See update, below.

Because Matt W. asked, and we don’t diss Matt W. here, if we can help it.

A quick effort at determining the incidence of “God” in the New York Times from 1/1/1901-12/31/2005. (Couldn’t think of a way to limit it just to the editorial page.) I searched ProQuest’s NYT historical database for the word “God” and recorded the number of articles in which it occurred for each calendar year. Then to control for maybe different sizes of NYT over time, I did the same for the word “January”, and created a ratio of number of articles containing “God” to number of articles containing “January”. (I got this method from this paper.)

Here you go; click on it to see it bigger.


Well, Vance made me doubt the suitability of “January” as a denominator, so I went back and tried two others: no search term, which should capture all articles in the database, and “the”. Results below.

It looks to me like there’s no huge difference made by different denominators.