Archive for the ‘secular’ Category

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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The Final Four, travel teams and empty pews: Research on sports and religion

From youth travel teams to big-time national festivals such as the Final Four, sports have been making increasing inroads in the busy lives of many Americans. And it is having an impact on religious groups, which report increasing difficulty convincing families that are willing to spend half a day traveling to a 9-year-old’s softball or soccer game to make time for worship services. Some congregations have opted out of the competition, while others are adapting by offering alternative service times and their own sports programs.

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Dynamic ‘nones’ hold key to future of American religion

The growing number of Americans reporting no religious affiliation are at the center of a debate over whether the United States is inevitably moving toward becoming a more secular nation or is experiencing shifts in the religious marketplace but stability in basic beliefs and behaviors. There are no easy answers. A growing body of evidence reveals a complex portrait of Americans who do not identify with a particular religious group. Many “nones,” some scholars say, find themselves “betwixt and between the religious and the secular, but they are not necessarily on the path to being one or the other.”

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Romney’s dilemma: Anti-Mormon prejudice comes from all sides

GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney is asking voters to judge him on his individual qualifications, and not as a representative of an entire faith – just as the Catholic John F. Kennedy did in his groundbreaking run five decades ago. But each step of the way, the former Massachusetts governor will have a lot to overcome to become the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be elected to the nation’s highest office, say scholars studying religion and presidential politics.

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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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