I'm an open-minded guy. This study had some surprises for me, so I mention it:
What daily practice may help American Christians become more concerned about issues of poverty, conservation and civil liberties?
Reading the Bible.
The answer may come as a surprise to those locked into viewing religious practices in ideological boxes. However, a new study by Baylor University researcher Aaron Franzen found frequent Bible reading predicted greater support for issues ranging from the compatibility of science and religion to more humane treatment of criminals.
The study, one of the first to examine the social consequences of reading Scripture, reveals the effects of Bible reading appear to transcend conservative-liberal boundaries.
Thus, even as opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion tends to increase with more time spent with the Bible, so does the number of people who say it is important to actively seek social and economic justice, Franzen found...
...Consider some of the findings:
- The likelihood of Christians saying it is important to actively seek social and economic justice to be a good person increased 39 percent with each jump up the ladder of the frequency of reading Scripture, from reading the Bible less than once a year to no more than once a month to about weekly to several times a week or more.
- Christian respondents overall were 27 percent more likely to say it is important to consume or use fewer goods to be a good person as they became more frequent Bible readers.
- Reading the Bible more often also was linked to improved attitudes toward science. Respondents were 22 percent less likely to view religion and science as incompatible at each step toward more frequent Bible reading.
- The issues seemed to matter more than conservative-liberal tags. In the case of another major public policy debate, same-sex unions, nearly half of respondents who read the Bible less than once a year said homosexuals should be allowed to marry, while only 6 percent of people who read the Bible several times a week or more approved of such marriages.
Of course, I've been saying here for a long time that many self-described Christians seem to be clueless about the liberal policies that Jesus espoused. Nothing wrong with finding out, eh? Maybe it's just that reading the Bible is a marker for being willing and able to read at all. Or maybe reading the Bible actually opens their eyes. To some things. Doesn't seem to help when it comes to gay rights. But I suppose we should take what we can get.