- 31% of Americans believe in a God who is engaged with the world and judgmental -- Bader and Froese refer to this God as the Authoritative God.
- 24% of Americans believe in a God who is engaged with the world but is nonjudgmental -- they refer to this God as the Benevolent God.
- 16% of Americans believe in a God who is judgmental but is not engaged in the world -- they refer to this God as the Critical God.
- 24% of Americans believe in a God who is nonjudgmental and disengaged -- they refer to this God as the Distant God.
Are certain individuals more likely to embrace one image over another? Yes. For example, individuals with a college education and who earn more than $100,000 per year are more likely to believe in a distant God, while those who are married and older are more likely to believe in an authoritative one. People who were spanked when they were children are less likely to believe in a distant God but are very likely to believe in an authoritative one. And males tend to believe in a critical God, while females tend to envision a benevolent one.
What difference do these understandings of God play themselves out in our everyday lives? Here's a sample of their findings:
- Individuals who believe in an authoritative or benevolent God are much more likely to say that they are religious than are those who do not
- People who believe in a distant or critical God are more likely to identify themselves as politically liberal
- Believers in an authoritative God are much more likely to think that abortion is wrong and that homosexuality is a choice
- And believers in a distant or critical God are more likely to think that religion and science are incompatible
Obviously, this brief summary doesn't capture all that Froese and Bader discovered. Another helpful review of the book can be found in David Briggs's "Ahead of the Curve" column. Of course, if your interest has been peaked enough, you may simply want to pick up the book.