Researchers have documented that people who take time out to help others are more inclined to think they can get everything done than those who don’t. In one experiment, students were told they were going to be asked to help at-risk kids write essays. Some of the students were then told that there weren’t enough participants, so they could take the time off instead. The students who actually assisted on the essay writing turned out to have more confidence that they could get all their work done than those who were given unexpected leisure time. “It is not so much how much time you have,’’ says Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton, “as how you feel about what you can get done in the time that you do have’’ (Boston Globe, April 1).
Apr 12, 2012
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren was asked in an ABC News interview whether dogs and cats go to heaven. “Absolutely yes,” Warren said. “I can’t imagine God not allowing my dog into heaven.” Cathy Lynn Grossman, religion editor for USA Today, sent a follow-up question to Warren, asking if rebellious pets are denied heaven. Grossman assumed that her dog would be disqualified. As a puppy he chewed up a copy of Warren’s popular book, The Purpose-Driven Life, for which he’s never repented—as far as she knows. Warren’s response: “Dogs, which have no ability to sin nor moral conscience, do not have an ability to reject Jesus,” therefore they get a free pass to heaven (USA Today, April 9).
Blaming the victim
Mar 29, 2012
A new poll shows that more than half of all Canadians distrust Muslims. As many as 52 percent of Canadians feel that Muslims can be trusted "a little" or "not trusted at all." The poll showed that 48 percent of respondents said Muslims can be trusted "a lot" or "somewhat." And 42 percent said discrimination against Muslims is "mainly their fault." Sociologist Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, concluded that Canadians hold discriminatory views and then say, "If we feel this way about you, it's your fault" (RNS).
Mar 29, 2012
The Republican presidential primaries have followed patterns of a religious census. Mitt Romney has won wherever white evangelicals have cast a minority of the votes. Rick Santorum has won in most cases where white evangelicals cast the majority of votes. Mormon voters helped Romney win Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. But ironically, Santorum, a devout Catholic, has consistently lost the Catholic vote to Romney. Columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. thinks this is because Catholic voters tend to be a moderating voice in both parties and Santorum stands to the right of most Catholics who vote Republican. Except among Mormons, Romney doesn't do well with Republican voters who say a candidate's religion matters to them (Washington Post, March 21).
Along for the ride
Mar 29, 2012
Imagine someone came up to you on the street and said: "My bus leaves in two minutes. Tell me about the resurrection in the time remaining." Elizabeth Templeton, who posed that challenge to the Church of England's House of Bishops, said her own response would be: "If you really want to hear about the resurrection, be prepared to miss your bus." Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had another suggestion: "I think I'd have asked the man where he was going, then said that I'd accompany him on the journey" (Benjamin Myers, Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams).