Who Is Your God by Paul Froese & Christopher Bader

Using conclusions drawn from the Baylor Religion Survey first published in 2006, these two Baylor University professors expound on their thesis that Americans' view of God can be characterized as one of four basic types: authoritarian, benevolent, critical, and distant. By knowing which of the four types of God an American believes in, these scholars can predict that person's views on many of the pressing issues facing the country. As an antidote to the prevailing but simplistic dichotomy between religious and nonreligious Americans, this thesis is far more nuanced and satisfying. But it, too, has its limitations. It's not clear that people stick to one view their whole lives, and it doesn't fully account for the views of those who occupy middle ground, somewhere between a judgmental and forgiving God. Still, the fourfold God typology is a step toward better understanding how Americans regard morality, how they understand the presence of evil, and what meta-narrative they tell about their lives. (Oct.)

Publishers Weekly

America's Four Gods is an outstanding exposé on what exactly people mean when they talk about God. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how people think and feel about God.

—Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of Why We Believe What We Believe

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

In this book Froese and Bader greatly help us in knowing more about God, or rather, about how Americans think of God. It is the most thorough and systematic study of the imagery of the divine of its kind. Considering how often Americans invoke the name of God in relation to politics, moral values, and opinions, any research which sheds light on this is good, and this book is especially good in doing so. Recommended reading for believers and nonbelievers alike.

—Wade Clark Roof, J. F. Rowny Professor of Religion and Society, University of California at Santa Barbara

The authors make excellent use of well-conceived surveys of Americans that asked probing questions about belief in God. Their incisive analysis of what the surveys revealed may surprise or confirm, gladden or sadden, illuminate or infuriate. But whatever readers' reactions, they will come away thanking Froese and Bader for their careful research and for presenting it so clearly and so well.

—Mark Noll, author of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

The Book
Examining how Americans differ in their personal conceptions of God and how those differences predict moral, political and religious behaviors and attitudes.