Entries in Church (4)


Attending Religious Services Makes People Happier, Survey Finds

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re down in the dumps and not feeling especially happy about anything, a trip to a religious service could be the thing that puts you in a better mood.

Findings in the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows people who attend services at a church, synagogue or mosque frequently experience more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions than folks who attend less often or never at all.

Researchers conducted the survey by asking at least 1,000 Americans each day about the positive and negative emotions they experienced the previous day.

Positive emotions include smiling and laughter, enjoyment, happiness and learning or doing something interesting.

Negative emotions include sadness, worry, stress and anger.

Overall, 52 percent of Americans reported experiencing none of the four negative emotions the previous day, but 30 percent did report experiencing two or more of them.  Nearly five percent said they experienced all four in one day.

Similarly, 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing all four positive emotions at least once in any given week.  Four percent experienced none of the positive emotions the previous day, and about five percent experienced only one positive emotion.

The survey, which is based on interviews with more than 329,000 U.S. adults, found that frequent church-goers average 3.36 positive emotions per day compared to an average of 3.08 among people who never attend.

In addition, frequent church-goers also report experiencing a mood boost on Sundays while most other Americans see a decline in their mood.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Polling Location May Influence Vote, Study Finds

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WACO, Texas) -- A new study adds to growing evidence that where you vote might affect how you vote.

When asked about gun laws, the death penalty and climate change, people responded with more conservative views if a church was nearby, the study found.

"One of most common polling places in the United States is a church," said Jordan LaBouff, a psychology lecturer at the University of Maine and lead author of the study published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. "This study definitely demonstrates it can change attitudes.  The extent to which those attitudes change how people behave at the ballot box is the next question."

LaBouff and colleagues from Baylor University surveyed 99 people outside either religious or nonreligious landmarks in London and Maastricht, Netherlands.  Regardless of their religious views, people surveyed near a church responded with more conservative views on a range of political issues, from border patrol to gay marriage.

It's still unclear whether polling location can influence the outcome of a vote, but LaBouff said it's worth investigating.

"I don't think we can definitely say these potential changes in attitudes are threatening the validity of the electoral process, but in some cases you're talking about a fraction of a percent," he said.  "Any time decisions are being made -- particularly if they're decisions that relate to social issues and national policy -- we should pay attention to the context in which those decisions are made."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Religious Congregations Getting Older as People Live Longer

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Increased life expectancy may be contributing to the “graying” of religious establishments -- that is, the increasing age of their congregations, according to a new study.

Researchers at England's University of East Anglia argue that as people tend to live longer, they don’t feel the need to “make good with the higher power” until later on in life.

The study’s authors suggest that in order to attract more youthful members, the church should make itself more relevant, approachable and attractive to a middle-aged crowd.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Social Economics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Does God Belong in the Bedroom?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- It's not often that a video on a church Web site will carry a warning that it may not be suitable for children under 13. And some people in Joplin, Mo., say the billboards that Ignite Church has put up in the town shouldn't be viewed by children, either. But Ignite Church's Lead Pastor Heath Mooneyham said the message of both is about love, and God's purpose for it -- which includes sex.

The billboards -- one of which features a man in jeans and T-shirt, his tattooed arms holding the legs of a woman who has her arms around his neck, and her legs wrapped around his waist -- are to advertise a series the church is doing about sex, and how married couples should be having more of it, so they will avoid being tempted into sin.

"We're doing a series about sex, and God's intended purpose for it," Mooneyham said. "We're hitting things like adultery and pornography."

Mooneyham indicated that in a poll on the church's website, 86 percent of the respondents said they were not having enough sex in their marriage.

"This is really one of the major issues that's ripping marriages apart. They are at a higher risk of adultery, looking at pornography -- that leads to divorce," Mooneyham said.

So he decided to try to do something about it, planning a series of Sunday "experiences" about sex at the church, and creating a series of videos on the subject for the Web site.

Despite some people's reservations about what the church is doing, Mooneyham said that the way the world is today, kids are already exposed to sex at an early age. If that is going to happen, he said, he would rather have them exposed to it in church.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio