Download the Godly Love National Survey (pdf)
The Godly Love National Survey (GLNS) is comprised of four survey efforts undertaken as part of the Flame of Love Project. The first effort was a questionnaire distributed to over 100 exemplars of Godly Love as part of in-depth, face-to-face interviews conducted in 2008-2009. The findings from these survey and interview data are discussed in the book A Sociological Study of the Great Commandment. The research instruments were designed with the help of an interdisciplinary team of scholars from a variety of social sciences and branches of theology and the results of this research informed the development of the other survey efforts.
The second effort was a pilot survey of a national random sample of 600 adults conducted by telephone in the summer of 2009 (average interview length of 15 minutes; a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points and a response rate of 36 percent). This pilot survey was used to test new questions and the results of the tests were used to develop the full national survey.
The full national survey collected a national random sample of 1,208 adults conducted by telephone in the fall of 2009 in both English and Spanish (with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points and a response rate of 36 percent). A fourth and final survey was an oversample of 400 African American and 400 Hispanic pentecostals, using the same questionnaire as the national sample and also conducted by telephone. The pilot, national, and oversample surveys were conducted by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University Akron under the direction of the project leaders.
For the full national survey, women comprised 51.4% of the sample. Whites accounted for 70.6%, follow by Latinos (13.5%), and Blacks (12.6%). Conservatives were the largest political group with 40.9% of respondents choosing that label (34.6% were moderate and 21.7% were liberal). Over half (55.8%) were married. Less than half (42%) had only a high school degree or less, 30% had some college, and 29% had a college degree. Just under half (46.1%) had a yearly income over $54,000, with 16.6% reporting less than $18,000, 22.1% claiming $18,000-$36,000, and 15.2% choosing the $36,000-$54,000 range. Following standard practices, both the pilot and national surveys have been weighted to match the demographic characteristics of the 2009 American Community Survey of the U.S. Bureau of Census.
Our national survey shows that the Christian Great Commandment to love God and love neighbor as self is alive and well in the United States. An overwhelming majority of Americans experience divine love at least occasionally and over half experience it most days or more often. Eight out of ten American adults feel that God's love increases their compassion for others at least occasionally and just over half feel this most days or more frequently. Over eighty percent feel God's love directly and also experience this love as the greatest power in the universe. Data from the GLNS suggest that the experiential knowing of God's love is an important factor in accounting for increased benevolence in the lives of many Americans. Books and articles that more fully explore these data are in progress.