September 19, 2006
Which God Do You Believe In?
Baylor recently released results to their American Piety In The 21st Century survey.
Some interesting things points from the survey are that those who attended college are slightly more apt to believe in the paranormal and that more women than men believe in haunted houses. But more important results were revealed.
Over 1700 Americans were asked a series of questions and the biggest revelation to come out of this was the fact that Americans for the most part agree there is a God (91.8%) but can't agree on what kind of dude God is.
It seems that Americans believe in one of four conceptions of God:
'A is the Authoritarian God, worshiped by 31.4% of respondents. This deity is highly involved, responsible for Earthly events such as tsunamis or economic upturns and "capable of meting out punishment to those who are unfaithful or ungodly."
B is the Benevolent God, the choice of 23% of respondents. He also is involved in human affairs but isn't in the smiting business. This God is "mainly a force of positive influence in the world and is less willing to condemn or punish individuals."
C is the Critical God, who "really does not interact with the world." But believers in this God — 16% of the sample — still watch their Ps and Qs because God C "views the current state of the world unfavorably" and will punish evildoers "in another life."
D, the Distant God. Twenty-four percent of respondents endorsed — "embraced" is probably too strong a word — this version of the deity, "a cosmic force which set the laws of nature in motion" but has no interest in human activities.'
Just over 5% of those surveyed identified themselves as Atheists.
The study is further broken down by region. It would only make sense that those in the South and the Midwest are more likely to believe in the Authoritative God for example.
Now my thoughts:
What about the 5th type of God? You know, THE TRICKSTER GOD. This is the God I would most likely to believe in. He is the one who put absolutely no evidence on this planet that he exists, in fact he purposely put all kinds of evidence on this planet and in the universe to contradict the Bible (His Word). He has made it appear to every reputable scientist that evolution is fact, that the earth is ancient, that the Great Flood never happened, that the Exodus never happened, and that Jesus wasn't even a historical figure.
I have to ask those who believe in a distant God.......Why? Is it so you think you have a shot at an afterlife? What evidence are you basing your belief on? At least the first three God's are at least somewhat based on interpretations of a Holy book or two.
Also, for you believers. If God exists, don't you think he would have made it crystal clear as to what type of God he is? Why is his word interpretated in countless ways? Shouldn't his word be black and white? Does man made ring a bell?
Here is a breakdown of God conceptions and specific religions:
Author. Benevol.Critical Distant
Catholic 22.6% 28.2% 18.6% 29.2%
Protestant 68.0 12.0 20.0 0
Protestant 52.3 23.6 12.8 10.8
Protestant 23.7 26.6 19.7 29.3
Jewish 19.4 13.9 16.7 41.7
Unaffiliated 2.9 5.0 15.7 35.7
Jews can't even agree on what kind of dude God is. Note: according to my calculations only 43 Jews were surveyed and 4 of them said Jesus is the son of God, so the Jewish numbers probably have a high margin of error attached to them. Jews were also most likely to not be sure if God existed of all those surveyed.
Distant God? C'mon, you people are really Agnostics. Get over it.
For more on this topic check out The Jewish Atheist, Stardust Musings, and God Is For Suckers (which is Stardust's post, but the comments are worth looking at).