Tag Archives: spirituality

God as a Drug: The Rise of American Megachurches

American megachurches use stagecraft, sensory pageantry, charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity to provide their congregants with a powerful emotional religious experience, according to research from the University of Washington.

“The megachurches movement is one of the leading indicators of how American Christians exercise their faith these days, so therefore they should be understood,” said James Wellman, associate professor of American religion at the University of Washington. “And our study shows they’re doing a pretty effective job for their members, based on self-reports, contrary to public opinion that tends to pass them off as a type of consumerist religion. In fact, their members speak eloquently of their spiritual growth.” (more…)

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Spirituality Correlates to Better Mental Health Regardless of Religion, Say MU Researchers

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Despite differences in rituals and beliefs among the world’s major religions, spirituality often enhances health regardless of a person’s faith, according to University of Missouri researchers. The MU researchers believe that health care providers could take advantage of this correlation between health – particularly mental health – and spirituality by tailoring treatments and rehabilitation programs to accommodate an individual’s spiritual inclinations.

“In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait,” said Dan Cohen, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at MU and one of the co-authors of the study. “With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health.” (more…)

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Distinct “God Spot” in the Brain Does Not Exist, MU Researcher Says

Study shows religious participation and spirituality processed in different cerebral regions

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Scientists have speculated that the human brain features a “God spot,” one distinct area of the brain responsible for spirituality. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe. (more…)

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