Tuesday, September 12, 2006

American attitudes toward God

A recent survey by Baylor University (summarized in today's USAToday) found that:

  • 28.5% of Americans have read The Davinci Code.
  • 44% have seen The Passion of the Christ.
  • 19% have read at least one of the Left Behind novels.
  • 25% of US women have read The Purpose-Driven Life.

The study authors also decided that the respondents (a statistically-valid representative sample of all Americans) divided their attitudes toward God into these categories:

  • Authoritarian (28%): God is angry at sinners and won't hesitate to throw disaster at the unfaithful.
  • Benevolent (23%): God sets absolute standards but is inclined to be nice to us.
  • Distant (24.4%): God is a cosmic force that launched the world and now lets it run on its own.  [This is the God most common among Catholics and Jews]
  • Critical (16%): God is judgmental, but isn't going to intervene one way or the other.

[source: Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, funded by the John Templeton Foundation]

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