Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

Studies reveal 5 ways faith matters in the struggle to place spiritual before material goods

It is not just Western Christians in this Advent period who are tempted to ignore their faith’s warnings to focus on spiritual rather than material goods. New studies are revealing the ways members of different global faiths may transcend – or fall prey to – consumer cultures willing to co-opt even their most sacred festivals to move merchandise.

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Balancing sin and forgiveness on the path to a healthy life

How can believers buffer the negative effects of an unhealthy preoccupation with transgressions while benefiting from sin’s appeal to humility in being able to accurately assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses? Forgiveness may be one good place to start, according to a new study. Americans who reported experiencing being frequently forgiven by God were far less likely to show symptoms of depression and other mental health ills associated with strong beliefs in the fallen nature of humankind.

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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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The '1 percent' in mainline Protestantism? Congregations attracting young adults

Is there a point of no return for the resurgence of mainline Protestantism? As the movement enters its second half-century of precipitous decline, new research suggests that not only is there no end in sight, but there are few signs of hope for revival in rapidly aging, shrinking groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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The Amazon effect: Worshippers flocking to larger churches

Just as one-stop shopping behemoths such as Walmart and Amazon are fulfilling the retail needs of America’s consumers, larger churches are increasingly meeting the spiritual needs of America’s faithful. New research indicates a decline in attendance at the great majority of the nation’s churches, while churches attracting 400 people or more on Sundays are dramatically increasing their market share.

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Walking through the darkest valleys: How religion can be a healing balm for veterans

Religion can be a critical source of spiritual and social support for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, new research indicates. What also matters is that it be the right type of spiritual support. Veterans who are able to find a resource in faith in a loving God who cares for them appear to be better able to work through the stresses of combat. Those who continue to struggle with images of a judgmental God who is responsible for senseless suffering may be more likely to take their own lives.

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An environmental tipping point? Evangelicals going to the dogs . . . and cats . . . with major statement on animal welfare

Evangelicals are turning their attention to all creatures great and small. Scores of prominent evangelical pastors, scholars, theologians and other leaders took their place in a growing national dialogue over animal welfare with a declaration resolving to confront “any and all cruelty against animals.” Some analysts see the evangelical declaration as moving toward a tipping point in raising religious awareness of animal welfare issues, building on the momentum of Pope Francis’s encyclical in June.

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Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

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Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

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