Researchers from the University of Utah announced that they are launching "The Religious Brain Project," an initiative aimed at studying the effects of faith on the human brain, and will be starting off by examining Mormon missionaries.
"Religious and spiritual stimuli are among the most profound influences on behavior that exists. The neuroscience of spirituality, however, is almost completely unknown," explained project Director Jeff Anderson, who is also an associate professor of neuroradiology at the university.
"We want to study what happens in the brain when someone has a spiritual experience." more >>
The Roman Catholic Church has responded to a highly critical U.N. report demanding that it stop protecting child abusing clergy, by claiming it is doing more than any other international organization to combat the highly-publicized problem.
"Sexual abuse of a minor is a sin and a crime and no organization can become complacent about addressing it. The Catholic Church has certainly done more than any other international organization to face the problem and it will continue to lead in doing so," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a post following the publication of a report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The report, a follow-up to a U.N. panel which in January directly questioned Holy See representatives at a conference in Geneva about the Vatican's record on child sex abuse handling, demands that the Catholic Church "immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes." more >>
Protestant Churches in the United States and abroad have called for a "Day of Prayer for South Sudan" in response to the recent news of a ceasefire in the violence-ridden nascent nation.
Presbyterian Church (USA), The Episcopal Church, and the Reformed Church in America have issued calls to their members to pray for South Sudan on Sunday, February 16.
Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the PC (USA) General Assembly, said in a recently released statement that the Republic of South Sudan needs their prayers and support during this time. more >>
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned society on the dangers of the "international campaign" behind same-sex marriage, and insisted that the traditional family structure is needed for the survival of humankind.
"Preservation of marriage as a union between a man and a woman based on love and mutual understanding and birth of beloved children are a precondition for survival of humankind," Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said in a statement on Tuesday following a meeting at the upper house of the Russian parliament, ITAR-TASS News Agency said of reports in the world's largest country.
Kirill added that the church is also concerned about marital infidelity and the "irresponsibility in relations between men and women," in his message directed toward "all sober-minded people of Russia and other countries." more >>
The United Methodist Church will review a bishop's decision to support a regional conference's resolution passed in support of same-sex marriage.
The denomination's highest court, the Judicial Council, will review the Desert Southwest Annual Conference's "Marriage Equality Resolution" in April it was announced.
In the recently released docket for the Judicial Council, the reproduced resolution stated that the Conference took a stand in favor of gay marriage, even though the UMC Book of Discipline defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. more >>
A Catholic priest from Ohio who witnessed the prolonged execution of convicted murderer Dennis McGuire last week described it as "inhumane" and "evil," noting that the felon prayed for forgiveness for his crimes.
"What I saw was inhumane. I don't know how any objective observer could come up with any conclusion other than that injection was an evil way to go," Fr. Lawrence Hummer of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, wrote in an article for The Guardian on Wednesday, revealing that he attended the execution as McGuire' spiritual adviser.
McGuire's execution last week caused controversy after he was given an untested combination of chemicals that had him gasp for air, snort and choke for 10 of the 14 minutes he took to officially die. The 53-year-old convict is believed to have experienced a rare medical phenomenon known as an "air hunger" after he was administered a dose of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative. more >>