The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God's Love

The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God's Love

by Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, Stephen G. Post
     
 

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Drawing on an extensive survey of 1,200 Christian men and women across the United States, as well as 120 in-depth interviews, Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post offer a deeper and more nuanced study of religion and benevolence, finding that it is the experience of God as loving that activates religious networks and moves people to do good for… See more details below

Overview

Drawing on an extensive survey of 1,200 Christian men and women across the United States, as well as 120 in-depth interviews, Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post offer a deeper and more nuanced study of religion and benevolence, finding that it is the experience of God as loving that activates religious networks and moves people to do good for others.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This sociological investigation into lived spiritual experiences, via surveys and interviews, focuses on how feeling divine love affects an individual's engagement in charity and community service. Building off previous findings of a correlation between religiosity and community benevolence, the authors find through their survey data that believing in God's love is the single best predictor of community benevolence. The book supplements dry survey data and analysis with interviews; having chosen prominent figures they consider to be prime examples of community benevolence, the authors recount detailed interviews that focus on their subjects' spiritual backgrounds, "born again" moments, and the service they've performed. The book also broadens its scope by examining prayer experiences, Pentecostalism, and a general typology for the benevolent, classified by types of spirituality and types of benevolence. While these broader discussions are admirably ambitious, they diffuse focus from the interview subjects, whose narratives are the highlight of the work. Furthermore, while the blend of academic prose and analysis with sensitive spiritual topics is intriguing and unusual, occasionally the juxtaposition of topic and tone is jarring.
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From the Publisher
"This is an important and timely text...This is among the first studies to shed real light on the processes whereby powerful experiences of divine love engender efforts to foster a more socially just world. Accordingly, this book is likely to be of interest to anyone interested in how spirituality is impacting contemporary culture." —Sociology of Religion

"The Heart of Religion is a compelling study of people who manifest the love of God they themselves have experienced, calling readers to a similarly full life 'thriving while serving others, loving as you have been loved, living a life of meaning.'" —PRISM

"Lee, Poloma, and Post give an incisive analysis of what can be considered the core element of religious involvement: namely, love. Among the virtues of this volume are the national-level survey data and the qualitative data used to explore processes and experiences related to religiously inspired love. The Heart of Religion avoids simplistic portrayals of the subject by recognizing that godly love is often forged in the crucible of suffering, and that expressions of godly love vary across social contexts and life circumstances. This volume demonstrates that thoughtful scientific investigations can and must take seriously the dynamics and experiences that are central to religion. It will offer an important correction to a longstanding oversight in the social scientific study of religion."—John Bartkowski, Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at San Antonio

"God's love heals, energizes, and transforms. 'Super-charged' by divine love, people can accomplish great things. Blending sociological and spiritual perspectives, the authors provide powerful illustrations of how divine love leads people to respond to the needs of the world. In a world of hurt and brokenness, two themes especially stand out: (1) love transcends all of our differences, and (2) divine love makes it possible to love the unlovable. This is a book full of compelling and inspiring insights into the divine origins of the greatest commandment."—Robert A. Emmons, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199986934
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/14/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
3 MB

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