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                      The Link Between Religion And Helping Others.

This study used life narrative interview data from the Midlife in the United States study to examine how religious values, ideas, and language motivate prosocial behaviors.

Open coding of 88 in-depth interviews revealed six themes: defining morality in religious terms, considering religion an important aspect of one's identity, feeling that one's life involves carrying out God's mission, making an increased commitment to religion over time.

Drawing an explicit connection between religion and helping others, and, for Christian respondents, finding inspiration for helping in Jesus's teaching, example, and sacrifice.

Using ratings from independent coders, statistically significant relationships were found between most of the themes and prosocial behaviors, particularly for respondents who engaged in multiple helping behaviors.

In addition to documenting the relationship between religious ideas and values and helping behaviors, the study demonstrates how language mediates the relationship between the social and personal aspects of religion.

Social Networks and Religion: The Role of Congregational Social Embeddedness in Religious Belief and Practice

Previous literature argues that social networks influence religiosity, but surprisingly, no studies have used national data of a variety of religious traditions to assess the relationship between embeddedness in congregation-based friendship networks and different dimensions of religiosity.

This study uses new national data (Baylor Religion Survey 2007) to estimate models of religious activity (church activities and devotional activities) and of religious belief (supernatural beliefs, biblical literalism, and religious exclusivity). Among U.S. Christians, congregational social embeddedness is a robust predictor of all religiosity outcomes and is among the largest effects in models.

These effects are not substantially moderated by religious tradition, although Catholic affiliation attenuates the positive relationship between social embeddedness and church activities. These findings strongly suggest that social sanctions and solidarity rewards within congregational social networks play an important role in heightening religiosity.

Religious research would be enhanced by devoting greater attention to the importance of congregational social embeddedness.

Religion, Race/Ethnicity, and Perceived Barriers to Marriage among Working-Age Adults.

While a great deal of scholarly attention has been focused on correlates and predictors of obstacles to marriage, little attention has been given to the role of religion in predicting self-reported reasons for nonmarriage.

This oversight in the literature is surprising, given the recent focus among researchers on the role of religious factors in shaping intimate relationships.

Further, few scholars have explored racial/ethnic variations in the association between religion and perceived barriers to marriage.

Our study addresses this gap in the literature using data from the National Survey of Religion and Family Life (NSRFL), a 2006 telephone survey of working-age adults that contains oversamples of African Americans and Latinos.

Results indicate that church attendance is associated with a reduction in perceived barriers to marriage, at least among non-Hispanic White respondents.

Spiritual Individualism or Engaged Spirituality? Social Implications of Holistic Spirituality among Mind–Body–Spirit Practitioners

Scholars disagree whether spirituality promotes individualistic withdrawal or fosters social engagement.

This study addresses the spiritual individualism versus engaged spirituality debate and investigates the social implications of “holistic” spirituality among mind–body–spirit (MBS) practitioners belonging to fitness (Yoga), therapeutic (Dahn Yoga and Healing), and cult (Art of Living) types of practice.

The findings indicate that spirituality is positively associated with altruistic behaviors, participation in nonreligious voluntary associations, and individual political action. Collective forms of political engagement, however, are most prevalent at moderate levels of spirituality.

These relationships depend on the type of MBS practice: spirituality is related to social involvement among those practicing Yoga and Art of Living but not among Dahn Yoga practitioners.

Thus, spirituality of MBS practitioners does not entrap them in spiritual individualism, although its ability to foster social engagement is limited insofar as collective action is concerned and does not extend to the therapeutic type of MBS.

                                                                  RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY

Religion and Philosophy are words of repute that man resorts to for answers on God and life. Their authenticity is never questioned nor their real meaning understood. Man takes it for granted that they provide answers for what they stand for. But a gentle glance would suggest that answers have not been found as yet because men, more than anything else, are still angry with each other and with themselves too. Religion makes man believe he is a saint while philosophy fills him with pride. The question he needs to answer is whether religion and philosophy have brought him peace or drafted him into war. The present state of the world would suggest the latter is true.

Every child and adult is given a religion to follow and adhere to so that he or she may lead a happy life - a certain investment to reach heaven. Its importance is emphasized to philosophical proportions. Religion and, thereby, God, if followed to the letter, is believed to ward off evil and protect man from harm. But is he free from hate or anger while he prays or when he is in a place of worship? Is he free of all that is unholy when he does not pray or is not in a place of worship? If God is the creator of the world, who could possibly be creating evil or wrong besides God? It is unthinkable that God would be the creator of good and bad, right and wrong as a reality. It has to be illusory for God is compassionate and loving. So, has religion and philosophy failed to deliver its promises and will it ever succeed? Who can tell?

But what do these words really mean and what is man's understanding of them? To most, religion means subtle or profound knowledge about God and His messages, which are beliefs or a system of faith and worship. The word religion is derived from the Latin word 'religio', meaning obligation or reverence to life under monastic vows. Philosophy, on the other hand, means a love of wisdom. But, on close observation, man is neither godly nor wise, and religion and philosophy have been around for quite some time. Religion and philosophy are both ancient and historical. Man came to know religion first and later, as his mind sophisticated, philosophy appeared. Primitive man was alive and lived without the need of religion or philosophy.

The mind became active within man slowly and steadily and sophisticated to form religion and philosophy. Information about God happened to him and he did not bring it about. Thinking happened to man and he did not make it happen. If he had, he would have made it happen all at once and not progressively, as is the case, and, given the chance, he would see to it that everyone thought the same way, but they do not. If he did make thinking happen, he would have just one religion and philosophy and not many, as is the case.

Nature was religion to primitive man. The lightning in the skies and the thunder that followed was man's knowledge about a power above him. Light and sound were God to primitive man. The moment he looked up into the skies in fear was the moment of birth of God or a power much superior to him in his mind. As vocabulary increased within man's mind and concepts began to form, so did religion and knowledge about God as the almighty.

If religion were real, there could only be one and that would be the first one that appeared within man's mind. Real means that which does not change and is eternal. This means that even the first religion cannot be real. How could it be real for not only has the first religion changed, but there are five more major religions alongside it? This change contradicts the meaning of real. This can only mean that the first religion and the rest that have followed have to be illusory and not real.

Religion is illusory for it exists only in the waking state, but it does not exist during the sleeping state, and man is alive during sleep as much as he is during the waking state. If religion were real, primitive man should have religion without the presence of thoughts. This only means that religion is nothing but thoughts in the mind, as is everything else.

If God has created the world, every religion must be His creation too. If they are, they cannot be separate from Him. The world is energy and nothing can be separate within energy, and so, if they were separate from him or from each other, they would not exist. If God has created the world, He will be energy too because the source of energy has to and will be energy only. In this case, God cannot be a He or a She but just energy, as is every man and woman. If God is energy, it can only mean that anything and everything is a reflection of energy, including man. If energy is God, it can only mean that every speck of this manifestation has to be God, and it is so and cannot be otherwise.

If God were the creator, would not every religion be His creation too, including the first? They certainly would be, and surely He would not create any religion that is wrong. The same applies to philosophy too. The presence of variety in every aspect of life, including religion and philosophy, makes it impossible for man to decide which could be true. This is the intelligence of life that makes anything and everything in life relative and not absolute. It is important to understand that every recognizable thought requires another of its kind for it to exist. Therefore, every religion exists because of the presence of the other. This is why God or life has manifested many religions and philosophies so that a concept of religion and philosophy could exist. They exist in such a manner that man may understand that their existence is illusory and not real. They only appear real.

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                                                                   Psalm 34
David blesses the Lord at all times—He counsels, Keep your tongue from evil; do good and seek peace—He says that not one of the Messiah’s bones will be broken.
A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.

 1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

 2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

 3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

 4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

 7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

 9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

 10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good  thing.

 11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
 12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

 13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

 15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

 16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

 17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

 18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

 20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

 21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

 22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

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