Americas Four Gods: What We Say About God--And What That Says About Us

Paperback | August 27, 2015

byPaul Froese, Christopher Bader

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Despite all the hype surrounding the "New Atheism," the United States remains one of the most religious nations on Earth. In fact, 95% of Americans believe in God - a level of agreement rarely seen in American life. The greatest divisions in America are not between atheists and believers, oreven between people of different faiths. What divides us, this groundbreaking book shows, is how we conceive of God and the role He plays in our daily lives. America's Four Gods draws on the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, and illuminating survey of American's religious beliefs ever conducted to offer a systematic exploration of how Americans view God. Paul Froese and Christopher Bader argue that many of America's most intractable social and politicaldivisions emerge from religious convictions that are deeply held but rarely openly discussed. Drawing upon original survey data from thousands of Americans and a wealth of in-depth interviews from all parts of the country, Froese and Bader trace America's cultural and political diversity to itsultimate source - differing opinions about God. They show that regardless of our religious tradition (or lack thereof), Americans worship four distinct types of God: The Authoritative God - who is both engaged in the world and judgmental; The Benevolent God - who loves and helps us in spite of ourfailings; 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 conceptions of God form the basis of our worldviews and are among the most powerful predictorsof how we feel about the most contentious issues in American life. This updated edition includes a new preface and afterword in which the authors reflect on their goals in writing this book, and explore trends that have developed since the initial publication. America's Four Gods provides an invaluable portrait of how we view God and therefore how we view virtuallyeverything else.

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Despite all the hype surrounding the "New Atheism," the United States remains one of the most religious nations on Earth. In fact, 95% of Americans believe in God - a level of agreement rarely seen in American life. The greatest divisions in America are not between atheists and believers, oreven between people of different faiths. What...

Paul Froese is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Baylor University and fellow of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. His book The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization won the 2009 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Christopher Bader is an As...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.98 inPublished:August 27, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190248858

ISBN - 13:9780190248857

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: Why God?1. America's Four Gods2. God, Self, and Society3. God and Morals4. God and Science5. God and Mammon6. God and Evil7. The Future of GodAfterwordPostscript: The God QuestionnaireAppendix: Research MethodsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A tour de force showing what Americans believe about God and how it shapes their behavior. This path-breaking work forces us to move beyond the ill-defined labels of religious liberals and conservatives to understand how images of God move people to action." --Roger Finke, Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, Penn State University