Archive for the ‘secular’ Category

When sex doesn’t sell: How faith influences what we buy

A new wave of research on religion in the marketplace is revealing both what is more likely to make a sale with religious consumers, and how believers are putting their faith into practice when they shop online or at the mall. The payoff: Religious commitment matters to the bottom line.

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‘Nones’ are ‘someones’ in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

The end is not near for religion in America – or elsewhere in the world. What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of whether the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups heralds a long-term loss of religious beliefs. While jeremiads of the decline of religion get a good deal of press, scholars said at a recent symposium, there is also evidence Americans are “living in one of the most religious countries on the face of the Earth.”

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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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Charlie Hebdo and the price of freedom denied: Studies find independent courts and civility best protect liberties, lessen conflict

Islam is not the reason nations restrict religious freedom. Nor are open and free elections guarantors of such liberties. What does predict the protection of religious freedom is a free and independent judiciary, according to a major new study.

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How can secular and religious individuals share the same public space? Humility, humility and humility

Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.

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Religion and volunteering: What motivates people of faith to serve thy neighbor

What motivates religious individuals to volunteer at a community food bank, or to care for the sick or to build houses and schools for neighbors in their community and across the world? The answer is complex, with personal faith, worship attendance and social networks all playing a role, according to new research.

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Fire in the pews: Competition reviving Latin American religious landscape

Don’t cry for the Catholic Church in Argentina or anywhere else in Latin America. A church in Latin America that was in danger of becoming a stale religious monopoly – witness the malaise throughout much of Western Europe – is reasserting itself in what is a vibrant religious landscape from Mexico to Brazil, according to some researchers.

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Media matters: R-rated films, violent video games may lower religious practice of teens, young adults

Can a steady diet of watching movies such as “Ted” and “Saw” through “Saw VI” or playing violent video games keep young people out of the pews? The answer may be yes, according to studies suggesting the viewing choices young people make also can influence their spiritual lives. It is more complex than a simple “content in, action out” principle where young people emulate the behavior they see on screen. Still, researchers are finding many young adults appear to struggle with the radically different messages of “Machete Kills” or “Grand Theft Auto” and the Sermon on the Mount.

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Who wants to join the Plain Mennonites and Amish? The real seekers of Anabaptist life

Young women, Baptists and seekers who have personal contact with Anabaptist life are some of the more likely candidates to be seriously interested in plain Amish and Mennonite communities, according to a new study. Distinctive, stable communities that place faith and family life at the forefront present an attractive alternative to some people, especially young adults, who appear to be seeking a genuine alternative to a modern world that glorifies technology, consumerism and secular lifestyles.

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More than a platitude: Praying for others promotes hope, optimism, studies suggest

What does it mean when someone says, “My prayers are with you.” More than one might imagine, it turns out, particularly when the pledge comes from someone near to the person suffering, new research suggests. One national study found that people who were prayed for by someone close to them were the most optimistic about their future – even though individuals receiving prayer were more likely to be facing adversity such as mental or physical health issues or unemployment.

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