Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Bigotry in numbers: Why so many academics look down on evangelicals

Why does the U.S. exhibit so many signs of becoming an increasingly polarized nation, where we are willing to apply negative stereotypes to entire groups of people, whether they are atheists or evangelicals, Muslims or blacks? New research suggests some uncomfortable answers: It is easier to judge people we do not know, and inhibitions about expressing prejudice tend to fall away if enough of your peers have the same beliefs.

[Read Full Column...]

Where did all the fundamentalists come from? Google’s Ngram Viewer reveals 2 centuries of religious trends

God is not dead. Fundamentalists are seemingly creeping up everywhere. And despite their spectacular growth, Mormons were never more in the public eye than when they were being targeted in the 19th century. These are some of the interesting revelations that are suggested by searching an American literary canon of more than 3 million books from 1800 to 2000.

[Read Full Column...]

How to build a better world: Jean Vanier on love, humility and the path to peace

What kind of a world would it be if the stories and ideas that captured our attention reflected our common humanity? It might be a world where we can envision ourselves as sisters and brothers in a large human family, says Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live together. Today, at 86, as he joins the pantheon of Templeton Prize winners that includes individuals such as the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, Vanier sees a world teetering between love and fear, where the culture erects walls of distrust that lead people to fear those who are different.

[Read Full Column...]

Parents No. 1 influence helping teens remain religiously active as young adults

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: Parents. Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

[Read Full Column...]

Faith 101: Supporting college freshmen through times of spiritual questioning

College freshmen undergoing spiritual struggles may be at risk for addictive behaviors, a study indicates. The finding is consistent with a developing body of research revealing the complex nature of religion and mental health. The assurance of a loving God concerned with their welfare helps many people deal with life’s stresses, but individuals with a less secure attachment to the divine may face greater problems with anxiety and depression.

[Read Full Column...]

Forgiveness in its own time: How faith communities can help trauma survivors heal

Forgiveness is linked to better mental and physical health. And religious traditions generally uphold the practice as a great virtue. But forgiveness is also a deeply personal act, one that can harm trauma survivors if it is coerced or demanded before they are able to come to terms with their pain and suffering, experts note. “The first thing is to surround the people with care and compassion,” one researcher says.

[Read Full Column...]

7 ways congregations can embrace people with special needs

Faith communities appear to have fallen behind the larger society in their understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities. But research is revealing several ways – beginning with attitudes of love and acceptance – that just about any congregation can be more inclusive.

[Read Full Column...]

Leaning inward: Mothers at the margins find hope, support in faith

Research lifting up the experiences of mothers facing hardships, whether in a homeless shelter in the Southwest, or in a maximum-security prison in the Midwest, or ostracized with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests many women rely on religion and spirituality for a pathway beyond despair to having a sense of hope for the future. Their stories reveal a powerful faith that provides a vision of a better life for them and their children.

[Read Full Column...]

The Lord is their shepherd: New study reveals who reads the Bible – and why

Favorite biblical book: The Psalms. Percentage of Americans who read the Bible on their own: About half. And far and away the No. 1 reason they pick up Scripture is for personal prayer and devotion. A major new study on American Bible reading offers insights into how, why and when Americans read Scripture outside of worship.

[Read Full Column...]

What price a religious calling? Record seminary debt shows need for financial as well as divine guidance

Record seminary debt and rising tuition costs are forcing both prospective clergy and theological schools to reconsider the price of a religious calling. More than a quarter of students graduating in 2011 with a Master of Divinity degree had more than $40,000 in theological debt and 5 percent were more than $80,000 in the red, a new study found. Many of these students discovered that not only they or their spouses had to moonlight to make ends meet, but some had to choose another job besides the ministry to pay the bills.

[Read Full Column...]