Friday, November 12, 2010; 10:31 AM
Religion is an endless source of lively conversation and disagreement, especially in the political arena. From private houses to statehouses, Americans have very different views about religion and how it should affect civic life. Here are three books that suggest answers.
1America's Four Gods: What We Say About God - & What That Says About Us by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader (Oxford Univ., $24.95). The authors, both associate professors of sociology at Baylor University, undertook a daunting task: to unearth what Americans believe about God by crisscrossing the country, canvassing thousands, joining worship services and speaking with religious communities. The study found correlations between what people think of God and how they live their lives. Is He authoritative, benevolent, critical or distant? (Or is He a She?) The authors conclude that "our picture of God is worth a thousand queries into the substance of our moral and philosophical beliefs."