12 Religions in a Year

world-religions

Amanda Greene's recent article explores the yearlong religious experiment of 29 year old Andrew Bowen, a man who sought to attain faith in humanity rather than divinity through his quest.  During 2011 he practiced a new religion each month, in effect becoming Hindu in January, Baha'i in February, Zoroastrian in March, Jewish in April, Buddhist in May, Agnostic in June, Mormon in July, Muslim in August, Sikh in September, Wiccan in October, Jain in November, and Catholic Read More …

Wisdom from the Analects

confucius

Last semester I taught an undergraduate introductory course in world religions.  While my students knew of Confucius, none had previously read his Analects. If you have never done so, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do so online (you can do so here thanks to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Whether or not you read the Analects in full, consider the following excerpt: Tsze-kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said,"He acts before he speaks, and Read More …

Catholic Men Earn More

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Harvard Business Review's daily stat for December 27 shows that Catholic men make more than non-Catholic men.  More specifically: 6.7% more in Australia (among those aged 25-54) 7.1% more in the USA (among those aged 26-34) So What? The brief article mentions that the research suggests that the difference may be accounted for by "a Catholic upbringing (that) instills attitudes and work habits that employers value."  What other factors do you believe could account for or contribute to Read More …

From Social Media to Silence

silence outdoors

Each year a theme is selected for the Catholic Church’s World Social Communications Day: 2011: “Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age" 2012: “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization” So What? While many found the pope's message this year to be progressive and thoughtful, next year's topic is the sort that could have been selected for any of the prior years in the day's forty-five year history.  However, according to a Catholic News Agency article the two Read More …

Review of The Church and New Media

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Meet the Authors Brandon Vogt is a Catholic layperson who blogs about theology, technology, social justice and books at ThinVeil.net.  Vogt contributes the text's introduction and conclusion while relying on authors with varied backgrounds and expertise to contribute the chapters:  Father Robert Barron, Jennifer Fulwiler, Marcel LeJeune, Mark P. Shea, Taylor Marshall, Father Dwight Longenecker, Scot Landry, Matt Warner, Lisa M. Hendey, Thomas Peters, Shawn Carney.  Additionally, the book Read More …

Review of Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love

AlbertoCutie

Meet the Author Father Albert Cutié served as a Roman Catholic priest from his ordination in 1995 until 2009.  During those years he served several parishes, but was best known for his work in media, which earned him the nickname "Padre Oprah."  He was the first clergy-person to host a daily talk-show on a major network on international secular television. After his relationship with a woman was made public, he left the Roman Catholic church, married, and was ordained as an Episcopal Read More …

Review of The World’s Christians

Douglas Jacobsen

Meet the Author Douglas Jacobsen has taught at Messiah College in Grantham, PA since 1984.  Currently he serves as  Distinguished Professor of Church History and Theology.  Jacobsen is a member of the United Church of Christ and serves on the Theological Commission of the UCC Penn Central Conference.  Jacobsen is the author of several books including Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation (with Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, 2004) and The World's Christians: Who they are, Where Read More …

Do Mainline Protestants Really Have Bigger Brains?

hippocampus

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation suggests that mainline Protestants have larger brains than those with other religious affiliations.   Yonat Shimron's article summarizes the findings: It found an association between participants' professed religious affiliation and the physical structure of their brain. Specifically, those identified as Protestant who did not have a religious conversion or born-again experience — more common among their Read More …

Where Have All the Catholics Gone?

Fr. Thomas J. Reese S.J.

Established in 1964, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is the largest independent print and web Catholic news source in the United States.  Recently, the NCR published an article by Fr. Thomas Reese, former editor in chief of America, exploring the massive numbers of people who have left the Catholic church in recent years.  He frames the issue thusly: The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal Read More …

Most Catholic Women Now Use Birth Control

bc options

Catholic Answers, a lay-run site focusing on "Catholic apologetics and evangelization," summarizes the Catholic Church's teaching on birth control: In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence. Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual Read More …