Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Not just a joke: Studies find religious humor can break through prejudice, build social ties

Jokes about religion should be left to the professionals, not the politicians, a comprehensive new survey of religion and humor finds. The research is part of a larger project involving several Scandinavian studies on religion and humor that indicate support for a less hostile, more nuanced approach to religious humor that has the potential to break through the polarization in the West over perceived threats from immigrants and religious minorities.

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Religion and gambling: The wages of faith may be fewer lost wages

Two new studies reveal there are multiple ways religion can help deter gambling even as the ever-expanding industry gains increasing legitimacy from local governments searching for new forms of tax revenue. But varying approaches may be most effective in confronting different forms of gambling from lotteries to on-line betting.

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Crime stoppers: Black church significant deterrent to violence

A new study analyzing data from 733 U.S. counties encompassing more than 80 percent of the black population revealed that homicide, robbery, burglary and larceny rates all decreased the more people in the county were active in black Protestant churches. And where it can do the most good, in areas with high rates of poverty and unemployment, the black church is doing the most good, the study found.

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A profile in intellectual humility: Templeton Prize winner builds place for God in philosophy

Alvin Plantinga started out at a time when much of the academic community in philosophy was hostile to the idea of belief in God. Yet he became a leading figure in making belief in a divine reality an option to take seriously. More than a half-century later, his work in such areas as free will and evil, the role of God in the universe and the compatibility of science and religion continues to be a major influence in philosophy.

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Study: Americans more likely to vote for highly religious candidates. A challenge for Democrats with growing secular base

A new study finds Americans, with the notable exception of strong Democrats with little or no religious commitments, are significantly less likely to vote for a secular candidate. Instead, U.S. voters, including independents, are far more disposed to cast ballots for candidates who are members of worshipping communities and describe themselves as people of faith.

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Think your God is "awwwesome?" How the answer may affect your health

Three new studies explore how faith may help or hinder individuals coping with the loss of a loved one, in the battle against obesity or in providing resources to protect against anxiety and depression.

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Left behind? Evangelical Christians and campus diversity

As inclusivity becomes a priority on campuses, the door is opening for greater sensitivity for all religious groups, including evangelical Christians, new research indicates. One major study found that getting to know evangelicals in settings from general spiritual activities on campus to classroom discussions on diversity led to greater appreciation even among groups that included their harshest critics.

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Science affirms how black lives matter in the black church - a source of hope and strength in troubled times

Science is providing greater insight into how black faith and the black church have been sources of enduring hope and strength in troubled times. Several new studies build on past research in revealing how this special faith continues to be associated with positive outcomes for black Americans amid the realities of discrimination and economic, political and social inequality.

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Demonic influences: Beware the devil you know

Belief in the existence of powerful supernatural evil beings was one of the strongest predictors of poor mental health in young adults, according to a new study. Yet having poor mental health did not lead to greater belief in demonic forces.

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Lessons from Amazon: Being open to change can spur congregational vitality, growth

The majority of congregations are at a crossroad today: They must adapt to a culture where churchgoing is increasingly more of a choice than an obligation, or face a future of sustained decline. Yet many congregations have been reluctant to embrace any major changes in outreach to attract new members or retain younger generations. Instead, they appear to be cutting back, research indicates.

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