Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
A new study by Rice University and the University of Buffalo say that kids are pretty important in determining whether their parents go to church or not.  Especially among atheists: Some atheist scientists with children embrace religious traditions for social and personal reasons, according to research from Rice University and the University at Buffalo — The State University of New York (SUNY). The study also found that some atheist scientists want their children to know about different religions so their children can make informed decisions about their own religious preferences. “Our research shows just how tightly linked religion and family are in U.S. society — so much so that even some of society’s least religious people find religion to be important in their private lives,” said Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, the study’s principal investigator and co-author of a paper in the December issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. The researchers found that 17 percent of atheists with children attended a religious service more than once in the past year. // Read more here…
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
3

Trends
The survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 randomly selected Protestant pastors found that a majority (58 percent) will perform weddings for couples they know are living together. Nearly a third (31 percent) will not, and 10 percent are not sure. The survey’s results, published in the summer edition of LifeWay’s Facts and Trends magazine, also found that only five percent of pastors will not perform a marriage ceremony if the bride or groom has been divorced. The majority (61 percent) will perform a ceremony for a divorced person “depending on the reason for the divorce” while 31 percent will perform a ceremony for a divorced person “regardless of the reason for the divorce.” “Marriage is a much-debated topic today and we wanted to see how Protestant pastors handled marriage requests,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “Like the churches they serve, their standards for whom they will perform marriages vary greatly.” When it comes to cohabitating couples, pastors who consider themselves mainline are more likely to perform weddings then those who consider themselves evangelical. In response to the question, “Will you perform a marriage ceremony for a couple whom you know is living together?” 68 percent of mainline pastors say yes compared with 57 percent of evangelicals. Twenty-four percent of mainline pastors and 34 percent of evangelicals say no. A minister’s level of education also reveals differences in pastors’ willingness to perform marriage ceremonies for couples who are living together. A full 62 percent of pastors with at least a master’s degree will marry cohabitating couples while only 52 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or less will perform weddings for couples living together before marriage. Twenty-nine percent of pastors with at least a master’s degree will not perform such ceremonies compared with 36 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or less. More here…   Thoughts?  What’s your (or your church’s) stance on marrying live-ins?  And… has that stance changed over the past 10 years? If it has… why?  And is it a good or bad thing? Love to hear your comments… Todd  
8

Trends
Baptist Press is reporting that one activity can bring Christians, whether conservative or liberal, together: reading their Bible, a Baylor University research assistant, has reported. Frequently reading the Bible changed the attitudes of all Christians no matter their political background, Aaron Franzen reported in a news release from Baylor’s Association of Religion Data Archives. “Thus, even as opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion tends to increase with more time spent with the Bible, so does the number of people who say it is important to actively seek social and economic justice,” the ARDA release said. Franzen said he believes little research has been done in this area of Christian life because so many people think they know what the Bible says and find reading it “a habitual and ultimately meaningless activity.” But the study, released in early July analyzing the Baylor Religion Survey’s 2007 data, arrives at a different conclusion. Franzen’s findings revealed that habitual Bible reading led to a consolidation of viewpoints on several political and social issues: — Almost half of the survey respondents who read their Bible less than once a year supported gay “marriage,” while only 6 percent of those who dug into the Word several times a week or more believed gay couples should be able to obtain a marriage license. — As Christians read the Bible more frequently, they were 27 percent more likely to believe it is important to consume less to be a good person and 22 percent less likely to think science and religion are incompatible. — Bible readers also were more likely to be against abortion, expanding the government’s authority to fight terrorism, harsher punishment of criminals and the death penalty. However, the agreement on these issues from people in all political camps is not widespread because daily or weekly Bible reading is not as common as many would think, Franzen said. The study showed that the majority of people do not read their Bibles frequently. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said they read Scripture weekly or more often. via Baptist Press – NEWS BRIEFS: Bible reading changes views of conservatives & liberals, study says – News with a Christian Perspective. Sound accurate to you? Todd
4

Trends
The American church is FAT.  No, seriously.  According to a new study, people who have religious involvement almost double the risk of obesity compared to those who have no involvement, according to CNN: Young, religiously active people are more likely than their non-religious counterparts to become obese in middle age, according to new research. In fact, frequent religious involvement appears to almost double the risk of obesity compared with little or no involvement. What is unclear from the new research is why religion might be associated with overeating. “Churches pay more attention to obvious vices like smoking or drinking,” said Matthew Feinstein, lead author of the research and fourth-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Our best guess about why is that…more frequent participation in church is associated with good works and people may be rewarding themselves with large meals that are more caloric in nature than we would like.” via Frequent churchgoers frequently fatter CNN.com Blogs. So… those of us who live out our lives doing ‘good works’ reward ourselves with food? You buyin’ that? These are actually funded studies by university researchers… medical doctors at that… and the ‘best guess’ is that the church-goers are getting fat because they’re rewarding themselves for being good? Excuse me while I go eat a plate of lasagna. What do you think?
[facebook]
 
9

Trends
The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies. Now psychologists are saying the same thing. Saying a prayer may help calm anger and allow people to behave less aggressively towards those who have upset them, researchers say. “Prayer gets people to view the world in a very kind and gentle way and reduces feelings of anger with empathy,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. Prayer is a coping mechanism that can offer angered individuals perspective on the events that upset them, he said. via Study: Prayer helps calm anger  | HoustonBelief.com. //ok, you had me until the words ‘coping mechanism’. How has your prayer life helped you to be less angry?
[facebook]
 
2

Trends
A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers. The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation. The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one. The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries. The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. via BBC News – Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says. What do you think?  Can religion become ‘extinct’ as this study suggests?  What do my Canadian friends say about Canada being on the list?  Accurate?
[facebook]
 
10

Uncategorized
A University of Pennsylvania professor and a secular research group decided to try to put a dollar value on churches.  They came up with a list of 54 categories and attempted to calculate what they described as the “halo effect” of 12 churches (10 protestant, a Catholic church, and a Jewish synagogue).  Here’s how they did it, according to Philly.com: A University of Pennsylvania professor and a secular research group decided to try to put a dollar value on churches.  They came up with a list of 54 categories and attempted to calculate what they described as the “halo effect” of 12 churches (10 protestant, a Catholic church, and a Jewish synagogue).  Here’s how they did it, according to Philly.com: They added up the money generated by weddings and funerals, festivals, counseling programs, preschools, elder care. They tallied the salaries of staff and the wages of roofers, plumbers, even snow shovelers. They put dollar signs on intangibles, too, such as helping people find work and teaching children to be socially responsible.  They even measured the diameter of trees on church campuses. The end result:  for all 12 churches, Over $50 million in annual economic benefits. Here is some more from the article: The valuation for 300-member Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church in Queen Village, for instance, was a middle-of-the-road $1.65 million. By contrast, the figure for Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic parish in Kensington, with 7,000 congregants, a parochial school, and a community center, was $22.44 million. The numbers, culled from clergy and staff interviews, “just blew us away,” said Robert Jaeger, executive director of the research group Partners for Sacred Places. The study is not yet published. When it is, the robust sums are likely to be challenged, predicted lead author Ram Cnaan, a Penn professor of social policy. Some valuations were drawn from existing academic research, such as $19,600 for pastoral counseling that prevents a suicide and $18,000 for an averted divorce. Cnaan himself arrived at other values – for example, $375 on “teaching pro-social values” to a young child. This is an interesting study.  I think it’s important for churches to bring economic advantages to their community. But what’s not even a part of this study is the spiritual advantage your church brings to your community? [box type=”info”]Have you ever stopped to consider how valuable your church is to your community from an economic standpoint? How would your church do in a study like this? And how would your church do in the more important study of the spiritual value you bring to your community?[/box] It’s something to think about… You can read more here… Todd
1