The characteristics of parent-child relationships and their effects on God images.

Date
2011-05
Authors
Pagel, Andrew T.
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Worldwide access
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Abstract

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.

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Keywords
Parent-child relationships., Concepts of God., Attitudes and beliefs., Child-rearing practices.
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