People’s Perceptions of Religion


People’s perceptions of religion vary considerably. Older adults are more likely to say religion is very important, while younger adults are less likely to say so. Women and college graduates are less likely to say religion is important, as are blacks and Hispanics. These patterns are present across the population as a whole, and across different religious groups.

Xenophanes believed in a single god

Xenophanes held a monotheistic view of gods. Although he spoke of many gods, he believed that the gods are all one. This is in contrast to the ideas of Homer and Hesiod, who believed that gods were separate entities and moved about the world.

According to Xenophanes, there is only one god, and that god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. In modern theology, these are known as the three-O’s of God, with a fourth ‘O’ added to show that God is omnibenevolent. As such, he was considered the first monotheist in Western philosophy.

Xenophanes believed in an impersonal force

The Greek philosopher Xenophanes lived in mainland Anatolia. His work is considered the foundation of the Eleatic School of philosophy, which posited that reality is changeless, motionless, and eternal. The Eleatic School was widely rejected, but Xenophanes remains a major figure in Greek philosophy. In modern times, he is best known as a critic of anthropomorphic deities.

Xenophanes’ work is also notable for its synthesis of earlier ideas. He developed arguments for the existence of a single God and dismissed the popular notion of many gods.

Unaffiliated believe in a personal God

The Unaffiliated, who do not identify with a particular religion, are more likely than other Americans to believe in a personal God. These people are not attracted to any specific religion, but they are generally open-minded about religious topics and traditions. As a result, the Unaffiliated are more likely to have a personal God than Christians.

The religiously unaffiliated are less likely than other Americans to say that religion is important. They also report attending fewer church services than the average American and are less likely to pray on a daily basis. However, substantial portions of unaffiliated Americans still believe in a personal God and are influenced by a universal spirit. In addition, forty-two percent of unaffiliated people identify as neither religious nor spiritual.

Unaffiliated believe the Bible was written by men

While there is some controversy surrounding the Bible’s authorship, the majority of people who consider it trustworthy agree that men wrote most of it. Paul wrote letters to the early churches, David wrote Psalms, and Moses wrote the Pentateuch and Torah. In all, there are more than 40 different human authors of the Bible. The question is whether God inspired or intervened in the writing process.

Some people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious reject organized religion, and the central Christian beliefs of the Bible. However, they aren’t opposed to exploring and experimenting with established religions. The Lutheran pastor Sebastian Franck, for example, resigned his pulpit in 1528 because of the moral failings of professing Christians.

Evangelical Protestants and Orthodox Christians disagree

Evangelical Protestants and Orthodox Christians do not agree on all aspects of Christianity. One area in which the two sects differ is how Christ’s incarnation was defined. The Catholic Church believes that the pope is infallible, whereas the Orthodox reject this. While many Protestants disagree on this issue, the Orthodox do not deny the divinity of Christ.

In particular, Orthodox Christians believe that the human soul has the capacity to become God. That idea is alien to most Westerners, but it is a key part of Orthodox religion. For example, the Apostle Paul said that we should “conform ourselves to the image of Christ.” Orthodox Christians believe that God will transform us into a new creation after we die.