Spirituality in the News

September 26, 2019
Derek Thompson for The Atlantic

                                                                                                          Photo: JAMES STRACHAN / GETTY
The idea of American exceptionalism has become so dubious that much of its modern usage is merely sarcastic. But when it comes to religion, Americans really are exceptional. No rich country prays nearly as much as the U.S, and no country that prays as much as the U.S. is nearly as rich.

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October 29, 2019
Ross Douthat for The New York Times
Three reasons the narrative of rapid secularization is incomplete.

Ryan Dorgan for The New York Times

Fifty years ago, many observers of American religion assumed that secularization would gradually wash traditional Christianity away. Twenty years ago, Christianity looked surprisingly resilient, and so the smart thinking changed: Maybe there was an American exception to secularizing trends, or maybe a secularized Europe was the exception and the modernity-equals-secularization thesis was altogether wrong.

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October 17, 2019
Pew Research Center

An update on America's changing religious landscape

                                                                                                               Sungjin Ahn photography/Getty Images

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May 28, 2019
By Rose Gamble for The Tablet
Researchers asked unbelievers about whether the universe is ultimately meaningless and what values matter most to them
The Vatican at Sunset
Photo: Pacific Press/SIPA USA/PA Images

A major conference on unbelief, co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the University of Kent, is being held at the Vatican.

The two-day conference will today (28 May) launch with the global “Understanding Unbelief” programme presenting results from its research.

The multidisciplinary research programme led by the University of Kent in collaboration with St Mary's University Twickenham, Coventry University and Queen's University Belfast, mapped the nature and diversity of 'unbelief' across six countries including Brazil, China, Denmark, Japan, UK and the USA.

Researchers asked unbelievers across the six countries about attitudes to issues such as supernatural phenomena, whether the “universe is ultimately meaningless” and what values matter most to them.

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March 22, 2019
Christian Jarrett for Research Digest
Psychologists have devoted much time over the last two decades documenting the dark side of human nature as encapsulated by the so-called Dark Triad of traits: psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. People who score highly in these traits, who break the normal social rules around modesty, fairness and consideration for others, seem to fascinate as much as they appall. But what about those individuals who are at the other extreme, who through their compassion and selflessness are exemplars of the best of human nature? There is no catchy name for their personality traits, and while researchers have studied altruism, forgiveness, gratitude and other jewels in our behavioural repertoire, the light side of human personality has arguably not benefited from the same level of attention consumed by the dark side.

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March 24, 2019
Tuomo Peltonen for LSE Business Review
Interest in the role of spirituality in organisational life has been growing rapidly in the past few decades. Numerous books and articles have explored the benefits of spirituality and religion for the effectiveness, well-being and ethicality of the modern workplace. There is both an expanding academic discourse on the meaning of spirituality at work, as well as a related movement among the practitioners towards exploring and pursuing various forms of spirituality in organisational contexts.

However, the newly emerging spiritual discourse seems to have generated a whole set of open questions regarding the position and relevance of the workplace spirituality movement. What is exactly is meant by spirituality and how it should be assessed in relation to organisational theories and philosophies?

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December 13, 2018
By Ross Douthat for the New York Times

Here are some generally agreed-upon facts about religious trends in the United States. Institutional Christianity has weakened drastically since the 1960s. Lots of people who once would have been lukewarm Christmas-and-Easter churchgoers now identify as having “no religion” or being “spiritual but not religious.” The mainline-Protestant establishment is an establishment no more. Religious belief and practice now polarizes our politics in a way they didn’t a few generations back.

What kind of general religious reality should be discerned from all these facts, though, is much more uncertain, and there are various plausible stories about what early-21st century Americans increasingly believe. The simplest of these is the secularization story — in which modern societies inevitably put away religious ideas as they advance in wealth and science and reason, and the decline of institutional religion is just a predictable feature of a general late-modern turn away from supernatural belief.

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November 19, 2018
By David Brooks, for The New York Times

A veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times
A veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

David BrooksWherever I go I seem to meet people who are either dealing with trauma or helping others dealing with trauma. In some places I meet veterans trying to recover from the psychic wounds they suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan. Sometimes it is women struggling with the aftershocks of sexual assault. Sometimes it is teachers trying to help students overcome the traumas they’ve suffered from some adult’s abuse or abandonment.

Wherever Americans gather and try to help each other on any deep level, they confront levels of trauma that their training has often not prepared them for.

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August 4, 2018
By Robert Weisman for the Boston Globe
From left, Suriphan Ratanamatmongkol, Kate MacDonald, and Diane Medeiros meditated at the Inner Space Meditation Center. Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

CAMBRIDGE — Kate MacDonald grew up Catholic, but now attends an Episcopal church. And after retiring from a stressful job and recovering from an illness in her 60s, she turned to yet another spiritual influence: Raja Yoga-inspired meditation.

Early last week, as the lunch-hour bustle engulfed Harvard Square, she sat in the quiet room at the Inner Space Meditation Center with other baby boomers listening to soothing flute music, staring at a point of light embedded in an Indian painting on the wall, and breathing in and out.

“It’s an internal balancing, and a release,” said MacDonald, now 73, a retired professor who lives nearby. As she’s gotten older, she said, she takes a broader view of faith and no longer feels she has to choose between competing beliefs and rituals. “This blends with any kind of religious practice,” she said. “It all comes down to loving one another.”
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May 25, 2018
Alanna Ketler for Collective Evolution
About 5 months ago I picked up a new habit and started sending a blessing to my food (each meal) before eating it. This is a common custom to pray or say “grace” before a meal in many religions; although I am not religious I have adapted this practice for my own reasons, which I will explore in-depth throughout this article.

There are many reasons to bless your food aside from religious ones, but considering this has been practiced throughout various cultures of the world for thousands of years, religion aside — there just might be something to this. Saying grace is essentially just taking a moment to show gratitude and appreciation to the fact that there is even food on the table or in your hands that you are about to eat, rather than what is typically done in North America at least, where the food is quickly shovelled into ones face.

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