home
RSS
Study: For ardent believers, economic issues are a matter of faith
Most people who strongly believe that God has a plan for them believe the government does too much.
September 21st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Study: For ardent believers, economic issues are a matter of faith

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – People who believe God is very engaged in their everyday life tend to see conservative economic policy as an article of faith, according to a study published Tuesday by Baylor University.

Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religious Survey, says that those who believe in a more hands-off God tend to believe in more than one way to fix America’s economic woes. But those who believe in a more active God tend to believe there is “one truth” when it comes to fixing the economy.

Forty percent of those surveyed said they “strongly agree” that God has a plan for them. Among that group, 53% believe the government does too much, with 44% believing “able bodied-people who are out of work shouldn't receive unemployment checks."

Compare that to the 15% percent of those surveyed who said they “strongly disagree” that God has a plan for them. Just 21% of those Americans said the government does too much, while only 24% said able-bodied people shouldn’t receive unemployment checks.

Froese, a sociology professor at Baylor, said conservatives “have so conjoined their religious faith with economic conservatism that economic conservatism has become a matter of faith. It is very hard to sway those people with a counter argument.”

The study also found that 20% of Americans believe God is in control of the economy. According to Froese, those who believe God is in control also tend to believe that a hands-off approach is the economy's only possible fix.

“Lack of government regulation, low taxation," he said. " That kind of conservative economic world view, for people with an engaged God, is almost synonymous.”

This coupling of belief systems began in the 1980’s said Froese, when the Republican Party began to court values voters who selected their candidates based primarily on social issues. Over time, the value voters began to go along with the economic teachings of Republican leaders of the time.

“Those kinds of voters who are driven by their faith tend to think that there are these ultimate truths out there and that everything else is wrong,” said Froese. “If you find a part of a leader you are in agreement with on these faith statements, then their discussion on the economy must also be right.”

This split between how more and less religious people view economic policy is evidenced by political rhetoric, he said.

“When Obama is talking, he is always talking about looking at anything that works: ‘I want to make compromise. I want to do things that pragmatically have immediate results,’” he said.

In contrast, Froese said the rhetoric of candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry is shaped by their belief in an involved higher power.

“’“Have faith in God. Don’t regulate. Lower taxes. There you are seeing a distinction in the almost philosophical outlook and how you understand economic theory,” he said.

The findings of the study are based on 1,714 self-administered surveys nationwide among adults 18 and over. The surveys were condcuted by the Gallup Organization in three waves, in 2005, 2007 and 2010.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Economy

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Hockey jerseys direct 1884

    nfl jerseys Jacket for Women – Cloakroom Collective cheap sale
    Hockey jerseys direct 1884 http://184.72.233.175/blog/?p=Hockey-jerseys-direct-1884.html

    December 14, 2013 at 5:09 am |
  2. vegetarian ugg boots uk 415

    from € 110 for ugg Certificate Buy High Quality Cheap ugg cheap ugg for sale.
    vegetarian ugg boots uk 415 http://xn--m3crn0gub.com/?p=vegetarian-ugg-boots-uk-415.html

    December 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  3. a

    cochine ias good
    searach

    November 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  4. Diegov Maydens

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:40 am |
  5. Ivaniak Rivasr

    Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice methods and we are looking to trade methods with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

    July 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  6. webdesign

    Nice weblog here! Also your web site so much up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink for your host? I desire my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  7. reslight

    It is not true that Russell ever predicted Christ to return in 1914; in 1876, Russell accepted that Christ had returned in 1874, and he died in 1876 still with that belief. He never once predicted that Christ was to return in 1914.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • reslight

      I meant to say that Russell died in 1916; he believed until his death that Christ had returned in 1874.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
1 2 3
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.