Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

Religion and economic growth: Drive to succeed in business crosses faith traditions

The idea of a Protestant or Puritan work ethic, that individuals work harder, save more and seek economic success as signs of a diligent faith, has worked its way into national lore. But in looking at the religious engines of economic growth, new research indicates it may be just as helpful to talk about an Islamic ethic or a Jewish ethic or a Buddhist ethic.

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Amid violent protests and provocative films, religion journalists create global path to understanding

The recent upheaval associated with the release of a crude, anti-Islamic film shows how issues relating to faith can cross borders with startling speed and consequences. Now is the time for the type of knowledgeable, on-the-ground reporting that provides careful international perspective regarding the complex motives behind these events. Yet too often, limited by cultural biases, this broader understanding gets lost at home and abroad amid advocacy journalism and pack reporting that reinforce popular misconceptions or fears of religious minorities and religion in public life. But here is the great news. Change is coming with the new International Association of Religion Journalists.

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Experiencing is believing: Odyssey into the heart of American religion punctures stereotypes

Forget the popular cultural images from shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” that revive stereotypes linking Mormonism with polygamy or the ubiquitous images in the news associating Islam with terrorism. Look past the cultural crossfire that lumps religious liberals and conservatives into separate boxes defined by extremist political and social agendas. The reality, as presented in a new book by two respected scholars, is that if you walk into a mosque, synagogue, temple or church next weekend, you will most likely find groups of believers in prayer and meditation seeking spiritual growth.

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Obesity rising: Religion and food can be unhealthy combination

Other than sexuality, food is one of the most difficult topics for religious communities to talk about. Just how difficult is shown in new research indicating weight control is a notable exception to a generally positive record linking religious activitiy to positive health outcomes. In one study of some 5,500 women and men ages 45 to 84, participants were more likely to be obese the more religiously active they were. Each step of the way, from those never attending worship to those attending weekly, greater religious activity was associated with significantly higher rates of obesity.

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Knowing your neighbor is powerful force for civility

Americans have long feared religious groups they do not know. Islam and Buddhism are among the least liked religious expressions in America today. New research, however, indicates it does not have to be this way. Getting to know evangelicals, atheists, Muslims and Buddhists as individuals leads to greater acceptance of people of diverse beliefs, Robert Putnam of Harvard University and David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame suggest in their new book “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”

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Paranormal is the new normal in America

Don’t call them oddballs. More than two-thirds of Americans have paranormal beliefs, and the interest in otherworldly possibilities beyond the realm of traditional religions is only expected to increase, sociologists Christopher Bader and F. Carson Mencken of Baylor University and Joseph Baker of East Tennessee State University report in their new book “Paranormal America.” “What we can say with certainty is that we live in a paranormal America.”

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