The author of the study was shocked by how high the number is. Jeff Levin explained to CNN,
Outside of belief in God, healing prayer might be the most ubiquitous religious practice that there is. This might be one of the most prevalent forms of primary care medicine, and I don't say that lightly … There's this hidden substrate of spirituality in this country, and by asking these questions, it uncovered something always there that was bubbling beneath the surface. This is not a marginal or minor expression. This is pretty ubiquitous.
Beyond the experience of simply praying for healing, more than a fourth of all Americans say they have prayed by “laying on hands”—actually placing their hands on someone else (or vice versa) while intervening for God to heal. Discuss
The Left Behind books may have been popular, but that doesn’t mean they actually shaped people’s theology. A new report in Christianity Today examines the results of a recent LifeWay Research Poll (sponsored by Charisma House Book Group), which asked 1,000 American Protestant pastors about their thoughts on the End Times (or, as it’s known in theological circles, eschatology).
The results were surprising. Only 36 percent believed there would be a “Pre-tribulation Rapture” (like the one depicted in the novels). And, a quarter said that the rapture was a literal event. Just less than half believe that the Antichrist will be a “Figure who arrises sometime in the future” and only 49 percent believe in “premillennialism,” which means that Christ will reign over the earth for a 1,000-year period sometime in the future. Unsurprisingly, nearly 100 percent believe Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind adaptation nearly ushered in an actual apocalypse.