Americans seem almost prideful at times about the fact that in poll after poll, huge majorities of citizens profess a belief in God.
Indeed, religious pollster George Barna says Americans have so many different ideas about God that, in effect, Americans worship 300 million gods.
I thought about that recently when I read this blog entry by my friends over at ReadTheSpirit.com. It had to do with new survey results showing that 61 percent of Americans say they have no doubt at all that God exists.
And only 3 percent of Americans, in this study, said they don't believe God exists at all.
I suppose it's useful to know general trends like this, but in the end I find such statistics close to meaningless because of the vast differences in what people mean when they use the term God.
Some mean the Triune deity of Christianity. Others mean Allah of Islam. (Are Allah and the God of Christianity the same? The book to read is Allah: A Christian Response, by Miroslav Volf.) Still others think of a bearded old man in the sky while others have in mind some kind of nameless, faceless force, which might be related to what the late theologian Paul Tillich described as "the ground of all being."
In fact, the next time someone says, "God bless you," you might reply, "My God or yours?" Or not.
(The art here today? That's God as depicted in the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead. I found that at http://www.zazzle.com/zippy+the+pinhead+posters.)
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MORE ISLAM-DEMOCRACY QUESTIONS
This interesting column published in The New York Times suggests that although Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, has made progress in creating a democracy, it still has a long way to go. It's a wise cautionary tale about holding up models.