Archive for the ‘God’ Category

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.

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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.

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Morality study: What would you do for a million dollars?

A major new study now available on the Association of Religion Data Archives offers insights into how Americans apply ethical principles in the moral choices they make in their everyday lives. While most of us like to think of ourselves as merciful, kind, generous human beings, personal interests may take precedence when it comes to making real-life decisions.

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How can secular and religious individuals share the same public space? Humility, humility and humility

Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.

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Holy self-worth: Studies find religion promotes healthy body image for young women

Forget looking like Kate Moss. A developing body of research suggests faith can provide a safe haven from a secular culture that encourages women to fit into a body type that comes naturally to only about one in 20 females. Worship, prayer and a strong sense of the importance of religion may help teens and 20-somethings with eating disorders overcome feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, one new study indicated.

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Racial power vs. divine glory: Why desegregation remains an elusive goal for U.S. congregations

It is tempting to think of America as a nation that is transcending an historic racial divide. But a developing body of research is revealing just how pervasive racial differences are in one of the nation’s most powerful voluntary institutions — the houses of worship where people gather for spiritual and moral guidance and fellowship.

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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.

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Online tool helps make sense of the great American middle in abortion debate

Scholars, journalists and the general public have a new tool to determine what trends are emerging as a national consensus on controversial topics such as abortion, homosexuality and the mix of science and religion. The Measurement Wizard of the Association of Religion Data Archives allows users to browse available ARDA data from some 7,700 questions asked in more than 750 major national and international surveys to analyze the major findings on hot-topic issues in religion and public life.

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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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Media matters: R-rated films, violent video games may lower religious practice of teens, young adults

Can a steady diet of watching movies such as “Ted” and “Saw” through “Saw VI” or playing violent video games keep young people out of the pews? The answer may be yes, according to studies suggesting the viewing choices young people make also can influence their spiritual lives. It is more complex than a simple “content in, action out” principle where young people emulate the behavior they see on screen. Still, researchers are finding many young adults appear to struggle with the radically different messages of “Machete Kills” or “Grand Theft Auto” and the Sermon on the Mount.

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