Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

The '1 percent' in mainline Protestantism? Congregations attracting young adults

Is there a point of no return for the resurgence of mainline Protestantism? As the movement enters its second half-century of precipitous decline, new research suggests that not only is there no end in sight, but there are few signs of hope for revival in rapidly aging, shrinking groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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The Amazon effect: Worshippers flocking to larger churches

Just as one-stop shopping behemoths such as Walmart and Amazon are fulfilling the retail needs of America’s consumers, larger churches are increasingly meeting the spiritual needs of America’s faithful. New research indicates a decline in attendance at the great majority of the nation’s churches, while churches attracting 400 people or more on Sundays are dramatically increasing their market share.

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A Nation Divided By Fear: Studies reveal widespread lack of social trust

America may be nearing a critical tipping point where our fears, particularly of vulnerable groups such as Muslims and immigrants, are breaking down the sense of social trust that enables nations and communities to work together for the common good, research indicates. A new set of studies surveying fears in 2014 and 2015 offer insights into how much we are afraid of one another.

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The war at home: Four ways good faith can help defeat ISIS

Protect religious freedom. Maintain an independent judiciary. Respect your neighbor. Get to know your neighbors. These are the ways the nation can help reduce the threat of terrorism and preserve civil liberties, research suggests.

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Walking through the darkest valleys: How religion can be a healing balm for veterans

Religion can be a critical source of spiritual and social support for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, new research indicates. What also matters is that it be the right type of spiritual support. Veterans who are able to find a resource in faith in a loving God who cares for them appear to be better able to work through the stresses of combat. Those who continue to struggle with images of a judgmental God who is responsible for senseless suffering may be more likely to take their own lives.

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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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A 'Great Abdicating' or Much Ado about Nones? Growing, diverse body offers few easy answers

Americans with little or no ties to organized religion are significantly more likely to be male, single, and liberal. But within this broad portrait researchers are discovering a more nuanced diversity that provides a clearer picture of the nation’s “nones,” those who claim no religious affiliation on surveys. Maybe it is even time to stop calling them nones.

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An environmental tipping point? Evangelicals going to the dogs . . . and cats . . . with major statement on animal welfare

Evangelicals are turning their attention to all creatures great and small. Scores of prominent evangelical pastors, scholars, theologians and other leaders took their place in a growing national dialogue over animal welfare with a declaration resolving to confront “any and all cruelty against animals.” Some analysts see the evangelical declaration as moving toward a tipping point in raising religious awareness of animal welfare issues, building on the momentum of Pope Francis’s encyclical in June.

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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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Bigotry in numbers: Why so many academics look down on evangelicals

Why does the U.S. exhibit so many signs of becoming an increasingly polarized nation, where we are willing to apply negative stereotypes to entire groups of people, whether they are atheists or evangelicals, Muslims or blacks? New research suggests some uncomfortable answers: It is easier to judge people we do not know, and inhibitions about expressing prejudice tend to fall away if enough of your peers have the same beliefs.

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