A third of Americans report divine healing: Pew

DALLAS (Reuters) - Feeling under the weather? If you’re American there is a one in three chance that you have encountered a divine healing and so you may put your faith in a spiritual rather than medical cure.

That is one of the findings of the second part of the “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” released on Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The first part of the survey, based on a 2007 nationwide survey of over 35,000 U.S. adults, was released earlier this year.

“A third of all Americans (34 percent) say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury,” the survey said.

“Mormons (69 percent) are especially likely to say this. Half of members of evangelical churches and a slim majority of historically black churches (54 percent) also say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing,” it said.

It added that within the evangelical and historically black church traditions, members of Pentecostal churches were the most likely to claim to have had this kind of experience.

America’s high rates of religious belief and regular worship attendance set it apart from most other affluent nations and ripple throughout the country’s culture.

The survey found, for example, that 71 percent of Americans are “absolutely certain” of God’s existence and 39 percent attend a religious service at least once a week.

It also showed that nearly a third of American adults reported that they received “definite answers” to specific requests made by prayer at least once a month.

“Speaking in tongues”, a practice usually linked to charismatic denominations like the Pentecostal churches, is regarded skeptically by most U.S. Christians.

But the survey found that a sizeable minority of Christians, or 19 percent, reported that they spoke in tongues, which usually refers to the uttering of a language foreign or unknown to the speaker. It is therefore taken to be a miraculous event.

Nearly one in ten of the U.S. Christians questioned in the survey said they spoke in tongues on a weekly basis. Among American Pentecostals the figure was 28 percent.