The Four Gods of America

Via Cox News Service & the Raleigh News & Observer:

We may be “one nation, under God,” but Americans actually worship at least four versions of the Lord, according to the Baylor Religion Survey released Monday. “American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights into the Depth and Complexity of Religion in the United States,” conducted by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, leveled more than two dozen questions about God’s character and behavior at 1,721 Americans nationwide. They perceived of God in one of four ways:

Authoritarian God: Individuals who follow this model feel God is highly involved in their personal lives and world affairs, they give the Deity credit for their decision-making, and they feel God is angry and meting out punishment to the wicked.

Benevolent God: These believers also think God is very active in their daily life, just not as wrathful. They believe Benevolent God is mostly a force for positive influence in the world, and reluctant to condemn individuals.

Critical God: The faithful of this subset believe God is not meddling in world affairs but is nonetheless looking on in disapproval. These people tend to believe that God’s displeasure will be felt in another life, and that divine justice is not of this world.

Distant God: Individuals in this group think that Distant God is not active in human affairs, and is not especially angry, either. Believers consider the Deity more of a cosmic force who sets the laws of nature into motion.

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