From the article I mentioned in the last post, I copied the following excerpts:
"Froese and Bader's research wound up defining four ways in which Americans see God:
•The Authoritative God. When conservatives Sarah Palin orGlenn Beck proclaim that America will lose God's favor unless we get right with him, they're rallying believers in what Froese and Bader call an Authoritative God, one engaged in history and meting out harsh punishment to those who do not follow him. About 28% of the nation shares this view, according to Baylor's 2008 findings.
"They divide the world by good and evil and appeal to people who are worried, concerned and scared," Froese says. "They respond to a powerful God guiding this country, and if we don't explicitly talk about (that) God, then we have the wrong God or no God at all."
•The Benevolent God. When President Obama says he is driven to live out his Christian faith in public service, or political satirist Stephen Colbert mentions God while testifying to Congress in favor of changing immigration laws, they're speaking of what the Baylor researchers call a Benevolent God. This God is engaged in our world and loves and supports us in caring for others, a vision shared by 22% of Americans, according to Baylor's findings.
"Rhetoric that talks about the righteous vs. the heathen doesn't appeal to them," Froese says. "Their God is a force for good who cares for all people, weeps at all conflicts and will comfort all.
•The Critical God. The poor, the suffering and the exploited in this world often believe in a Critical God who keeps an eye on this world but delivers justice in the next, Bader says.
Bader says this view of God — held by 21% of Americans — was reflected in a sermon at a working-class neighborhood church the researchers visited in Rifle, Colo., in 2008. Pastor Del Whittington's theme at Open Door Church was " 'Wait until heaven, and accounts will be settled.' "
•The Distant God. Though about 5% of Americans are atheists or agnostics, Baylor found that nearly one in four (24%) see a Distant God that booted up the universe, then left humanity alone.
Others who cite a Distant God identify more with the spiritual and speak of the unknowable God behind the creation of rainbows, mountains or elegant mathematical theorems, the Baylor writers found.
This distant view is nothing new. Benjamin Franklin once wrote that he could not imagine that a "Supremely Perfect" God cares a whit for "such an inconsiderable Nothing as Man." *
Is not the God revealed by Jesus Christ all of these, and thus a Being of inscrutable wonder Who deserves to be regarded above the boxes labels create?
Next up in the Wild Wood, how the Lord is in each of these views.
*God Views. Pompa and Merrill. usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-10-07-1Agod07_CV_N.htm