Three in five British adults say miracles are possible

By Alex Strangwayes-Booth
Religious Affairs Reporter

  • Published
The Feeding of the 5000Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Bible says Jesus Christ fed a crowd of 5,000 with just five loaves and fish

Three in five UK adults say they believe some form of miracle is possible, a survey commissioned by the BBC has suggested.

Nearly half of those questioned on behalf of BBC Local Radio admitted to praying for a miracle at some time.

However, when it comes to the miracles of Jesus, nearly half say they do not believe he did miraculous things.

Market research firm Comres surveyed 2,002 British adults by telephone between 16 and 26 August.

The survey suggested:

  • 62% of British adults believe some form of miracle is possible today
  • Nearly three-quarters aged 18-24 say they believe some form of miracle is possible today, more than any other age group
  • 43% say they have prayed for a miracle
  • 37% of British adults who attend a religious service at least monthly say they believe the miracles of Jesus happened word for word as described in the Bible
  • Half of this group say they have prayed for a miracle which was answered in the way they had hoped
  • But 37% of Christians have never prayed for a miracle

A miracle is regarded by many as a fortuitous event believed to have been caused by divine intervention, prayer or worship.

Evidence of Miracles

As a practising Christian, Jemma Adams believes in miracles.

"I'm an ex-drug addict" she explains. "At 17 I had crack psychosis and jumped off the top of a tower block and survived. Not only did I survive, but I didn't break one bone. "

It was a miraculous experience, and evidence for her, that miracles are possible.

She was sent to drug rehabilitation after her fall and began her journey to recovery.

It has ended with her helping women who are in a similar situation to hers.

Image caption,
As a practising Christian, Jemma Adams believes in miracles

Jemma worships at the Victory Outreach Church in Hackney, East London, where David Elwin is the pastor.

David also has a history of drug-use, violence and spending time in prison.

"Miracles are the foundation of a Christian's faith," he says.

"The foundation of the Christian faith is the miracle that Jesus rose from the dead. It's vitally important that we maintain that as our foundation and our roots."

Image caption,
Pastor David Elwin says he believes in miracles

The survey suggests 59% of adults who identify as Christian have prayed for a miracle, with around half of these people (29%) saying their prayer was answered in the way they hoped.

Monsignor Peter Fleetwood, a Catholic hospital chaplain in Liverpool, says families will ask him to pray for a miracle to bring someone back from the brink of death.

He believes in those cases a miracle would be a terrible thing because it would be prolonging a life that is already at its natural end.

He also thinks you can be a Christian and interpret the miracles of Jesus in a different light.

He uses the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 - where Jesus fed a crowd with five loaves and two fish, as an example of how spontaneous generosity can cause a sense of wonder.

"One explanation may be that he inspired people to share what they had with them in their baskets," he explains.

"So rather than magically producing food, it's making food appear in another way. There are all sorts of ways it can be seen and still be wonderful."

Both Jemma Adams and Father Fleetwood believe the best miracles are in the smaller things.

"I see miracles every day," Jemma says. "I see women who were hopeless addicts get clean. A miracle to me is someone that was going to die, get hope again."