What You Believe: An Article of Averages*

You probably believe in god and you see him as a male figure. It is likely you con- sider yourself Christian and have a specific religious affiliation. You pray at least once in a while, but the more educated you become and the more money you make the less likely you are to believe in god.

Women

You believe in an engaged god who is a being that is involved in your life and the world around you. Your god will help you make decisions and influences important world events. You may consider your god to be benevolent; a being who is slow to pun- ish or condemn. However, you are a little more likely to feel your god is angry and likely to take action against you for disobedience.
Your beliefs tend to motivate certain behaviors and values. You likely attend church, pray regularly and read your scriptures. To be a good person you feel it is important to serve the sick and the needy and to stay chaste.

Men

Your beliefs are not as easy to peg. Like women, you are most likely to believe in an authoritarian god; the god who isn’t too pleased with your disobedience. However, you are just as likely to see your god as distant, uninvolved and disinterested. You are nearly three times more likely than woman to be an atheist.

Believing in a god who is less engaged in your life influences how you worship him
and what you value. You are less likely to attend church, pray or read scripture, and you aren’t as sure that it’s important to remain chaste or that you need to help the needy to be a good person.

This article is based on the findings of the Baylor piety study on the ways Americans approach religion. The report illustrates how our view of god influences the way we interact with the world. Perhaps the study doesn’t accurately capture how you personally feel about god, but it should help you realize that the person sitting next to you at church may experience god in a completely different way than you.

*American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights to the Depth and Complexity of Religion in the US. Select Findings from the Baylor Religion Study. September 2006, Baylor University, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

 

Charles Allen / HEX Writer

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