Spirituality in the News

May 12, 2020
Margaret Besheer for Voice of America (VOA) US News

COVID-19 Pandemic
UN Chief Calls on Religious Leaders to Help Lead Faithful Through COVID-19

NEW YORK - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on religious leaders Tuesday to play a key role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery from it.

UN SG Message (AP)
FILE - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference Feb. 8, 2020.

“We know from previous public health crises — from HIV/AIDS to Ebola — that the actions of faith leaders influence people’s values, attitudes, behaviors and actions,” Guterres said at an online gathering of religious leaders and diplomats. “And with this influence comes responsibility to work together, putting aside differences, and to translate our common values into action.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 4.2 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 287,000 have died.

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May 17, 2020
Elizabeth Bernstein for The Wall Street Journal

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jillian Richardson has a new routine when she takes a walk. She puts on a mask, pops in her earbuds and heads out the door. Then she starts talking out loud.

“Dear Lord,” she began recently. “Help me to stay grounded and grateful in stressful times. Show me how I can be of most service to you and others.”
To passersby, Ms. Richardson appears to be talking on the phone. But she’s actually praying—something she’s been doing a lot more of since the pandemic started.
“There’s so much uncertainty right now and so little in my power,” says the 26-year-old event producer in New York. “When I bust out a quick prayer, especially out loud, I feel a shift inside myself from tension and distrust to a more trusting, hopeful feeling.”

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May 15, 2020
Elana Schor & Hannah Fingerhut for Associated Press

President Donald Trump listens as Sister Eneyda Martinez, with Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, at left podium, speaks during a White House National Day of Prayer Service (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump listens as Sister Eneyda Martinez, with Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, at left podium, speaks during a White House National Day of Prayer Service n the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives, a new poll finds.

While the virus rattles the globe, causing economic hardship for millions and killing more than 80,000 Americans, the findings of the poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicate that people may also be searching for deeper meaning in the devastating outbreak.

Even some who don’t affiliate with organized religion, such as Lance Dejesus of Dallastown, Pa., saw a possible bigger message in the virus.
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April 5, 2020
Tish Harrison Warren, for The New York Times

The coronavirus crisis reminds us that we are bodies, not simply souls trapped in a mortal prison.

By Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
I miss things I did not know I would.

I miss people’s smells. Isn’t that funny? I didn’t know that I even noticed people’s smells, unless they smelled very good or very bad, but now that I have to talk to friends, family and co-workers only through screens, I notice the staleness in the air that comes from sitting alone.

I miss walks with friends, how I could look in a friend’s eyes and see light in them, not flattened into two dimensions. I miss the sadness or laughter those eyes reveal up close, the hard days, the mirth. I miss how we could note the weather together, complain about it, talk casually as we walked together, notice a new for-sale sign on a house or (yet another) new macaron place opening soon.

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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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