A belief-as-benefit effect (BABE)—the positive association between well-being and religiosity/spirituality—is recurrently reported. Past BABE research has however been critiqued for predominantly utilizing unrepresentative samples, questionable psychometric measures and bivariate designs. Employing a multivariate design, I explore the incremental validity of the BABE in two community samples. Hierarchical models—initially including socio-demographic factors and religiosity/spirituality and subsequently adding trait agreeableness and conscientiousness—are used. Simple correlations confirm the BABE (with an unexceptional effect size). However the unique association observed using multivariate estimation is substantially weaker and occasionally indicates an adverse association. That cross-sectional analyses cannot establish cause is fully acknowledged. Yet, establishing cause is not the current aim; multivariate models are simply used to substantiate the cross-sectional BABE.
The recent report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is intended to “offer a new and complementary lens with which to glean new insights into religion and public life”. The technique of cluster analysis was used on measures of religious and spiritual beliefs, yielding seven groups, two consisting primarily of nonreligious or secular individuals. There are “breadth-versus-depth” tradeoffs involved in this approach. A belief-based typology is an improvement upon a grouping that uses religious denomination, which undercounts secular individuals. But the theoretical implications of this typology for understanding secular individuals necessitate scrutiny, including how the use of meaning in life as a marker of well-being may be misleading in the case of the nonreligious.
To oppose Secularism modern Christians depend on myths about the historical development of civilization. Such as the myth of a Christian America, imagining such things as that the United States Constitution was based on Biblical Christian principles. Parallel to this myth is another about science: that the Scientific Revolution, and therefore modern science, was based on Biblical Christian principles and could not have occurred (and therefore cannot continue) without them. Necessary to this are several false claims, most particularly that ancient pagans never did and never could have made any significant scientific progress, and that Christian theology was essential to doing so. These myths are here dispelled with recourse to a survey of the actual facts of the matter.
Using Davis Buckley’s (2013) notion of “Benevolent Secularism” this article examines how the evangelical movement in Brazil, in particular, the neopentecostal movement, challenges the historical stability of relations between state and religion. Until very recently this relationship was based on cooperation between the Catholic Church and the State in the one hand and an inter-religious coalition led by Catholicism in the other. In this text, I will first discuss the concept of “benevolent secularism” and its theoretical-methodological implications. Then, I will present empiric examples to describe how Christian religions relate to politics in Brazil. Those examples will test the applicability of Buckley’s concept to represent Brazilian secularism. And, they will also demonstrate the heuristic virtues of this concept for the understanding of the impact of the evangelical modus operandi in the configuration of the secular in Brazilian society.