Bending without breaking: What new research is saying about effective religious parenting strategies

Making difficult parenting decisions – on issues ranging from fathers being open to parental leave to parents embracing family faith activities – may enrich a child’s life in multiple ways into young adulthood and beyond, some new studies suggest. “Religious firmness integrated with religious flexibility is more likely to result in a balanced, healthy style of religious parenting,” one study concluded.,

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In multiracial churches, pastors of color hitting 'the same white wall'

An ideal of multiracial churches is to be a sign of a day when faith transcends color and ethnicity. But are they instead increasing inequality? New findings from the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project find that black and Asian pastors in multiracial churches are “standing on the doorsteps of assimilation only to be ultimately denied entrance through the door of whiteness and access to the privileges enjoyed by the white majority.”

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What, me worry? Surprising findings about belief in Hell

Can belief in Hell, envisioned by many as a place of eternal torment, be considered a pathological fear? A study taking a systematic look at Hell anxiety found in general that individual belief in Hell was not in itself connected to any neuroses, and that most people did not display an unhealthy focus on the possibility of eternal damnation. The results suggested belief in hell “is perhaps a rational response to personal theological” beliefs.

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GlobalPlus: Religious freedom

This is a perilous period for religious freedom throughout the world. There is no region or world religion or secular government that is exempt from denying religious freedoms. Moreover, a consistent research finding is that religious minorities are the most frequent targets for receiving reduced freedoms, increased discrimination and open persecution. But when freedoms are uniformly secured for all, the freedoms for even the smallest minority become the freedoms for others.

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GlobalPlus: Can the Catholic Church change?

Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was charged in his own way with opening the windows of the Catholic Church to the modern world with his election in 2013. But such a change was not going to happen without resistance from powerful forces within the ancient institution. Follow the successes and challenges of his papacy through this overview from the celebrated global religion journalist who has known Jorge Bergoglio intimately since their days together in Argentina.

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GlobalPlus: Thy Neighbor's Faith

Human beings may be hard-wired since evolution to separate into tribes in response to fear and uncertainty. But science also shows we are capable of working together for the common good when we leave our tribal cocoons and get to know our neighbors in ways that promote understanding. It starts with listening to one another.

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Ahead of the Trend columns, GlobalPlus reports and religion quizzes bring you the latest news in religion research from throughout the world. This is a collegial effort, enlisting the cooperation of researchers, universities, journal editors, institutes and associations of scholars to increase the impact and awareness of important findings in religion research.

About The Author
David Briggs, a former national writer for The Associated Press who holds a master's degree from Yale Divinity School, is consistently honored among the Top 10 secular religion writers and reporters in North America.