Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Describing God

Over the past couple days I've been wading through surveys related to the church and state. The survey item du jour is: "If you had to describe God in your own words, what would you say?" The question comes from the Religion and Public Life Survey (2001) conducted by Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

This is a crucial question. As American pastor AW Tozer once wrote, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." It is the lens through which we view the world. So what do people think? I've selected the high percentage responses and grouped them into two categories.

The most salient feature of God is that God is powerful:

The second most salient characteristic of God is that God is loving:

With the categories shown here the powerful statistics account for 30.8 percent of responses while the love oriented responses account for 18.1 percent of responses. There are a number of other categories but each comprises a small fraction of all responses. The surveyors also did follow-up questions to attempt to get people to elaborate. What is reported here is the first cut at the question (DESCGOD1). You can find the survey here.

How would you describe God? What attracts you to God?

No comments: