Archive for the ‘science’ Category

When believing in miracles may be harmful to your health

Are there times when too much control can be ceded to God? When it comes to health, the answer in many cases may be yes. Placing too much control in divine hands may lessen efforts to seek treatment or take preventive measures such as quitting smoking or following a healthy diet, a new study indicates.

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Secret shame: How online porn may cause spiritual struggles, disrupt families

As popular culture marches on in its acceptance of pornography, one group of Americans is not finding it as easy to adapt, research indicates. Many religious individuals are facing damaging spiritual struggles as they find themselves torn between the teachings of their faith and the same basic desires that have turned online porn into a multibillion-dollar business.

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How faith can help young women - and men - take their body image higher

Faith may be a strong antidote to the pop culture worship of ultra-thin body types, new research indicates. But not just any kind of faith. Individuals who believe in a judgmental God often feel worse about themselves as they engage in activities such as binging or excessive exercise to win approval from a distant, demanding divinity. However, young people who have faith in a God who loves them as they are have much healthier body images, according to several studies.

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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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Sex and the church: U.S. congregations struggle with gay, lesbian issues

As President Obama comes forward to support same-sex marriage, many religious communities are still finding their way as they balance theology, experience and personal consciences on issues of sexuality. Extremists continue to judge and condemn one another, and the vitriol may ramp up as the issue becomes part of the 2012 election. But new research offers a cautionary note for those who would try to fit members of different religious groups into monolithic boxes on gay and lesbian issues.

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Give us our daily passage: Reading Bible tied to social justice issues

Bible reading matters – just not in the way many commentators on popular culture would predict. A new study, one of the first to examine the social consequences of reading Scripture, reveals the effects of Bible reading appear to transcend conservative-liberal boundaries. Thus, while opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion tends to increase with more time spent with the Bible, so does the number of people who say it is important to actively seek social and economic justice.

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Numbers vs. nurture: Predicting the future of religion

Date-setting for the end of the world has never worked out too well for biblical prophets. Some social scientists, however, say increasingly sophisticated demographic tools can provide vauable insight into the future of religion. Under one scenario for the U.S., Hispanic Catholics and non-Christian religions will be big winners, while predominantly white religious groups will lag behind. Other researchers, however, are skeptical of such attempts to predict the future.

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Charlie Sheen circus points out double-edged sword of religion and alcohol

A major celebrity appears to be destroying himself with alcohol before the eyes of a nation, and his antics become comic fodder, fueling an endless thirst for celebrity voyeurism. What is obscured among the ridicule being heaped upon Charlie Sheen is our own discomfort in confronting alcohol addiction. Religion can be both help and hindrance in the battle against alcoholism, research suggests.

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Younger clergy lead online growth: Is there time left for prayer?

Christian clergy are keeping pace with technological advances, a trend that should only grow stronger as a younger, more wired generation takes their place in pulpits, according to a new study. Ninety-five percent of Christian clergy use the Internet at least weekly, and more than three in four send e-mails to worshippers once a week or more, according to the latest wave of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. What may be suffering is time spent in prayer.

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