All posts filed under: Studies

Regular church attendance has positive impact on children in their 20s. Photo: Evergreen Church, Evergreen, Colorado, USA Credit: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

Harvard Study: Church attendance as a child has positive influence on a person in their 20s

According to a study at Harvard University, children who attended church at least once a week while they were growing up reported having better lives in their 20s than those who didn’t. The study conducted by researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health sampled data provided in the Growing Up Today Study that was part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. This study followed children in their early teens for upwards of 14 years. The sampling sizes were not insignificant and ranged in size between 5,700 and 7,500 people. The researchers were trying to find out if “religious involvement” as a child that included church attendance, prayer and meditation had any impact on a person’s physical, emotional and mental well-being later in life. The results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed the positive influences that faith has on children, years later. Compared to those who didn’t, the study found that children who attended church at least once a week reported in their 20s as being: 18% happier; 30% more likely to …

Field of sunflowers, Lower Saxony, Germany Credit: Christian Kortum/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study reveals the heart health benefits of optimism

An article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stated that having a positive outlook on life results in a person having a reduced risk of heart disease. In their study, the research group led by Darwin R. Labarthe, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, looked at the results of several studies on the impact of a person’s psychological well-being on heart health. They revealed that an optimistic view of life not only positively impacted a person’s heart health, but that optimistic outlook also led to lifestyle choices that physically benefited heart health. This included: A 2017 study that found women who were in the top 25% for highest optimistic ranking had a 38% reduced risk of dying due to heart disease. Several recent studies discovered that people who had a purpose in their life had a reduced risk of stroke. Studies also revealed that people who had the most optimistic outlook on life where less likely to be smokers a year later. Optimistic people were also more likely …

Snowy night on Brixton High Street in London, England Credit: A bloke called Jerm/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are you a chronic complainer?

Español: ¿Eres un quejambroso/a crónico/a? We have all heard the phrases “chronic complainer” or “Debbie Downer” used for people who always complain. If it’s sunny, it is too hot outside. If it’s snowing, it’s too cold. If their favorite team wins, it could have played better. They always see the negative and can find something to complain about in everything they do. And these people almost get a sense of fulfillment when their complaints have some legitimacy to them. Well, according to one neuro-scientist, there is a reason “chronic complainers” act the way they do. Canadian Psychologist Norman Dodge says the brain has a unique pliability to it that he compares to Play-Doh. Its official psychological term is “neuroplasticity.” This means if we practice a certain way of thinking long enough, it creates a loop in our brain that entrenches this pattern into our mind. It becomes a rut in the road that we easily fall into as we drive down the highway of life. It becomes a pattern or way of thinking that taints all …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

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‘Give me that mountain’: Living life with Caleb’s attitude

According to King Solomon how a person thinks, determines how he lives life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7a NKJV) But there is an important caveat in this verse, because Solomon adds how a man “thinks in his heart,” so it is to him. This is a step beyond thinking, we need to believe it. Jesus said if we say to this mountain be cast in the sea (Mark 11:23), and do not doubt in our heart, it will be done. It is not enough to think it, we need to believe it. Faith and belief make the difference. Researchers at the University of Seoul in South Korea found out there may be a direct connection between what older people believed to how they actually felt. What they believed in their later years directly impacted how they lived their life. According to the Daily Mail, the research team asked 68 people between the ages of 59 to 84 if they felt older, younger or the same as their real …

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Marriage is good for heart health, divorce bad

It’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18 NASV) And shortly after uttering those words, God created Eve as a help mate for Adam and through this we have the first marriage. Men and women were intended to live together and help each other not only in life matters but apparently it also has spin-off health benefits for our hearts. The Daily Mail reports a study by researchers at Keele University in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England and Royal Stoke Hospital cardiology department at Stoke-on-Trent, England concluded that being married brings significant heart health benefits. They came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 34 studies between 1963 and 2015 involving two million people between the ages of 42 and 77. The researchers noted that about 80% of heart disease could be attributed to physical factors such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased age, bad habits such as smoking and even a person’s sex as men tend to have a higher risk of heart disease. However, there is still that 20% of risk factors that can’t …

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Study shows that religious people live longer

According to the Daily Mail, a study undertaken by researchers from Ohio State University in the US concluded that religious people live on average four years longer than atheists or non religious. The results of their study were published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal. The group of psychology researchers came to this conclusion after studying the obituaries of over 1,000 people. This included 505 recorded n the Des Moines Register in Iowa in January and February 2012. The study led by doctoral student Laura Wallace concluded that church goers outlived non-religious people by 9.45 years. However, once they factored out other elements that can contribute to longer life including marriage and gender, that difference shrunk to 6.48 years. A second study of 1,096 obituaries published in 42 cites between August 2010 and August 2011 showed religious people lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those who weren’t. Once gender and marital status were factored out that difference dropped to 3.82 years. The researchers said there were several factors that may contribute …

Despite living on a planet with 7.6 billion people, many still feel alone. Credit: Xynn Tii/Flickr/Creative Commons

Survey reveals the Gen Z generation is the loneliest group of people on earth

Earlier this month, Cigna, a global health company, released data it received based on a poll it conducted in February and March this year. Cigna wanted to find out how lonely people were and asked 20,000 Americans over the age of 18 a series of questions based on a 20-question loneliness scale developed by UCLA. This included questions asking if they had anyone to turn to or if the respondents felt like they were part of a group of friends. Based on their response, they were ranked between 20 (least lonely) to 80 (most lonely). When analyzing by age groups, Cigna discovered that the loneliest people on the planet were those referred to a Generation Z (between the ages of 18 to 22) who ranked 48. The least lonely were those over the age of 72 who scored 39. As an age-group, Generation Z was on par with another group, single parents, who despite having children similarly scored 48 in terms of loneliness. The average score for all Americans surveyed was 44 and revealed as …

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Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

Cannabis Credit: Pitscher/Flickr/Creative Commons

The hidden costs of marijuana legalization?

Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said his government expects to have legislation passed this summer legalizing marijuana. According to Lifesite News, in its current form, Bill C-45 would allow children as young as 12 years old to not only have five grams of Marijuana (10 joints) but to even share it with their friends. Anyone over the age of 17 will be allowed to purchase any amount of marijuana that they want and to even grow four plants in their home, but does limit how much they can share in public to 30 grams (60 Joints). Of course, we all know how mature teens are and none of them will be taking it to school. Fortunately, it looks like more responsible provincial governments may toughen the rules in their respective provinces. This is all happening despite several studies that show marijuana is particularly dangerous for teens whose brains are still developing. In a study released in 2015, researchers at the Psychiatry Institute at London, England’s King’s College blame Marijuana for 25% of the …

Church near Weeping Water, Nebraska Credit: rich/flickr/Creative Commons

Despite what the media says, study states Christianity thriving in America

Though there have been reports in the mainline media indicating a decline in religious beliefs among Americans, it is a bit misleading. It leaves the impression that faith is decaying on all fronts. That is not true. According to a report released by Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock professors at Harvard and Indiana University (based in Bloomington), any declines in religious attendance are only being noticed in liberal or what they classify as moderate religions. The numbers for those with a strong faith and literal belief in the Bible remains strong. According Schnabel and Bock, the number of Evangelical Christians as a percentage of the American population grew from 18% in 1972 to 28% in 1989 and that percentage has held true since then. In their report, they describe Evangelical faith as intense and persistent. However, the same can not be said for liberal or moderate churches, those who no longer believe in the Bible. Over the same period, their numbers declined from 35% in 1972 to 12% in 2016. Schnabel and Bock note: “But …

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‘Abba’ may be about family

Family is family. In the end its importance supersedes everything including a job. Some can spend hours at work, but on their death-bed regret that they did not spend more time with their family. The Bible is clear. Salvation comes through faith that Christ died for our sins. But God wants more than just belief, He wants believers to truly identify as a child of God. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:16 NASV) The word Abba, was a term of endearment, probably more closely translated in English as “Daddy.” Though this is the relationship that God desires to have with us, how many Christians truly look upon God as their “Daddy?” This was a relationship that Jesus had with His Heavenly Father. As we see in Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was His “Abba” relationship, that helped Jesus endure the crucifixion. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from …

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What impact will skyrocketing unwed pregnancies have on society?

A report written for the US Senate, entitled Love, Marriage and the Baby Carriage, states that 40% of births in America today are born out-of-wedlock. This means that a significant percentage of kids are now being raised in single-parent families and in most instances it means they are without a father. According to the report, at one point in American history, couples understood the responsibility of raising children. Stats showed that in the 1960s, 43% of couples married if the woman became pregnant. Today, only 9% are willing to do this. Some of this is due to the unwillingness of men to take responsibility for what has happened, and the other is women thinking it is fine to raise a child alone. You add to this percentage the number of children also living in single-parent homes due to divorce or separation and we must ask ourselves what kind of effect is this having on society. There have been a number of studies over the years that have looked at the impact that single-parent families (either …

Marijuana Credit: Alex B/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Scromiting’ caused by a ‘safe’ drug?

With the Canadian government pushing ahead with a nation-wide legalization of marijuana in 2018, the main message behind the push world-wide that it’s a safe drug, is hitting home. After surveying 43,703 young people, the US-based National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that nearly 25% of all teens in America have tried Marijuana. NIDA has conducted a survey on teen drug habits annually since the 1970s and the survey revealed that marijuana usage is also trending upwards, even for those as young as 12. And what is happening in the US typically reflects what is taking place in Canada. The study found that marijuana usage is noticeably higher in states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage, where the safe-drug message is the most pronounced. There is some good news, the survey found that the usage of other drugs has either fallen or remained the same with one exception, along with Cannabis teens are also using more LSD, a hallucinogenic drug. Meanwhile doctors are reporting a significant increase in people arriving at hospital emergency rooms …

Ten Commandment outside the Texas State Capital in Austin. Credit: Office of the Attorney General of Texas/Wikipedia

British Survey: Majority believe only six of 10 commandments still important today

A YouGov poll of people living in England released this past October discovered the majority felt only six of the 10 commandments delivered by Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20) are relevant today. Commandments such as ‘though shall not murder’ and ‘thou shall not steal’ still did well with both receiving 94% and 93% support respectively. Note the survey properly referred to the sixth commandment as forbidding murder, not killing that was sometimes justified in cases of self-defense. It is difficult to understand why there wasn’t 100% support for the two. However, it can possibly be explained by the growing extreme left-wing beliefs particularly on university campuses where some feel there is justification in certain instances for murder and stealing. Perhaps in a less extreme agreement with this later sentiment only 61% believed “thou shalt not covet” was relevant today.  This meant nearly 40% of those surveyed felt it was alright to covet a neighbor’s goods. At times, our hearts can justify theft because its unfair that some have wealth and others don’t. There were …

Jews for Jesus office in Kentish Town, London, England Credit: Jim Linwood/Wikipedia

Poll: Jewish Millennials express an unusual interest in Christ

A survey of American Jewish Millennials, those born between 1984 and 1999, revealed a surprising acceptance of Jesus. The poll of 599 Jews aged 18 to 33, found that 48% of them celebrated Christmas, 33% said that God desires a personal relationship with people and 28% looked upon Jesus as a spiritual leader. However, what was perhaps most shocking is that 21% of them said Jesus was God incarnate. Essentially, over one in five believed Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. The poll conducted by Barna Group on behalf of Jews for Jesus further discovered that Jewish Millennials have a higher interest in spiritual matters than previous generations of Jews. Jews for Jesus is a Christian organization made up of Jews who have accepted Christ as the Messiah. Many Jewish scholars were completely caught off guard by this poll that Barna titled: Jewish Millennials: The Beliefs and Behaviors Shaping Young Jews in America. Stanford University Jewish Professor Ari Kelman said as part of the report: “These don’t look like the Jews I recognize. I was not …

Considered to be the location of the Garden Gethsemane located at the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem where Jesus sweated blood Credit: tango7174/Wikipedia

Italian woman sweats blood confirming Luke 22:44

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published an article on the case of a 21-year-old Italian woman who has been bleeding blood from her face and hands. Italian doctors reported that over the past three years the woman has gone through episodes were she spontaneously bled blood without any breakage in the skin. According to their report the episodes would last up to five minutes. Though they occurred at any time from sleep to periods of exercise, doctors noted the bleeding intensified when she was under emotional stress. Embarrassed by her condition, the young woman was becoming a loner refusing to leave her home. After ruling out chromhidrosis, a condition that causes discolored sweat, doctors diagnosed the young woman with a rare condition called hematohidrosis – ‘blood sweat’, when people actually sweat blood. Some believe it’s caused by rupturing capillaries near the sweat glands. This can happen during times of extreme fear or stress. An Indian health journal reported ‘blood sweat’ in cases of people about to be executed and even cited an incident that …

Painting by Peter Fendi (1796-1842) Credit: Web Gallery of Art: Wikipedia

Healing the brokenhearted

According to an article in the Daily Mail, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have concluded that three traumatic events have the potential to cause heart disease in postmenopausal women. The group led by Dr. Rebecca Thurston presented their findings to the 2017 North American Menopause Society annual meeting held in Philadelphia Oct 11-14. In their study, Thurston and her group were trying to determine if psychological factors had an impact on a woman’s heart. They conducted an indepth survey with 272 women asking the typical questions such as their exercise, smoking and eating habits. But they then went further and asked the women how many traumatic events they had in their lives. This included a wide-range of things such as the the death of a child or spouse, physical assault and experiencing some type of natural disaster. Based on this survey, they concluded that if women experienced just three traumatic events it had the potential to cause heart disease. It showed that these events negatively affected the inner lining of a woman’s blood vessels …

Photo from South Dakota 1936 during the drought that hit North America during the 1930s. Credit: United Stated Department of Agriculture/Wikipedia

A different kind of famine?

With the Canadian government planning to legalize recreational marijuana effective July 1, 2018, Bill C-45 that is working its way through parliament includes a provision that could have disturbing ramifications for young people. Though the bill sets a minimum age of 18 for a person to legally buy marijuana, the curious provision allows young people between the ages of 12 to 18, to possess under five grams of marijuana without being criminally charged. This is the equivalent of a 12-year-old walking the streets with shot of whiskey in his or her pocket without any consequences. The biggest problem is the message the government is sending young teens through such a provision. It leaves the impression that marijuana is a safe drug, which is the mantra activists use to push governments to legalize Cannabis in the first place. There have been many voices responding to the Canadian government’s decision to legalize including the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal that condemned the decision in a recent editorial. As governments around the world legalize recreational marijuana, concerned medical researchers are releasing a staggering …

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Study reveals a major reason for child poverty: Divorce

An article in the National Post came to the stunning conclusion that one of the big reasons for child poverty in Canada is not capitalism run amuck or the one percent hording all the money, the real reason is divorce. In his article Surprise! Child poverty in Canada comes from divorce, not capitalism, William Watson dived into the finances of Canadian families provided by Statistics Canada, a government-run organization. According to the Statistics Canada, there are 1.2 million kids living in poverty. They define poverty as children living in families that earn less than half of Canada’s median income which for a mixed-sex couple is $87,688. Statistics Canada showed in 2015, the number of children under the age of five living in poverty was 17.8%.  For children between the ages of six to 15, 17% were living in poverty. But as you delve further into the statistics another disturbing trend begins to emerge. Single families are by far the biggest group where children live in poverty. Of course, not all single parent families are the …

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Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America. Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith. According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016. Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400. FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported. This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the …

London Bridge tower highlighted Credit: Wikipedia/cmglee

Who do British Jews consider their biggest threats?

Using YouGov, a survey company, the British organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) has conducted an annual survey of English attitudes towards Jews since 2015. Perhaps the most disturbing fact to come out of this year’s survey is that over the past two years a third of the Jews living in England had considered leaving due to the growing antisemitism in that country. The survey also found that 25% do not believe Jews have a long-term future in England with a further 21% stating they were uncertain. However, this was still better than what they see going on across the English Channel when 35% said they did not believe Jews have a long-term future in Europe and 24% stating they were unsure. This is certainly paving the way for further Jewish migration to Israel, an event prophesied in the Old Testament centuries earlier: 3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture… (Jeremiah 23:3 NASV) Perhaps not surprisingly …

Do not judge. Credit: skambalu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Does this study confirm Matthew 7:1-3?

A study by psychologists at the University of Plymouth in England uncovered an interesting trait in humanity which confirm words that Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. In the study reported in Scientific American, Sophia Harvey, Simone Schall and Jennifer Benton found that people who considered themselves morally unclean were more apt to judge others as being wrong than those who didn’t feel unclean. In the study, the researchers had people do a number of activities such as watch brief films where people did something wrong such as lying when they created a resume. They also had them watch disturbing segments from movies and then after read “moral vignettes.” An important part of the study was trying to induce a sense of cleanness in the test subjects and they did this by having half of them wash their hands before responding to what they had seen or read. They asked them to wash under the pretense that they would not dirty the room being used by staff. Even in the Old Testament, ritual cleansing was a …

Hall of Supreme Harmony, Beijing, China Credit: See-ming Lee/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is the world building for a revival?

Amid news of the Chinese government’s crack down on Christianity, reports are also circulating of the remarkable growth taking place in the Chinese church. Of course, with the government being so tight-lipped it is impossible to verify the accuracy of these accounts. It is also difficult to know how many Christians there are in China. In 2010, the Chinese government officially said it had 23 million Christians. However, that only included those attending the legally sanctioned church — the one run by the Communist government. When you include the underground church, the numbers would obviously be higher.  A 2010 survey conducted by Dr. Yanga Fenggang of Purdue University put the total number of Christians closer to 33 million (30 million protestants, 3 million Catholics). However based on a 2011 survey,  Pew Forum estimated the number of Christians at 67 million. If this number is right, the underground church is nearly twice as large as the officially sanctioned church. Curiously, a recent Global Trends (GT) survey of 23 countries in September-October 2016 uncovered evidence that may …

England's Big Ben at dawn Credit: Chris Goldberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cuts to sex education classes in England results in fewer teen pregnancies

A recent study has stunned the liberal world of sex education. When England announced it would cut funding to its sex education classes in 2010, activists and Liberals alike warned there would be a dramatic rise in unwanted pregnancies as a result. However a recent study conducted by researchers David Paton (Nottingham University Business School) and Liam Wright (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield) said the exact opposite happened. Teen pregnancies actually dropped after the cuts. In their study reported in the Journal of Health Economics, the two researchers looked at the statistics of 149 municipalities between 2009 and 2014. They discovered during this period where there were cuts to sex education that overall teen pregnancies dropped 42.6% and are now down to levels last seen in 1969. Ironically, they also noted the biggest decreases took place in municipalities with the highest cuts. The two stated in their report: “Contrary to predictions made at the time of the cuts, panel data estimates show that expenditure cuts are associated with a small reductions …

Marijuana being illegally grown in North Cascades National Park in the US. Credit: Park Ranger/Flickr/Creative Commons

Medical journal condemns Canada’s plan to legalize Marijuana in 2018

As the Canadian government pushes ahead to legalize Marijuana, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published an editorial condemning the proposed legislation. The Liberal government plans to legalize Marijuana by June 2018, fulfilling a campaign promise. According to Global News that reported on the CMAJ editorial, the legislation in its current form would: Legalize the recreational use of the drug for anyone 18 years of age and older. Allow Marijuana to be grown at home for personal use, but would limit the number of plants to four and height to under one meter. Not control the potency of Marijuana. CMAJ is concerned because several studies show that Marijuana usage can have a profound impact on the developing brain of a young person. In its editorial, the publication stated since a person’s brain is not fully developed until 25, legalizing the drug before that age could potentially have a devastating impact. Recently, several studies have shown that regular marijuana usage can distort and shrink the developing brain of a teen. It can result in increased rates …

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Forgive for your heart’s sake

When Jesus spoke on forgiveness He was very clear on one thing: if we don’t forgive those who offend us, God would not forgive us. 14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-15 NASV) I sometimes wonder if we struggle to forgive ourselves for things that we have done in the past, that it is a sign of spiritual blockages caused by our unwillingness to forgive. These blockages hinder us from fully experiencing God’s forgiveness. But an article on John Hopkins Medicine, Forgiveness: Your Health depends on It, provides one more reason to forgive. We need to do it for the sake of our physical health. Like many of God’s commandments, such as circumcision that improves a man’s health, the need to forgive is another section in God’s user’s manual on proper operation of the human body. According to the John Hopkins’ article, studies show that people who hold grudges and …

Balaam's donkey could count. Credit: JohnBWilson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Can horses count and does it matter?

I have always wondered what is going on in my dog’s mind other than the obvious – did I leave the cupboard door open to the garbage can? In 2008, Dr Claudia Uller from the University of Essex in Essex, England was speaking at the British Psychological Society conference in Dublin, Ireland when she announced that horses can count. She came to this conclusion based on a study she conducted along with Jennifer Lewis on 13 horses from Colchester, England. In the study, they had several buckets in which they placed either three apples or two apples. They only used plastic apples to eliminate the possibility that smell affected the results. They found in their testing that 11 of the 13 horses consistently chose the buckets with the most apples. In a second test they had buckets containing either two equally sized small apples or one large apple that was double the size of the two smaller apples, making them equal in amount. Ten of the 12 horses consistently chose the two apple containers over …

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Healing our rejection

Using a MRI scan university researchers discovered that emotional pain associated with rejection is as real as physical pain. In 2011, the group led by University of Michigan associate professor Ethan Kross studied 40 people who had recently gone through a romantic break-up within the previous six months. All the participants chosen mentioned having felt intense feelings of rejection due to the ending of the relationship. The 40 people were then put through two tests one related to the emotional pain they felt over the rejection and the other actual physical pain. In the first test, the study subjects viewed an image of their ex and were asked to think about the break up.  In the second stage, thermal devices were attached to their arms that created heat the equivalent of hot coffee. As the 40 people went through these and other comparative tests, the researchers monitored their brain activity using MRIs. The researchers found that feelings of rejection sparked neural activity in the same area of the brain where people felt physical pain. In …

Pray for those who mistreat you. Credit: MissTessmacher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study: prayer calms the angry heart

A 2011 study conducted by researchers from universities in America and Europe concluded that prayer helps a person calm their anger. The study conducted by Brad Bushman a psychology and communications professor from Ohio State University, Sander Koole of Holland’s VU University of Amsterdam and University of Michigan’s Ryan Bremner found that prayer quelled a person’s anger even if they were not particularly religious. There were various stages to this study. In one session, the researchers asked the participants in the study to to write a paper that was then evaluated by a partner who purposely and aggressively criticized the paper. They were extremely negative about what the participant had wrote. They then had some participants of the study group think about what their partner had said and others spend five minutes praying for them. Once they had gone through this process, the participants then played a game with their partner. If the participant won, they were allowed to blast their partner with loud music. The participant also determined how loud the music was and …

Children need married parents to thrive Credit: buck82/Flickr/Creative Commons

Children do better when parents are married versus living together

A recent study by the Institute for Family Studies found that children raised in a family where parents marry have the best chance of success. The study reported in The Federalist analyzed data from 100 countries. The study found that where there is no marriage commitment — this included situations where both of the child’s biological parents were living together — there was a greater chance the child would face a union transition. This takes place when parents end their relationship and start a new sexual relationship. These types of transition create a major time of instability for children often resulting in emotional and behavioral problems, educational difficulties and even a higher risk of death for the child. The report stated that “[C]ohabitation continues to confer a stability disadvantage on individual children even as cohabitation has become more normative.” The report disputes those who suggest that because of the rise in rates cohabitation it should be looked upon as the new form of marriage. Writing for The Federalist, Holly Scheer said: “Couples who commit to …

Ho Chi Minh city (formerly Saigon) Viet Nam. Credit: Colin Key/Flickr/Creative Commons

Original sin

Studies show that the average person lies about 100 times a day. As one writer tactfully noted, this was not talking about you specifically, but the average person. In the study, published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman recruited 121 pairs of men and women attending classes at the university to take part in the study. They had no idea what it involved at this point. They were then brought together and asked to have conversations with the other participants. Most of them did not know each other. They were unaware that the conversations were being recorded and researchers received the required permission after, before moving to the next stage. The students were then asked to view the video and to pick out the lies — from the most innocent to the most blatant. They found that over 60% of the participants lied within the first ten minutes of their conversation and told an average of 2.92 lies. They found men and women lied the same amount, …

Credit: Antonio Ponte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sex addiction is real

Dr. Stefanie Carnes is president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). She recently came out against those in the therapy community who do not believe people can be sex addicts. IITAP provides materials and support for those working in the addiction community. She pointed to several studies that show sex addiction is a very real problem. In particular, she cited the recent research of Ji-Woo Seok and Jin-Hun Sohn at Chungnam National University in South Korea. The two work at the university’s brain research institute. Their findings confirmed what earlier studies have shown — sex addiction is real for both men and women. In their study, Seok and Sohn found that people with a sex addiction share many similarities to those with alcohol and drug addictions. Like other addicts, those with a sex addiction spend an inordinate amount of time searching for pornography to satisfy their craving. Sex addicts have the same level of sexual desire as the normal population, but similar to other addictions have a higher degree of wanting …

Credit: Josh & Karen Tanenbarum/Flickr/Creative Commons

Baby Sinners?

A study by Dr. Vasudevi Reddy, of the Psychology Department at the University of Portsmouth, showed babies learn to lie before they learn to speak.  Her conclusions were reported in the April 2007 edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Dr. Reddy stated that lying started as early as six months. She says through trial and error, babies gain a better understanding in what situations lies work best and by seven months many infants are skilled in the art of deceit. Reddy’s conclusion flies in the face of many behavioral psychologists who — convinced of man’s eternal goodness — don’t believe children start lying until they are four years of age or older, when their brains are more developed. (By this age some argue lying is a learned behavior not an innate one.) But others, mostly parents, have had nagging suspicions that their sweet, innocent child had a dark side. In the course of her research, Reddy studied 50 children and did extensive interviews with their parents. Through this process, Reddy identified a …