The characteristics of parent-child relationships and their effects on God images.
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Pagel, Andrew T.
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It has been proposed that an individual's attitudes and beliefs strongly reflect their concepts of what God is and what God represents. However, where do these attitudes and beliefs originate? I theorize that they come from child-rearing practices, as children are likely to view God as an authority figure with the same characteristics their parents have. To test this, I compared God's perceived love and anger to positive memories of a respondent's parents during childhood, and receiving corporal punishment as a child. The results showed that having positive memories of one's parents is positively correlated with viewing God as loving. However, receiving corporal punishment as a child proved to be positively associated with both viewing God as angry and loving. These effects were present despite multiple religious controls, suggesting that one's parents may have a great influence on the way God is conceptualized into adulthood.