Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

Studies reveal 5 ways faith matters in the struggle to place spiritual before material goods

It is not just Western Christians in this Advent period who are tempted to ignore their faith’s warnings to focus on spiritual rather than material goods. New studies are revealing the ways members of different global faiths may transcend – or fall prey to – consumer cultures willing to co-opt even their most sacred festivals to move merchandise.

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Studies find atheists, Christians hold similar core moral values but prejudices persist

Atheists and Christians share many of the core universal values such as compassion and fairness that are at the heart of a just, civil society, a new study suggests. Yet when asked to judge one another, members of the two groups embraced many of the negative stereotypes that fuel the culture wars in the U.S

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Fewer cheerful givers: The financial crisis facing U.S. churches

Even as the economy improves from the depths of the recession, several U.S. religious groups are not keeping up financially, according to two new studies. Giving as a percentage of income continues to fall for many Protestant groups, while the Catholic Church faces several financial challenges from changing demographics to church embezzlement and the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

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Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

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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.

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Latin American perspective on Papa Francisco reveals genuine leader dedicated to change

BUENOS AIRES — The election of Pope Francis is raising spirits and hopes throughout the Catholic Church. But what has been the impact on the ground, and what are the prospects of a makeover for a church that often measures changes in terms of centuries rather than days and months? Many of the people who know Pope Francis best, leading Latin American journalists, scholars and religious leaders, say the genuine faith of the Argentinian pope is making a difference with people in the streets and in the pews. Convincing Catholics in high places, however, may be his greatest challenge.

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Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

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Faith without work: Studies find religion key resource for unemployed, underemployed

Religion can help lower depression, maintain optimism, provide social support and offer other benefits to people around the world left behind amid the shifting demands of the global economy, new research finds.

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Catholic churches most likely to be on the front lines of issues from abortion to poverty

The nation’s largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds. While Catholics were most active on the abortion issue, they also were more likely than other groups to lobby and demonstrate on a wide range of issues, from combating poverty to advocating for immigration reform.

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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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