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Denominational and Age Comparisons of God Concepts

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Abstract:

This study examines whether denominational and age differences emerge in endorsement of Christian God descriptions developed using the three highest loading adjectives in each of Spilka, Benson, and Nussbaum’s (1964) six God concept factors. Previous research suggests that conceptualizations of God may vary based on religious affiliation, and life-span development researchers assert that new, adaptive cognitive processes may emerge in later adulthood. Participants were divided into three age categories and asked to rate their agreement to six God descriptions. Significant denominational differences in God factor endorsement were revealed for all factors. No age differences across denomination were determined. Denominational differences appear to corroborate sociological descriptions of denomination-based variations in religious doctrine and practices. The overall lack of age differences may suggest that God concepts are cognitive organizations that remain stable over time, possibly due to reinforcement from church attendance. All data were collected from church attendees.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00089

Affiliations: 1: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL., 2: Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, WI

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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