December 17, 2010
On Oct. 7, the main story on the front page of USA Today
-- the most widely circulated print newspaper in the U.S. -- was about the work of two Baylor professors and their new book, America's Four Gods
. Sociology professors Dr. Christopher Bader and Dr. Paul Froese based their work on results from the biennial Baylor Survey of Religion, the most comprehensive and illuminating survey of Americans' religious beliefs ever conducted. The same day, the pair and their work were also featured on ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer" for a national audience of around 7 million viewers.
Working with original survey data from thousands of Americans and a wealth of in-depth interviews, Froese and Bader trace America's cultural diversity to its ultimate source -- differing beliefs about God and the role He plays in our daily lives. Bader and Froese found that Americans tend to see God in one of four ways: the Authoritative God, who is both engaged with the world and judgmental; the Benevolent God, who loves and aids us in spite of our failings; the Critical God, who catalogs our sins but does not punish them (at least not in this life); and the Distant God, who stands apart from the world He created. The authors show that these four images of God form the basis of our worldviews and are among the most powerful predictors of our feelings on America's most contentious issues.
To see ABC's report on the book, visit www.baylor.edu/baylorproud
and search "sawyer".
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