Could it be that the real reason the world economy is in the tank is not the tax-and-spend liberals perniciously penalizing The Rich for their success—but instead, the wrath of a vengeful god? Yes. The god one is correct.

This possibility is much on the minds of Americans, most of whom are unable to understand basic math, much less a moderately sophisticated system of macroeconomics, and are therefore ripe for supernatural explanations of their myriad troubles. A new survey out of Baylor University indicates that not only do Americans routinely prefer superstitious explanations for problems with thoroughly factual and available answers; they also are unafraid to share this boldly preposterous philosophical tendency with pollsters.

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," says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

We imagine Paul Froese shaking his head, sucking his teeth, and taking a long, deep swig from a nearby bottle of bourbon immediately after giving that quote.

The news isn't all bad, though: "34% of entrepreneurs say they frequently look up to the Lord." So there are still plenty of credulous suckers out there to be taken advantage of if you get into a tough spot.

[USAT. Photo: Alexander Amatosi/ Flickr]