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One in Five Americans Thinks God Controls the Stock Market

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According to USA Today, "About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith."

"They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work," sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the just-released Baylor Religion Survey [PDF], tells the paper. "They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It's a new religious economic idealism."

Froese says this group believes the Bible is the "ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work."

The study reveals a number of interesting insights. For one, more Americans believe that wealth -- or lack of it -- is predetermined by God.

"In today’s United States with high levels of unemployment and vastly expanding wealth inequality, belief in God’s plan sustains belief in the fairness of our economic system and our ability to eschew government assistance to stem the tide of our economic woes," write the authors.

The survey also finds that, even though "American entrepreneurs look very similar to non-entrepreneurs in their belief in God, religious affiliation, frequency of attendance, frequency of sacred text reading, and view of the Bible," they are "different when it comes to prayer and meditation." The authors determine that "entrepreneurs pray at least several times a day (34%) and practice meditation (32%) than non-entrepreneurs."

Says Kevin D. Dougherty, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology at Baylor, "It could be that the stress and struggle of new business ventures drive people to their knees."

As for job satisfaction, one's belief in the afterlife appears to factor into the equation quite heavily, as noted in a section titled (and no, this is not a joke), "Beliefs about Heaven and Hell Could Make a Helluva Difference":

Those who absolutely believe in Heaven and/or Hell are clearly satisfied with their jobs. In organizational research, satisfaction with one’s job has been linked to job performance and low levels of turnover. As such, the finding that beliefs about Heaven and Hell are linked to job satisfaction offers value to organizations.

And 30% of American women "view their work as a mission from God as compared to 20% of working men," while "42% state that they often or always pursue excellence in their work because of their faith in contrast to 31% of working men."

One point of contention?

92% of survey respondents say "anything is possible for those who work hard."

To which a commenter by the name of "Tegan" replies:

You've got to be kidding me! I can't believe that 92% of Americans still believe this. Was there a time in our country that this was mostly true?
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.