America's Four Gods

Why God?

Froese and Bader, in their groundbreaking book, seek to show that people’s perceptions of God and His role in their daily lives are the major causes of division. The conversations held about the nature and responsibilities of God for people’s lives serve to solve the confusion involved in attempts to understand the American’s source of morality.  According to the authors, when people talk about God, they address various philosophical and moral issues in which researchers have a great interest. By projecting individual’s beliefs and attitudes upon God, people avoid the need to explain themselves. Essentially, God exists as the definer of morality. He determines righteouness and directly or indirectly offers judgment on people’s evil deeds. The book is based on a comprehensive survey conducted on Americans’ religious beliefs. It sought to give an insight on how Americans view God. The level of influence that the existence of God has on people’s conduct is a culmination of their personal understanding of God’s roles. This reasoning is anchored on various findings. Froese and Bader state that Americans’ diverse political beliefs are linked to the types of God they believe in and, therefore, their perception of God.  The roles served by God are dependent on an individual’s understanding of God.

Those who believe in the existence of the Authoritative God are convinced that humans are subjected to God’s judgment based on their behavior. In this situation, people attach various disasters and misfortunes to God’s punishment. Therefore, God administers justice. He punishes people’s evil acts with calamities. Those who believe in the Benevolent God perceive Him to be the major force of positive influence on people’s behavior. In this situation, God plays a vital role in determining people’s mode of behavior, and He is available for sinners and saints alike. The Critical God judges humans but reserves His final judgement to be given after the life on earth. This God also helps in maintaining order among people as the latter fear facing God’s wrath on the day of judgement. Froese and Bader also mention that some Americans believe in the Distant God. This is the God who does not intervene in people’s acts. He created the Earth and left humans to conduct their activities without any interference. The believers in this God acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being whom they perceive to have control over the Earth.

The General Understanding of the Biblical God

Generally, the Biblical God is understood to be an omniscient, omnipresent and omni-benevolent God. In this respect, the Biblical God seeks to establish an intimate love relationship with humans as his special creation. He is the Father of the Universe, and He controls all creations. The writers of the Bible were inspired by God as they gave a true revelation about Him. As such, the Bible reveals Him as the Heavenly Father who knows all human actions. He designed humans to take care of His creations and will pass judgment on the sinful acts of man. The Biblical God is all loving. However, He will subject all sinners to judgment for their failure to abide by His commandments. He is forgiving hence He gives room for humans to repent their sins so that they can be accepted back in His Kingdom after the second coming of Christ. The failure by humans to respect God’s commandments forces Him to subject them to judgement. This conforms to the Authoritative God of the Americans. The Authoritative God is evident in the Old Testament where He threatened to destroy Sodom and Gomora due to the people’s evil deeds.

How God Is Perceived in My Personal Experience, Church, and Community

Personal experience orginates from various encounters with the society and religious literature credited with the ability to guide in the right direction. On a personal account, Christianity, to which I subscribe, is the faith that helps in maintaining social order. Based on my Christian doctrines, I believe that God is the Supreme Being, the determinant of right and evil and the final judge. He takes count of all human deeds and will hold people accountable for their evil acts. The church preaches repentance of sin and obedience to the Ten Commandments of God. In reality, the obedience required of Christians is aimed at boosting their relationship with the Creator, maintaining social order and seeking an assurance of inheriting God’s kingdom.

The Authors' Research and Conclusion

Froese’s and Bader's research was guided by two main questions. They wanted to find out the extent to which God interacts with the world and the extent to which He judges the world.  As they recorded their findings from an extensive survey and vivid interview, the authors divided Americans into four groups based on their perceptions of the role of God. Using the two questions as the basis of the research, the conclusions derived by the authors are significant in understanding individual’s behavior. People often act in a particular manner depending on the perceived consequences of their acts. Based on the nature of God as understood by individuals, they are likely to either follow or neglect Christian norms.