Archive for the ‘violence’ Category

Studies: Religion linked to fewer violent crimes; being ‘spiritual but not religious’ tied to increased risk

Can religion help reduce violent crime? Two new studies suggest the answer is yes, both by creating a moral climate that fosters respect among neighbors and by helping to form individual consciences of young adults. Communities with high levels of active participation in congregations may be particularly effective in reducing assaults, rapes and murders in some poor areas that are most likely to suffer from violent crimes, the research indicates.

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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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Demon rum: Study finds alcohol may release aggression in religious individuals

Religious beliefs and practices in general are associated with more compassionate behavior toward others. And a new study of religion, alcohol and violence revealed that religious folks who were not under the influence were the most likely to turn the other cheek. However, the researchers also found that religious individuals who were intoxicated were the most likely to display aggression. “We uncovered a darker, more counterintuitive, side of religiosity’s influence on aggression,” they reported.

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Religion and gun control: The possibilities for change

Gun-control advocates face powerful oppostion even as President Obama vows to make it a priority in his second term. The public outrage over the Newtown school shooting does not appear to have changed many minds among evangelical Protestants who have strongly opposed stricter laws. But over the long term, several factors, from increasing migration to cities to changing attitudes among young evangelicals and the growth of Hispanic Catholics, indicate major changes may be coming.

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As religious tensions cross borders, nativist fears fuel global hostilities, restrictions

When it comes to religious tensions, what happens in one part of the world does not necessarily stay in that part of the world. Influences from abroad in recent years were reported to have contributed to religious hostilities or government restrictions in more than six in 10 countries across the globe, according to a new study.

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Looking back – and forth – in anger: Catholic outrage, defections, over abuse scandal not letting up

U.S. Cardinal Edward Egan recently generated controversy by expressing regret for issuing an apology for the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse. Yet no matter how much individuals such as the cardinal would like to put the abuse scandal behind them, they can no longer appeal to an obedient laity to ignore or downplay the crimes, according to new research. Many Catholics are still mad as heck, and they are not going to take it anymore. The enduring consequences include continuing defections, lower collections, ruptures in pastoral relationships and a loss of moral influence by church leaders, research indicates.

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Muslim-majority nations more likely to deny religious freedom

Amid widespread international disregard for religious freedom, one group of countries stands out: Muslim-majority nations. “Religious persecution is not only more prevalent among Muslim-majority countries, but it also generally occurs at more severe levels,” Brian Grim of the Pew Research Center and Roger Finke of Pennsylvania State University report in a new book, “The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century.”

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In God NFL players can trust: Teams, public pave path to deviance

Having it all – measured in terms of money, sex and public adoration – is no guarantee of happiness. Just ask Tiger Woods. Or listen to the stories of more than 100 current and former NFL players sociologist Eric M. Carter of Georgetown College was able to interview in a groundbreaking study of a world closed to outsiders. The public may idolize them, but elite athletes report high levels of both unhappiness and deviant behavior, Carter discovered. What does have a positive effect, the study found, is faith in God and access to a religious support system.

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An Inconvenient Truth: Religious freedom is messy, fragile

Religious freedoms are more often promised than delivered. Majority religions are tempted to limit competition and strengthen themselves by seeking favored status. Governments contemplate the strife committed in the name of religion, and see restrictions as a way to protect the public good. Yet it is the act of restricting religion, not the presence of diverse groups of faiths, that most likely leads to religious persecution and violence, Brian Grim of the Pew Research Center and Roger Finke of Pennsylvania State University point out in a new book examining “The Price of Freedom Denied.”

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Faith leaders need to hold violent men accountable

Too often, religious leaders have perpetuated violence by encouraging abused spouses to give their husbands another chance. Yet it does not have to be that way if faith communities put the safety of women first and challenge rather than enable violent men, Barbara Fisher-Townsend and Nancy Nason-Clark of the University of New Brunswick reported in a recent presentation at the annual meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in Atlanta. Their study of 1,200 abusive men who sought treatment in two faith-based programs in the northwestern United States found that religious intervention helped men confront the behaviors and attitudes that lead to violence.

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