Posts Tagged ‘secular’

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?

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

A 'Great Abdicating' or Much Ado about Nones? Growing, diverse body offers few easy answers

Americans with little or no ties to organized religion are significantly more likely to be male, single, and liberal. But within this broad portrait researchers are discovering a more nuanced diversity that provides a clearer picture of the nation’s “nones,” those who claim no religious affiliation on surveys. Maybe it is even time to stop calling them nones.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.”

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

Not everyone wins, but all faiths grow in competitive marketplace

The more competition, the better for American religion. Major immigration from Asia, the growth into the thousands of religious movements within and outside the church and an active and influential secular community have not stopped the growth of the nation’s largest faith — Christianity. Instead, the expanding religion marketplace is proving to be a win-win situation for all faiths, according to J. Gordon Melton, founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif.

[Read Full Column...]