Before describing the relevance of religious involvement, I outline different perspectives on the link between SES and beliefs about the divine.
The sociological tradition is rich with theory and evidence about the links between social inequality and religion (Stark 1972).
Using data from two national 2005 surveys of Americans, I observe the following: (1) overall, SES is associated negatively with beliefs in divine involvement and control; (2) with the exception of reading religious texts, each indicator of religious involvement is associated with higher levels of beliefs in divine involvement or divine control; (3) SES interacts with each dimension of religious involvement such that the negative association between SES and divine involvement or control is attenuated at higher levels of religious involvement.
I discuss the contributions of this research for theoretical perspectives on the relationship between SES and beliefs about God's influence in everyday life, underscoring the need to assess religious involvement in these processes.
My analyses focus on two potential influences that are central in sociological study of beliefs about God: SES and religious involvement.
I propose that both independently shape beliefs in divine involvement and control and, more importantly, that the effects of one depend on levels of the other.Consistent with this view, substantial evidence confirms that low SES individuals are more likely to seek God's will through prayer (Albrecht and Heaton 1984), and tend to report higher levels of divine interaction (Pollner 1989), feeling connected with God (Krause 2002), religious meaning and coping (Krause 2003, 1995), God-mediated control (Krause 2005, 2007), and the sense of divine control (Schieman et al. Moreover, low SES groups tend to derive greater psychological benefits from religiosity (Ellison 1991; Krause 1995; Pollner 1989).Another view predicts the reasons; I label it the “demythologized beliefs” hypothesis.Despite the increasing popularity of these recent polemics about religion, there is strong evidence that the vast majority of Americans maintain the belief in a personal God (Froese and Bader 2007), and these beliefs remain influential in many aspects of American social and political life (Wills 2007).Less is known, however, about the of those beliefs.(2) How are different dimensions of religious involvement associated with those beliefs?(3) Does religious involvement modify the association between SES and beliefs about divine involvement and divine control?This study examines the differences in beliefs about God's influence in everyday life across levels of socioeconomic status (SES) and whether that association is contingent upon religious involvement (i.e., frequency of praying, attendance, reading religious texts, and subjective religiosity).I focus specifically on the beliefs in divine involvement and divine control.William James ( 1999) defined religion as “the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine” (p. For more than a century, critiques of religion have suggested that beliefs about God, including His engagement and involvement in everyday life, represent forms of delusional pathology (Ellis 1988; Freud 1976; Marx and Engels 1964; Watters 1992).More recently, a fresh crop of writings from scholars across disciplines has sought to assess and challenge religion in contemporary society, especially in the United States (Dawkins 2006; Dennett 2006; Harris 2004; Hitchens 2007).