Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

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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Fewer cheerful givers: The financial crisis facing U.S. churches

Even as the economy improves from the depths of the recession, several U.S. religious groups are not keeping up financially, according to two new studies. Giving as a percentage of income continues to fall for many Protestant groups, while the Catholic Church faces several financial challenges from changing demographics to church embezzlement and the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

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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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Are black Americans the most religious and virtuous of all?

In a nation where rising numbers of people are dropping out of organized religion, one dynamic religious movement continues to display remarkable strength. The black church. Several studies and surveys reveal black Americans retain remarkably strong levels of religious beliefs and practices. And that spiritual core is having an impact on community life in areas from health to economic empowerment.

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Not just gay issues: Why hundreds of congregations made final break with mainline denominations

Changing stances on gay ordinations and same-sex marriages were a key factor in the exodus of several hundred churches from mainline Protestant denominations. But new research into why congregations decided to leave reveal differences on sexuality issues were only part of a much larger divide.

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Leaning inward: Mothers at the margins find hope, support in faith

Research lifting up the experiences of mothers facing hardships, whether in a homeless shelter in the Southwest, or in a maximum-security prison in the Midwest, or ostracized with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests many women rely on religion and spirituality for a pathway beyond despair to having a sense of hope for the future. Their stories reveal a powerful faith that provides a vision of a better life for them and their children.

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Holy self-worth: Studies find religion promotes healthy body image for young women

Forget looking like Kate Moss. A developing body of research suggests faith can provide a safe haven from a secular culture that encourages women to fit into a body type that comes naturally to only about one in 20 females. Worship, prayer and a strong sense of the importance of religion may help teens and 20-somethings with eating disorders overcome feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, one new study indicated.

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The Lord is their shepherd: New study reveals who reads the Bible – and why

Favorite biblical book: The Psalms. Percentage of Americans who read the Bible on their own: About half. And far and away the No. 1 reason they pick up Scripture is for personal prayer and devotion. A major new study on American Bible reading offers insights into how, why and when Americans read Scripture outside of worship.

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Belief in miracles climbs in the age of Oprah

Even as more people appear to be turning away from organized religion, a new study finds that the number of Americans who definitely believe in religious miracles increased 22 percent in the past two decades, The increased belief in miracles crosses all religious traditions, with the strongest gains reported by those who attend services infrequently.

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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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