American conceptions of God

In several of his books, N.T. Wright relates a conversation he once had with and undergraduate student while Wright was a chaplain at Oxford. The young man says something to the effect of "You probably won't see me in the chapel too much, since I don't believe in God." Wright responds "Which God is it you don't believe in?" When the young man describes a far away God up in the sky looking down with a somewhat disinterested scowl on humanity, Wright says "I don't believe in that God either." Opening the way to talk to the surprised young man about the God revealed in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.

SO the question of "which God do/don't you believe in" can be an important one for the Church to ask those who are (or who refuse to be) spiritual "seekers." So we may be interested in the findings of sociologists at Baylor university from a study on American conceptions of God.

4 conceptions are the most predominant among Americans:
-Angry authoritarian God who is involved in our world: 31%
-Benevolent forgiving God who is willing to accept everyone who comes to him: 23%
-Critical God who is judgmental but not involved in the world: 16%
-Distant God who may or may not be personal who started the world and then left it alone: 24%

ALSO - The most excellent blog Locusts and Honey did a profile on me & "Gloria Deo," so check that out.



Blogger St.Phransus said...

hey- i just wanted to say great interview piece over at locust and honey. i dig your blog too.

jonathon norman

8:38 PM, October 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gratz on the profile~!

Ya beat me!

9:11 PM, October 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're a semi-Amish who values his pog collection and admires Storm from X-Men as well as Obi-Won....Daniel,I absolutely love you! lol. By the way, I think it's safe to say you are the last person I know who risks being like the Dead Sea (good analogy though!)--bethany

1:34 AM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

I don't know if I still own any pogs or not. Probably so in my family, but I sure hope not!

4:27 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger elmarr said...

A case of misrepresentation?
Benevolent forgiving God who is willing to accept everyone who comes to him: 23%
is not quite the same thing as
Those who believe in a "Benevolent God" who is forgiving and accepting of anyone who repents: 23 percent.

I read your paraphrase as universalism. The actual question asked includes a condition.

1:45 AM, July 18, 2014  
Blogger Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...


It has been some 8 years since I read/wrote this, so I'm not sure of the original wording that I am paraphrasing, but I can assure you that I'm not a universalist. In the phrase you object to I would take "who come to him" and "who repent" as functionally synonymous, since one must turn from sin toward God to come to him, and 'turn around' is in fact the meaning of the word 'repent.'

5:46 PM, July 18, 2014  

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