Do People Exchange God For Big Government? Study Says Yes!

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

If people have their basic needs met by Big Government, and if it organizes their society, faith will decline, according to a new study.

Dennis Praeger makes the case that Big Government, as it expands, shrinks everything else in human society.

Praeger didn’t say it explicitly, but he could add that Big Government brings a smaller god. Of course, Christians and other theists know that Big Government can’t alter God’s greatness. But like other areas, human faith is weakened by Big Government.

Now there is more scientific evidence that Big Government shrinks faith.

The Miami Herald reports, “Government vs. God? People are less religious when government is bigger, research says.

Researchers call it an exchange model of religion: If people can get what they need from the government (be it health care, education or welfare) they’re less likely to turn to a divine power for help […].

But are people […] more likely to drop religion in places where governments provide more services and stability? In a new paper, psychology researchers crunched the numbers — and found that better government services were in fact linked to lower levels of strong religious beliefs.

Those findings held true in states across the U.S. and in countries around the world, researchers said.

The article, “Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role,” was published April 12 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Authors Miron Zuckerman and Chen Li of the University of Rochester and Ed Diener of the Universities of Utah and Virginia wrote that their findings suggest “that if the function that religiosity provides can be acquired from some other source, the allure of religion will diminish.”

They further found some evidence that the correlation is cause-and-effect. The growth of government leads to the reduction of faith in the population.

Between 2008 and 2013 in the U.S., for example, “better government services in a specific year predicted lower religiosity 1 to 2 years later,” researchers wrote.

The Apostle Paul writes of those who “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:22, 23). This is similar. We exchange trusting God for trusting a tax fed bureaucracy.

Read the whole story.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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