In the shadow of death : insecurity and miracles in Latin America.


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The difference between a miracle and luck relies on the interpretation of events. Existential threat theories would predict religious experiences are not necessarily related to individual education or income, but rather the economic and political stability that often accompanies modernization. Even in modern nations, those who experience threats to their existence are thought more likely to experience miracles. I investigate the prevalence of miracles in Latin American using a 2013 Pew survey of religious beliefs and experiences. Looking at 15,400 respondents from 16 separate countries, I analyze the extent to which experiencing miracles is correlated with education, SES, financial insecurity, cultural traditionalism, and several religious variables. I find education and SES have little correlation with the number of miracles experienced, financial insecurity is positively correlated with experiencing miracles, and Protestants have more divine encounters than Catholics. This suggests that both religious socialization and existential threat explain why individuals experience miracles.



Religion. Miracles. Latin America. Existential threat theory.