Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Not Preaching about Giving Costs Churches, Report Finds
  • Four in 10 Americans See Jesus' Return by 2050
  • N.C. Atheists Declare 'One Nation Indivisible' Without God
  • Study: Devout Are Less Stressed than Non-Believers

Not Preaching about Giving Costs Churches, Report Finds

A new report shows that pastors who don't preach about giving and generosity are likely losing tithes and donations, according to Christian Today. The report, ‘Why Christians Give', was compiled by McConkey Johnston International UK and based on the responses of 2,000 Evangelical Alliance members surveyed last autumn. The report found that most churches do not actively teach on tithing, though about one-fifth teach on stewardship. "Most Christian leaders seem to believe that they are called to ‘do mission' but do not consider that raising the money for this work is part of their remit," said the report's author, Redina Kolaneci. "They tend to sweep money issues under the carpet and fail to preach inspiring sermons on the subject of generosity."

Four in 10 Americans See Jesus' Return by 2050

Religion News Service reports that four in 10 Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050. A slightly larger portion (46 percent) don't believe they'll see a Second Coming by mid-century, according to a new survey. As part of Smithsonian Magazine's 40th anniversary issue, 1,546 adults were asked to guess the forecast of war, energy, science and religion in the next 40 years for a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for People & the Press. Evangelicals were most likely (58 percent) to predict a Second Coming, followed by 32 percent of Catholics, and 27 percent of mainline Protestants. Other results showed that Americans are optimistic about the future. Seventy-one percent believe cancer will be cured, and 81 percent believe computers will be able to converse like humans.

N.C. Atheists Declare 'One Nation Indivisible' Without God

The Christian Post reports that humanist and nontheist groups in North Carolina have posted a controversial message for the Fourth of July. The billboards picture the words "One Nation Indivisible" with an American flag background. With the words "Under God" missing, the billboards' sponsors say they want to demonstrate that "every U.S. citizen who doesn't believe in a monotheistic god is being 'officially' marginalized, disrespected, and discriminated against by the insertion of 'under God' in the Pledge" of Allegiance." The North Carolina Secular Association, which sponsored the $15,000 campaign, say the 1954 addition to the pledge is solely religious. "Whether you are religious or not we ask you to help end official discrimination and personal prejudice against your secular neighbors because of what we believe ... or don't believe," the group states.

Study: Devout Are Less Stressed than Non-Believers

Religion may provide a "buffer" allowing the devout to feel less anxiety when they make mistakes, compared with non-believers, according to new scientific research. Religion News Service reports that researchers at the University of Toronto measured "error-related negativity" -- people's defensive response to errors -- and compared it to religious belief. In the experiments, participants had electrodes measuring their brain activity as they performed cognitive tests. They were then asked to quantify their belief in God on a scale of zero to seven. The study found that those who were religious or claimed belief in God "showed low levels of distress-related neural activity" when they learned of their test errors, compared with nonbelievers.  By contrast, atheists demonstrated a "heightened neural response" and reacted more defensively when they learned of their errors, wrote the study's lead author, Michael Inzlicht, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.