I think the "four Gods" part is equally interesting, though:
"If you think about people perceiving God as high in anger, low in anger, high in engagement, low in engagement, it results in four different types of gods," said Froese.
What researchers found was that the type of god people believe in can predict their political and moral attitudes more so than just looking at their religious tradition.
Researchers found that none of the "four gods" dominated among believers. The data showed:
* 31.4 percent believe in an Authoritarian God, who is very judgmental and engaged
* 25 percent believe in a Benevolent God, who is not judgmental but engaged
* 23 percent believe in a Distant God, who is completely removed
* 16 percent believe in a Critical God, who is judgmental but not engaged
(These categories were distilled from answers to "29 questions about God's character and behavior.")
(Image from Christian Science Monitor.)
Instead of all the fun we're having over in the abortion thread debating moral issues, maybe we should just be arguing about how angry and/or engaged God is.
Some other tidbits I found interesting albeit unsurprising:
- Individuals with lower educations and lower incomes tend towards more engaged images of God (Types A and B). Those with college degrees and who earn more than $100,000 disproportionately believe in a Distant God or are atheists.
- Jews tend towards belief in a Distant God and over 8% of Jews in our sample report being atheists.
- There is a strong gender effect in belief in God. Women tend towards very engaged images of God (Types A an B) while men tend towards less engaged images (Type D) and are more likely to be atheists.
- Region of the country is significantly related to the four types of God. Easterners disproportionately tend towards belief in a Critical God. Southerners tend towards an Authoritarian God. Midwesterners tend towards a Benevolent God and West Coasters tend towards belief in a Distant God.