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Americans' image of God varies | jonmower.com

Americans' image of God varies

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From an article of the same title by Cathy Lynn Grossman in USA Today:

The USA calls itself one nation under God, but Americans don't all have the same image of the Almighty in mind.

A new survey of religion in the USA finds four very different images of God — from a wrathful deity thundering at sinful humanity to a distant power uninvolved in mankind's affairs.

Forget denominational brands or doctrines or even once-salient terms like "Religious Right." Even the oft-used "Evangelical" appears to be losing ground.

Believers just don't see themselves the way the media and politicians — or even their pastors — do, according to the national survey of 1,721 Americans, by far the most comprehensive national religion survey to date...

Though 91.8% say they believe in God, a higher power or a cosmic force, they had four distinct views of God's personality and engagement in human affairs. These Four Gods — dubbed by researchers Authoritarian, Benevolent, Critical or Distant — tell more about people's social, moral and political views and personal piety than the familiar categories of Protestant/Catholic/Jew or even red state/blue state.

For example: 45.6% of all Americans say the federal government "should advocate Christian values," but 74.5% of believers in an authoritarian God do.

Sociologist Paul Froese says their survey finds the stereotype that conservatives are religious and liberals are secular is "simply not true. Political liberals and conservative are both religious. They just have different religious views."

There was also a nice summary in The Washington Post.

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