Tag Archives: research

Rediscovered C.S. Lewis Christmas Sermon: ‘we shall have to set about becoming true Pagans’

While researching for her PhD thesis, Stephanie L. Derrick uncovered a forgotten C.S. Lewis article—forgotten in the sense that it that had not appeared in scholarly bibliographies of his work. Entitled “A Christmas Sermon for Pagans,” it reads in part:

“A universe of colourless electrons (which is presently going to run down and annihilate all organic life everywhere and forever) is, perhaps, a little dreary compared with the earth-mother and the sky-father, the wood nymphs and the water nymphs, chaste Diana riding the night sky and homely Vesta flickering on the hearth. But one can’t have everything, and there are always the flicks and the radio: if the new view is correct, it has very solid advantages.”

And then later:

“It looks to me, neighbours, as though we shall have to set about becoming true Pagans if only as a preliminary to becoming Christians. … For (in a sense) all that Christianity adds to Paganism is the cure. It confirms the old belief that in this universe we are up against Living Power: that there is a real Right and that we have failed to obey it: that existence is beautiful and terrifying. It adds a wonder of which Paganism had not distinctly heard—that the Mighty One has come down to help us, to remove our guilt, to reconcile us.”

Read Derrick’s article about unearthing this C.S. Lewis sermon along with an unlikely article he apparently wrote about cricket (under his pseudonym).

By the way, Derrick is turning her thesis into an upcoming book: The Fame of C. S. Lewis: A Controversialist’s Reception in Britain and America, to be published by Oxford University Press in July 2018 (that release date according to Amazon.com).

And while we’re talking Christmas, see what C.S. Lewis had to say about ritual, which included some thoughts about the holiday season.

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Globally, Women Are More Likely Than Men to be Religious, Pew Research Center Data Says

Women are more likely to be religious, and among atheists, women are the minority, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center.

The first two of these three graphics are based upon surveys of men and women, ages 20 or older, in 192 countries:
 
Women more likely than men to be affiliated
 
Women make up the majority of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and an unidentified selection of smaller religious groups:
 
Religiously affiliated more likely to be female
 
The United States is sometimes maligned as a religious, patriarchal nation. To the maligners: Why are so many patriarchs atheists and so many matriarchs believers? No one in the U.S. makes a free adult get out of bed on a Sunday morning, and no one makes a free adult hold faith-in-a-higher-power as a background belief. See the graphic below, and consider the population numbers and cultural diversity represented by the listed nations:
 
Atheists more likely to be men in several countries

We’re Still Reading Print Books! Thank Pew For The Good News

Having recently moved hundreds of my books into storage during some serious work on my house, I have questioned my judgment and my affinity for book-hoarding.

But somehow, even with the back strain of carrying cartons and boxes and bins of dead trees and ink — back strain that wouldn’t have existed if I had just had a bunch of e-books on a Kindle or Nook — the below graphics warm my heart.

(And I can’t wait to get all my shelves and books back into my office. As long as the floor holds up.)

Be sure to read the entire Book Reading 2016 report from Pew Research Center.
 
Print books continue to be more popular than e-books or audio books
Just 6% of Americans are digital-only book consumers
College graduates are especially likely to read books in both print and digital formats
 

Confession Time

I recently wanted to read a book that I couldn’t afford to purchase at the time. I found it in e-book format through the university’s library and obtained a 14-day loan (yes, some e-books actually have a sort of timer on them). I read most of it on my phone, some of it on my tablet. Along those lines:
 
More Americans are reading books on tablets and cellphones, even as dedicated e-reader use has remained stable
 

Several Data Sets Suggest: ‘The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history’

From Slate.com:

“How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, ‘Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out’—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times. All the more so when billions of smartphones turn a fifth of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.”

Source: The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history.

‘Researchers Uncover Ancient Mask Of Pagan God Pan In Northern Israel’ — Huffington Post

“Although Pan hails from Greco-Roman pagan traditions, ancient worship of the god — called Faunus in Roman tradition — has been documented in Israel. Paneas, also called Banias, is now a nature reserve and archaeological site near the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi in the Golan Heights. The city was located within the region known as the ‘Panion,’ named after the deity, and housed shrines and temples in his honor.”

via Researchers Uncover Ancient Mask Of Pagan God Pan In Northern Israel

Ooh child, things are gonna get easier? Michael Shermer on his new book, ‘The Moral Arc’


 

Barna Group research suggest Millennials prefer quieter, liturgical, traditional church settings

I saw this Barna Group report, which was released last month, and I mentioned it on Facebook but forgot to post it here.

Before I repeat the most interesting (to me) statistics from Barna’s research, here’s a supporting personal anecdote, which I reported two years ago:

…I remember a story from a student at the campus where I teach, Coastal Carolina University. A young, zealous, Southern, evangelical student invited some Northeastern cradle-Catholics to a local rock-and-roll church — you know, one of the churches with “high-energy” worship, guaranteed never to be boring.

How did the Northeastern cradle-Catholics react to the rock-and-roll church? Were they surprised that church could be so cool? Were they delighted to hear a backbeat in the worship songs? Did they feel at ease around casual clothing?

No. They’re response was simple: “That’s not church,” they said.

I figure they had expected something a little less like the rest of their lives.

Church can be different from the surrounding culture in more ways than one (and that one way is usually moral pride).

I told that true story in the same post that noted a campus ministry at the College of William & Mary was offering “silence” and “incense” to students.

Barna: Millenials Research

Among “Millennials,” or adults 18-29 years old,

67 percent prefer “classic” church settings (33 percent “trendy”);

77 percent prefer “sanctuary” (23 percent “auditorium”);

67 percent prefer “quiet” (33 percent “loud”).

Follow the link and look at the visual preferences of this generation: Altars that could be from European cathedrals, and tall stained glass windows.