Archive for the ‘secular’ Category

Studies follow uneven paths of secularization while debunking popular myths

The debate about whether the world is entering a more secular age and whether the growth of religiously non-affiliated people is hastening such secularization in part revolves around questions of timing. In other words, when did these trends start and what led to them?

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Aging populations may put brakes on global secularization trends

Does longstanding evidence that people become more religious as they age indicate that secularization trends may reverse in rapidly aging societies of high-income countries? The findings of a new study indicate faith may be more compelling as individuals face their own mortality.

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Body image by faith: Who is most satisfied with their appearance?

Summertime, and the livin’ seems easy on the glut of network shows featuring young men and women with sculpted bodies celebrating the narcissistic quest to determine who is the most desirable of all. But as we look away from the magic mirror of fantasy answers to the Cinderella question, consider how harmful it can be to the mental health and self-worth of those trying to live up to near-impossible cultural ideals of beauty. New research suggests faith may provide an answer.

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A conversation with Michael Emerson on race, humility and ways we can talk to one another

There are few people better able to offer perspective on the polarized state of the nation today than Michael Emerson. In an interview, Emerson, one of the foremost sociologists on race, religion and civility in the United States, offers incisive observations on how we got to where we are today, and what we can do to promote a more intellectually humble, respectful national dialogue.

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Faithful measures deepen understanding of religion

In a new book, “Faithful Measures: New Methods in the Measurement of Religion,” leading religion researchers across academic disciplines explore an array of evolving new tools and measures that can help deepen understanding of the role of religion in public and private lives today. They include ways to compare polls on factors from survey methodology to question wording for a clearer understanding of their value and potential bias.

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Survey finds a nation divided by faith, politics: Muslims, atheists, conservative Christians bear brunt of fears, distrust

Technology does not scare us. Nor especially does the fear of Hell or worries about getting into heaven. But the fears and suspect motives we place on belief systems different than our own very much concerns Americans, according to the latest wave of the Baylor Religion Survey. For centuries, Catholics and Jewish people bore the[ READ FULL COLUMN ]

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Not just a joke: Studies find religious humor can break through prejudice, build social ties

Jokes about religion should be left to the professionals, not the politicians, a comprehensive new survey of religion and humor finds. The research is part of a larger project involving several Scandinavian studies on religion and humor that indicate support for a less hostile, more nuanced approach to religious humor that has the potential to break through the polarization in the West over perceived threats from immigrants and religious minorities.

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A profile in intellectual humility: Templeton Prize winner builds place for God in philosophy

Alvin Plantinga started out at a time when much of the academic community in philosophy was hostile to the idea of belief in God. Yet he became a leading figure in making belief in a divine reality an option to take seriously. More than a half-century later, his work in such areas as free will and evil, the role of God in the universe and the compatibility of science and religion continues to be a major influence in philosophy.

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Study: Americans more likely to vote for highly religious candidates. A challenge for Democrats with growing secular base

A new study finds Americans, with the notable exception of strong Democrats with little or no religious commitments, are significantly less likely to vote for a secular candidate. Instead, U.S. voters, including independents, are far more disposed to cast ballots for candidates who are members of worshipping communities and describe themselves as people of faith.

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Faith and health: When TV goes low in depicting religion, marginal believers may suffer most

What is the impact of the public trashing of religion on the lives of the great majority of Americans who profess a belief in God? New research exploring the relation between mental health and negative media portrayals of religion reveals some surprising findings.

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