Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Creating creationists: Silencing the middle in the science-religion dialogue

The debate about whether science and religion are adversaries often misses the fact that many people are comfortable both with their faith and the idea God plays a role in the universe. Public opinion surveys that force people to choose between a Darwinian theory of evolution and their personal faith create an artificial division that can misrepresent their positions, research indicates.

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Cultivating gratitude: Being thankful with some help from religious friends

Having trouble being thankful? New research suggests one possible solution: Keep your friends close, and your religious friends closer. A national study of worshipers found that individuals who had more friends in their congregations were more likely to be grateful to God and ultimately report better health and fewer symptoms of depression.

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Faith 101: Supporting college freshmen through times of spiritual questioning

College freshmen undergoing spiritual struggles may be at risk for addictive behaviors, a study indicates. The finding is consistent with a developing body of research revealing the complex nature of religion and mental health. The assurance of a loving God concerned with their welfare helps many people deal with life’s stresses, but individuals with a less secure attachment to the divine may face greater problems with anxiety and depression.

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Forgiveness in its own time: How faith communities can help trauma survivors heal

Forgiveness is linked to better mental and physical health. And religious traditions generally uphold the practice as a great virtue. But forgiveness is also a deeply personal act, one that can harm trauma survivors if it is coerced or demanded before they are able to come to terms with their pain and suffering, experts note. “The first thing is to surround the people with care and compassion,” one researcher says.

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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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What schism? Sexuality issues rarely create serious conflict in congregations

For all the furor whipped up in denominational politics and cultural debates over issues such as same-sex marriage, little evidence exists that they make a critical difference in the vast majority of local congregations. Studies indicate that disputes over gay rights are not a major source of conflict in local churches. Those worshipers for whom issues of sexuality are a major concern tend to gravitate toward houses of worship that embrace their views, researchers note.

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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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It is most blessed to give and to receive, studies suggest

In a culture that prizes rugged individualism, many Americans find it is more acceptable to give than to receive. Yet the blessings appear to multiply when one is able to do both, according to new research. People who both meet the needs of others and are cared for in a nurturing community are much more likely to love and trust their neighbors, studies indicate.

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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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