Archive for the ‘evangelical’ Category

As black-white gap widens, Americans do not want to talk about race

New findings from the second wave of a major study on religion and race lay bare the dramatic and growing gap in racial attitudes and experiences in America. We do not live in a post-racial nation, the 2012 Portraits of American Life Study suggests, but in a land of two Americas divided by race, and less willing than ever to find a common ground of understanding.

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Studies: Religion linked to fewer violent crimes; being ‘spiritual but not religious’ tied to increased risk

Can religion help reduce violent crime? Two new studies suggest the answer is yes, both by creating a moral climate that fosters respect among neighbors and by helping to form individual consciences of young adults. Communities with high levels of active participation in congregations may be particularly effective in reducing assaults, rapes and murders in some poor areas that are most likely to suffer from violent crimes, the research indicates.

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Homosexuality and the pews: Seven signs influencing congregational acceptance of gays and lesbians

Much of the conflict over issues of sexuality takes place at the national level. But individual congregations, not denominations, ultimately decide how gay and lesbian worshippers will be accepted in religious communities. New studies are providing insights into which congregations are more likely to be welcoming to gays and lesbians, and what this means for the future.

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The Final Four, travel teams and empty pews: Research on sports and religion

From youth travel teams to big-time national festivals such as the Final Four, sports have been making increasing inroads in the busy lives of many Americans. And it is having an impact on religious groups, which report increasing difficulty convincing families that are willing to spend half a day traveling to a 9-year-old’s softball or soccer game to make time for worship services. Some congregations have opted out of the competition, while others are adapting by offering alternative service times and their own sports programs.

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The next pope, Pentecostalism and the Global South

More than half of the world’s Catholics reside in the Global South, and many Catholics are hopeful the next pope will be from Latin America or Africa. This, some observers say, would not only be a significant affirmation of the global nature of the church, but could help stem defections to Pentecostal congregations in those regions. But what may matter more than the nationality of the next pope, according to some scholars, is his commitment to allowing the growth of lay leadership and culturally sensitive worship that is at the heart of the success of the Pentecostal movement. “A new pope would do well to officially sanction some of this, rather than resist it,” one scholar says.

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Religion and gun control: The possibilities for change

Gun-control advocates face powerful oppostion even as President Obama vows to make it a priority in his second term. The public outrage over the Newtown school shooting does not appear to have changed many minds among evangelical Protestants who have strongly opposed stricter laws. But over the long term, several factors, from increasing migration to cities to changing attitudes among young evangelicals and the growth of Hispanic Catholics, indicate major changes may be coming.

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The ties that may not bind: Race, religion and marriage

In a scene from the movie “Lincoln,” a Democrat arguing against passage of the 13th Amendment derisively mentions the idea of interracial marriage to ridicule the legislation that would abolish slavery. A century-and-a-half later, as an African-American president is inaugurated for a second term, interracial unions still are relatively rare. And faith groups may be part of the reason Americans still find it so difficult to transcend race and ethnicity in matters of the heart, new research indicates.

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Belief in miracles climbs in the age of Oprah

Even as more people appear to be turning away from organized religion, a new study finds that the number of Americans who definitely believe in religious miracles increased 22 percent in the past two decades, The increased belief in miracles crosses all religious traditions, with the strongest gains reported by those who attend services infrequently.

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Take this job and love it: Faith plays role in workplace satisfaction

Pay. Benefits. Opportunities for advancement. These are some of the major considerations people take into account in choosing where to work. Now, employers can add another factor: Faith. An increasing body of research suggests that faith plays a major role in the workplace, from being an indicator of how long employees will stay at one company to how well they do in their jobs.

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Sex and the church: U.S. congregations struggle with gay, lesbian issues

As President Obama comes forward to support same-sex marriage, many religious communities are still finding their way as they balance theology, experience and personal consciences on issues of sexuality. Extremists continue to judge and condemn one another, and the vitriol may ramp up as the issue becomes part of the 2012 election. But new research offers a cautionary note for those who would try to fit members of different religious groups into monolithic boxes on gay and lesbian issues.

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