“Has God Been Divided?” is the result of an extensive one year and a half long research in information design. The book tells the story of 56 denominations of the Christian Church gathering over hundred million people in the United States. The objective was to develop a unified system of unbiased visual and verbal comparisons which together can reveal the choices that shape present-day church and society.
The first chapter of “Has God Been Divided?” focuses on the historical development of the main teachings and ideas still present in the church today.
The second chapter named World Religions presents a high level visualization of all religions and affiliations (including the "nones" and ethnic) sliced by followers, by continent and by region. Each religion is accompanied by a short description.
Close-up: World Religions Break down in the United States
The third chapter
named Doctrine and Practice provides details about the history, doctrine, and practice of each of the 56 denominations. It is based on five distinct criteria such as their view on the Bible, e.g is it literal or open for interpretation?
The proportion-driven system shows the congregations each denomination has in any given state, revealing the popularity of specific beliefs. A quick reference (bottom left corner) provides the total number of churches and members, the theology and the practiced sacraments.
Close-up: Doctrine and Practice Presbyterian church illustration
The forth chapter
named Members introduces a ranking system designed to map the number of followers of each denomination in each state.
These numbers could speak to the tolerance of and towards specific views (conservative, liberal, unorthodox, etc.) in each state. The members are presented as an exact number as well as a percentage of the general population of the US, normalizing the data to reflect the dynamics of unequal population distribution. Each denomination has an individual map of presence, a timeline with the year of establishment and a quick reference.
The fifth chapter
introduces a compare and contrast, proportion-driven system, which provides the historical trends of growth or decline in the number of churches and members of each denomination from 1925 to 2006.
“Has God Been Divided?” visualizes ranges from 0 - 70,000,000 individuals and 0 - 5,000 churches, through a proportion-driven, a ranking, and a compare and contrast system or by a combination thereof. The book is concerned with the beliefs of 126,672,770 people distributed unevenly across fifty-six denominations.
It took approximately seven months of building and rebuilding of systems to arrive at visualizations capable of accommodating the extremes in the data sets with minimal data loss and distortion.