This study employed a sample of 575 Protestants to examine how Protestants perceive God in family roles by looking first at what roles God is perceived in and if gender, controlling for age, will predict perceiving God in specific family roles. God was most often perceived as a father, husband/groom, mother, and brother for the whole sample. However, when dividing the sample by gender, this did not hold true for the men who saw God first as father followed by brother, mother, and husband, in that order. Gender was significantly related to seeing God as a husband/groom when controlling for age.
The second part of this study used a sub-sample of 18 mostly Conservative participants to explore how they perceived the nature of God in those family roles. God as father was seen in these three ways: a controlling, distant father; a kind, traditional father; and a modern, flexible father. God as mother was seen in a more traditional way, although participants came to the conclusion that they actually think of God as a mothering father or more generally as a parent. God was also seen as a brother, though this was less developed. God (usually as Jesus) was also experienced in five husband-type roles which include: tender and intimate lover, passionate and desirous lover, companionable partner, sacrificial and forgiving partner, and providing and protecting husband. Many connections between family relationships and family based God images were found.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Family social Science. Advisor: Julie A. Zaloudek. 1 computer file (PDF) v, 154 pages.
Zaloudek, Julie A..
Our Father which Art in Heaven: conservative christian protestants‘ perceptions and meanings of gendered family metaphors for God..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.