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Majority of Docs Believe Miracles have Occurred in the Past and Can Occur Today

Study Reveals Physicians' Views of Faith, Prayer and Miracles

FLEMINGTON, N.J., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A new national study among 1,134 physicians revealed that the majority (72%) believe that miracles have occurred in the past and 70% believe that they can occur today. In addition, 69% indicated that religion is a reliable and necessary guide to life.

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The study was conducted during December 6-8 to obtain physicians' perceptions of faith, prayer and miracles in the medical field as well as their everyday lives. To view detailed results go to:

The study was conducted among physicians representing various religious backgrounds, including Christian (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christian and other), Jewish (Orthodox Jewish, Conservative Jewish, Reform Jewish and Culturally Jewish), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Scientologist, Islamic, Shinto, Sikh, and other religious traditions as well as those with no religious traditions.

Among the findings:

Views of Religious Texts

While physicians claim to be religious, their perceptions of religious texts suggest that they should be metaphorically translated rather than literally translated. The majority of physicians (56%) agreed that the stories presented in religious scripts (such as the parting of the Red Sea in the Exodus for Jews or the resurrection of Jesus for Christians)should be seen as metaphorically true. Among the physicians who claimed to practice a specific religion, 73% considered themselves to be a liberal member while only 27% considered themselves to be a literal believer in their religion.

Perceptions of Prayer and its Significance

While there seems to be some doubt among physicians regarding the validity of religious text, prayer plays a somewhat significant role in their lives. A clear majority (70%) reported that prayer is either somewhat important or very important in their personal and professional lives. And 66% of physicians indicated that they encourage their patients to pray. Nearly half of physicians (49%) reported that they pray for their patients as a whole with a slightly higher percentage (55%) claimed to pray for individual patients.

Religion and the Practice of Medicine

The majority of physicians (69%) believe that religion as a reliable and necessary guide to life. However, only 43% agreed that medical practice should be guided by religious moral teaching. The majority of physicians (71%) believe that very little or none of the outcome of medical and surgical treatment of their patients is related to forces totally outside of their control (referring to the "supernatural" or an "Act of God"). While religion plays an important role in physicians' lives overall, they seem to take a more "scientific" approach to practicing medicine.

Religious Differences

According to the results of the study, the most liberal members of their religion include Roman Catholic and Jewish physicians with 80% and 78% respectively claiming to be liberal members of their religion rather than literal believers. In contrast, the religion with the most literal believers includes Protestant physicians, with 84% reporting that prayer was either somewhat or very important in their personal and professional life closely followed by 80% of Roman Catholics.

A much smaller percentage of Jewish physicians (60%) reported that prayer was either somewhat or very important in their lives. An overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic and Protestant physicians (88%) believe that miracles have happened in the past, while only 57% of Jewish physicians believe so.

The majority of Protestant physicians (60%) responded "yes" when asked if the miracle stories in religious texts should be taken as literally true, which was a much higher percentage than any other religion. This finding suggests that Protestant physicians hold more supernatural views on religion than physicians with different religious backgrounds.

The Media Curves web site provides the media and general public with a venue to view Americans' perceptions of popular and controversial media events and advertisements.

HCD Research is a communications research company headquartered in Flemington, NJ. The company's services include traditional and web-based communications research. For additional information on HCD Research, access the company's web site at or call HCD Research at 908-788-9393.

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