NCLS Research

Belief in the devil

NB.  This discussion is based on NCLS 1996 data.

In the 1996 National Church Life Survey, one question asked ‘What do you believe about stories of Jesus doing normally impossible things (eg turning water into wine)?’. The majority of attenders accept that such events happened as recorded (76%), while around a fifth of attenders see them as symbolic or explainable in other ways. Only 57% of Uniting and 61% of Anglican attenders think the miracles happened as recorded compared to close to 90% of attenders in other Protestant denominations and 97% of Pentecostals. The 1996 NCLS and Catholic Church Life Survey questions about miracles were quite different. The CCLS question asked respondents to choose a statement which best expressed their views of miracles in the Bible. Only 41% of Catholic attenders said all of the miracles occurred just as they are described in the Bible, but another 51% said that either ‘many’ or ‘a few’ occurred as described, with the others being stories designed to teach a truth about God. A further 8% said they didn’t know, and only 1% said they didn’t believe any of the miracles actually happened.

Source: Taking Stock, 1999

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