A new book argues, apparently based on survey data, that Americans have four different views of God’s character. He is either benevolent (he intervenes to make things nice for us), authoritative (he intervenes to bring us up short when we richly deserve it), critical (he takes note of what we do without actively intervening), or distant. Our political views are strangely shaped by our views on this question.
There’s something to it, I think. I believe that many fights among mezzo-intellectual Mormons in the Bloggernacle and elsewhere are shaped by pre-intellectual convictions about whether God is nice or whether He is, quite definitely, not a tame lion. (You can tell which side I’m on.)