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1 A Question of Faith: Workbook A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth By Tor Constantino
1 A Question of Faith: Workbook A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth By Tor Constantino
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A Question of Faith: Workbook

A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth

By Tor Constantino

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction Basic Knowledge of Religio n is Lacking in the U.S. Pew Forum’s

Introduction

Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S.

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz – 15 Multiple Choice Quiz

Quiz Answers - National Results of the Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz

Reflection Questions – Part I

Growing Lack of Religious Interest in the U.S.

Reflection Questions – Part II

Level of Religious Engagement – Personal Assessment Tool

Reflection Questions – Part III

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Notes:
Notes:

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Introduction

Intro d uction Virtually every civilization on earth h as a faith tradition or religious belief

Virtually every civilization on earth has a faith tradition or religious belief that exists beyond the seen world.

 

Notes:

There seems to be a near universal need to connect beyond the mortal coil of humanity.

 
 

This workbook is a companion tool to the book titled A Question of Faith: A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth. Download the first three chapters for FREE here: http://thedailyretort.com/book/

 
 
 
 

That book and this workbook are based on three assumptions:

 
 

First, that deity exists. Second, absolute truth exists. Third, meaningful insights into both of those previous assumptions can be obtained through faith and religious study.

 

 
   
 

 
   
 

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Introduction (cont.)

Introduction (cont.) Each of us faces all kinds of questions every day that need answers. If

Each of us faces all kinds of questions every day that need answers. If you are someone who is seeking spiritual insight, I would offer that there is no greater question than what faith to choose and believe.

The simple fact is that people rarely give a great deal of thought to their personal religious beliefs and simply adopt the faith system that their parents or family follows or that’s predominantly practiced within their respective community or peer group.

While that’s a perfectly acceptable reason to believe, I had a spiritual curiosity that drove me beyond that approach.

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Notes:
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Introduction (cont.)

Introduction (cont.) The main book, A Question of Faith, and this workbook strive to empower the
The main book, A Question of Faith, and this workbook strive to empower the reader
The main book, A Question of Faith, and this workbook strive to
empower the reader to consider the available options for themselves.
Notes:
The actual book also provides a logical approach to select a faith if they
so choose. Some may find that approach controversial, but it’s intended
to drive personal discovery, study and dialogue.
Personally, I wish I had a book like this to reference when I went to
college because that’s where I had a crisis of faith, and I didn’t know what
to believe at the time.
Everything sounded good to me in college, but I lacked a basic
understanding of the various religions so I was not prepared to
decide for myself.
I was overwhelmed by the secular nature and general
irreligious regard I experienced on campus. Again I wish I’d
had the book A Question of Faith and this workbook then.

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Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S.

Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S. We frequently hear news reports citing standardized

We frequently hear news reports citing standardized test results that the U.S. lags other countries in math, science and fluency in other languages.

Additionally, Americans are lacking in a basic understanding of fundamental beliefs at the heart of ex-U.S. cultures as well.

Technology continues to shrink the globe, forcing us to interact and relate more widely with different cultures and beliefs on a global scale - and Americans simply aren't prepared for that engagement.

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Notes:

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Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S. (cont.)

Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S. (cont.) For example, basic knowledge of various

For example, basic knowledge of various world religions is severely lacking among Americans according to results from a recent study by the Pew Foundation that can be accessed at the following link.

http://pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-

Knowledge-Survey.aspx

Beyond the executive summary, the Pew Forum web site also lists a 15-question quiz that you can take to determine your general grasp on basic tenets of the major faiths.

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Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S. (cont.)

Basic Knowledge of Religion is Lacking in the U.S. (cont.) Over the next few pages, take

Over the next few pages, take Pew’s short, 15-question quiz to see how you compare with the 3,412 randomly sampled adults who were asked these and other questions in the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.

This national poll was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life from May 19 through June 4, 2010, in both English and Spanish.

Pick only one of the multiple-choice answers for each question on the following five pages.

Notes:
Notes:

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz 1.) Which Bible figure is most closely associated with leading

1.) Which Bible figure is most closely associated with leading the exodus from Egypt?

Elijah Moses Abraham

Notes:
Notes:

2.) What was Mother Teresa's religion? Catholic Jewish Buddhist Mormon Hindu

3.) Which of the following is NOT one of the Ten Commandments?

Do not commit adultery

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Do not steal

Keep the Sabbath holy

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.) 4.) When does the Jewish Sabbath begin? Friday Saturday

4.) When does the Jewish Sabbath begin? Friday Saturday Sunday

5.) Is Ramadan…? The Hindu festival of lights A Jewish day of atonement The Islamic holy month

6.) Which of the following best describes the Catholic teaching about the bread and wine used for Communion?

The bread and wine actually become the body and

blood of Jesus Christ.

The bread and wine are symbols of the body and blood

of Jesus Christ.

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Notes:
Notes:

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.) 7.) In which religion are Vishnu and Shiva central
7.) In which religion are Vishnu and Shiva central figures? Islam Hinduism Taoism Notes: 8.)
7.) In which religion are Vishnu and Shiva central figures?
Islam
Hinduism
Taoism
Notes:
8.) Which Bible figure is most closely associated with remaining
obedient to God despite suffering?
Job
Elijah
Moses
Abraham
9.) What was Joseph Smith's religion?
Catholic
Jewish
Buddhist
Mormon
Hindu

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.) 10.) According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court,
10.) According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public school teacher permitted
10.) According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public
school teacher permitted to lead a class in prayer, or not?
Yes, permitted
No, not permitted
Notes:
11.) According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public
school teacher permitted to read from the Bible as an example of
literature, or not?
Yes, permitted
No, not permitted
12.) What religion do most people in Pakistan consider
themselves?
Buddhism
Hindu
Muslim
Christian

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz (cont.) 13.) What was the name of the person whose
13.) What was the name of the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant
13.) What was the name of the person whose writings and actions
inspired the Protestant Reformation?
Martin Luther
Thomas Aquinas
John Wesley
Notes:
14.) Which of these religions aims at nirvana, the state of being free
from suffering?
Islam
Buddhism
Hinduism
15.) Which one of these preachers participated in the
period of religious activity known as the First Great
Awakening?
Jonathan Edwards
Charles Finney
Billy Graham

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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS   Question Correct Answer % of Survey Respondents
 

Question

Correct Answer

% of Survey Respondents Answering Correctly

1.

Which Bible figure

Moses

72%

is most closely associated with leading the exodus from Egypt?

2.

What was Mother

Catholic

82%

Teresa's religion?

3.

Which of the

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

55%

following is NOT one of the Ten Commandments?

4.

When does the

Friday

45%

Jewish Sabbath begin?

5.

Is Ramadan…?

The Islamic holy month

52%

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Jewish Sabbath begin? 5. Is Ramadan…? The Islamic holy month 52% Visit: www.torconbooks.com Notes: 1 4
Notes:
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Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS (cont.)   Question Correct % of Survey Respondents
 

Question

Correct

% of Survey Respondents Answering Correctly

 

Answer

6.

Which of the following

The bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ

40%

best describes the Catholic teaching about the bread and wine used for Communion?

7.

In which religion are

Hinduism

38%

Vishnu and Shiva central figures?

8.

Which Bible figure is

Job

39%

most closely associated with remaining obedient to God despite suffering?

9.

What was Joseph

Mormon

51%

Smith's religion?

10. According to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a public school teacher permitted to lead a class in prayer, or not?

No, not permitted

89%

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teacher permitted to lead a class in prayer, or not? No, not permitted 89% Visit: www.torconbooks.com

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS (cont.)

Pew Forum’s Basic Religious Knowledge Quiz: ANSWERS (cont.)   Question Correct Answer % of Survey
 

Question

Correct Answer

% of Survey Respondents Answering Correctly

11.

According to rulings by the

Yes, permitted

23%

U.S. Supreme Court, is a public school teacher permitted to read from the Bible as an example of literature, or not?

12.

What religion do most

Muslim

68%

people in Pakistan consider themselves?

13.

What was the name of the

Martin Luther

46%

person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation?

14.

Which of these religions

Buddhism

36%

aims at the state of nirvana

15.

Which one of these

Jonathan Edwards

11%

preachers participated in the period of religious activity known as the First Great Awakening?

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Notes:
Notes:

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in the period of religious activity known as the First Great Awakening? Visit: www.torconbooks.com Notes: 1

Find Out How You Compare to Others

Find Out How You Compare to Others Here are some of the highlights. Atheists and agn

Here are some of the highlights. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons were among the highest-scoring groups on that exact survey you just took.

Those groups outperformed evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions even after controlling for differing levels of education. Here’s a breakdown:

Average Americans correctly answered only 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Atheists and agnostics averaged 20.9 correct answers.

Jews and Mormons did about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively.

Protestants as a whole averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics as a whole only answered 14.7 questions correctly.

Notes:
Notes:

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Reflections – Part I

Reflections – Part I If you visited the Pew Forum’s si te, what most surprised you

If you visited the Pew Forum’s site, what most surprised you about the findings of its 2010 religious survey?

What question(s) did you find the most difficult to answer for yourself?

Why do you think that was the case?

What question(s) were easiest for you to answer and why?

What was the most interesting thing you learned after completing Part I?

Notes:
Notes:

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Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S.

Growing Lack of Religious Interest Wit h in the U.S. Not only is there a growing

Not only is there a growing lack of knowledge in the basic tenets of the major faith traditions. There is also a growing lack of interest in organized religion as well.

Specifically, another study also conducted by the Pew Forum found a general disinterest in religion among Millennials and young adults in the U.S.

Details of that study can be accessed at this link.

http://pewforum.org/Age/Religion-Among-the-

Millennials.aspx#introduction

Notes:
Notes:

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Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.)

Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.) By some key measures, Am ericans ages

By some key measures, Americans ages 18 to 29 are considerably less religious than older Americans.

Fully one-in-four members of the Millennial generation - so called because they were born after 1980 and began to come of age around the year 2000 - are unaffiliated with any particular faith.

In fact, Millennials are significantly more unaffiliated than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their life cycle (20% in the late 1990s) and twice as unaffiliated as Baby Boomers were as young adults (13% in the late 1970s).

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Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.)

Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.) Young adults also attend religious services less
Young adults also attend religious services less often than older Americans today. And compared with
Young adults also attend religious services less often than older
Americans today. And compared with their elders, fewer young people
say that religion is very important in their lives today.
Notes:
No one can adequately predict the impact that this general disinterest in
religion will have on a society that was once known as “…one nation
under God…” but there is a marked desensitization toward faith among
young adults in this country that cannot be ignored. This fact is bourn out
in the following statistics.
What used to be basic, universally-known truths about
Christianity are now unknown mysteries to a large and
growing share of Americans--especially young adults. For
instance, Barna Group studies in 2010 showed that while most
people regard Easter as a religious holiday, only a minority of
adults associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.)

L a ck of Religious Interest Wit hi n the U.S. (cont.) Other examples include the
Other examples include the finding that few adults believe that their faith is meant to
Other examples include the finding that few adults believe that their faith
is meant to be the focal point of their life or to be integrated into every
aspect of their existence.
Notes:
Further, a growing majority believe the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God's
presence or power, but not a living entity. As the two younger
generations (Busters and Mosaics) ascend to numerical and positional
supremacy in churches across the nation, the data suggest that biblical
literacy is likely to decline significantly. http://www.barna.org/culture-
articles/462-six-megathemes-emerge-from-2010
The Barna Group reports that in the U.S., about 50% of self-
identified Christian college freshman will forsake their
Christianity before their senior year.

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Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.)

Growing Lack of Religious Interest Within the U.S. (cont.) In several ways, teenagers are much less
In several ways, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen
In several ways, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than
were teens a dozen years ago.
Notes:
The study cited below assessed nine different forms of teenage
involvement; six of those religious activities are at their lowest levels
since Barna Group began tracking such teen behaviors. These included:
small group attendance, prayer,
Sunday school participation, donations to churches,
reading sacred texts other than the Bible, and evangelism by
Christian teens (explaining their belief in Jesus Christ with others
who have different faith views).
http://www.barna.org/teens-next-gen-articles/403-how-
teenagers-faith-practices-are-changing

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Reflections – Part II

Reflections – Part II In your opinion, what are possi ble contributing factors to the general

In your opinion, what are possible contributing factors to the general lack of religious knowledge among average Americans?

What are possible contributing factors to the general lack of religious interest among average Americans?

What might be driving this trend even faster among young adults and teens?

Do you believe America is a religious nation or a secular nation? Why?

Notes:
Notes:

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Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement

Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement Each of us has a different le vel of

Each of us has a different level of religious belief and faith- based engagement. This next few pages are intended to help quantify – in general terms – the Religious Engagement level of you or another individual you care about.

Using the 0-10 scale (low to high), simply circle the number, or place on the line, that corresponds with the specific behavior listed.

Based on the results of this assessment, you may want to share them with a trusted person of faith with whom you fellowship or a youth-group leader for additional direction and guidance.

Notes:
Notes:

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Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.)

Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.) Attends Religious Se rvices Regularly 10 0 5

Attends Religious Services Regularly

10 0 5 Participates or attends a faith-based youth group a regular basis: 0 10
10
0
5
Participates or attends a faith-based youth group a regular basis:
0
10
5
Engages in prayers or the act of praying on a consistent basis:
0
10
5
Notes:
Notes:

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Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.)

Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.) Actively reads the scriptures or holy text of

Actively reads the scriptures or holy text of a given faith tradition:

10 0 5 Discusses or talks about religious issues with other believers: 0 10 5
10
0
5
Discusses or talks about religious issues with other believers:
0
10
5
Shares personal faith beliefs and religious views with non-believers:
0
10
5
Notes:
Notes:

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Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.)

Assess Your Personal Level of Religious Engagement (cont.) Thinks about or meditates on religious concepts: 10

Thinks about or meditates on religious concepts:

10 0 5 Seeks out entertainment choices, consistent with the faith tradition: 0 10 5
10
0
5
Seeks out entertainment choices, consistent with the faith tradition:
0
10
5
Have friends at school or work that share views on faith:
0
10
5
Notes:
Notes:

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Reflections – Part III

Reflections – Part III Based on your assessment, how would you classify your level of religious
Based on your assessment, how would you classify your level of religious engagement? Low, Medium
Based on your assessment, how would you classify your
level of religious engagement? Low, Medium or High?
Notes:
Did the results of the assessment surprise you? Why or
why not?
Is your level of religious engagement where you would
like it to be?
Which questions on the assessement
would you like to increase?
What steps might you take toward that
goal?

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Why Bother With Religion?

Why Bother W ith Religion? Many individuals view religion as “pie in the sky” hyperbole that
Many individuals view religion as “pie in the sky” hyperbole that holds an unprovable promise
Many individuals view religion as “pie in the sky” hyperbole that holds an
unprovable promise for the future “sweet by and by” with little benefit for
the earthly “here and now.”
Notes:
Dr. Michael E. McCullough is a researcher at the University of Miami who
has studied the relationship between religion and health – publishing
more than a dozen studies on the topic.
Here is a link to a list of Dr. McCullough’s published studies and results
on a wide area of health factors and how they intersect with religion:
http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Religion_Research.htm
Dr. McCullough goes to great lengths to be
objective, acknowledging that some of his studies
have small sample sizes, may have a correlation but
not necessarily a direct causal impact as well as
other competing drivers.
However, the following pages list some of the more
interesting highlights of McCullough’s studies.

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Why Bother With Religion? (cont.)

Why Bother With Religion? (cont.) McCullough’s result s published in Psychological Bulletin suggest that religious

McCullough’s results published in Psychological Bulletin suggest that religious affiliation helps people quit smoking.

A study McCullough presented in the Journal of Drug Issues, found that in neighborhoods where there were high alcoholism rates, church attendance was more effective than Alcoholics Anonymous. Those who attended religious services more than once a week over the course of a year were 24 percent less likely than others to abuse alcohol.

were 24 perce nt less likely than others to abuse alcohol. In a study paper published

In a study paper published in 2000, McCullough analyzed 42 studies about religion and life span comprising 125,826 people. The meta-analysis found that religious followers were nearly 30 percent more likely to live longer than nonreligious study participants.

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Notes:
Notes:

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Why Bother With Religion? (cont.)

Why Bother With Religion? (cont.) In the Journal of Clinical and Social Psychology, McCull ough analyzed

In the Journal of Clinical and Social Psychology, McCullough analyzed 64 studies about religion and health issues such as hypertension and heart attack. In the majority of cases, a correlation existed between regular worship service attendance and a lower incidence of health problems.

According to McCullough’s research, religious people were less vengeful than irreligious individuals. Both groups were attached to electrodes to measure their blood pressure, heart rate and perspiration as indicators of anger and stress – then asked to relive a situation when they’ve been wronged. This study was published as Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct (Jossey-Bass, 2008).

Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct (Jossey-Bass, 2008). For a gratitude study, McCullough assigned two groups of

For a gratitude study, McCullough assigned two groups of students to write daily journals. The first group wrote what they were thankful for, the other group listed their problems. The results found that those who practiced gratitude increased happiness by nearly 30 percent.

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Why Bother With Religion? (cont.)

Why Bothe r W ith Religion? (cont.) A completely different and mo re re c ent

A completely different and more recent study published in 2011 by Columbia University found interesting results between religious belief and depression. It looked at 114 adults over a 10-year period.

 

Notes:

Here’s the link to the study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry:

 
 

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/appi.ajp.2011.10121823

 

v1?roi=echo3-9666805893-6579645-

 

fce0427afa2d058811e3a59821c49408&papetoc

 

Here are the highlights of the 10-year study:

 

 

Subjects who reported at the start of the study that religion or spirituality was highly important to them had about one- fourth the risk of experiencing major depression compared with other participants.

 
 
   
 
 
 

Those at the highest risk for depression because they were the child of a depressed parent had the biggest reduction in risk due to their spirituality, experiencing about one-tenth the risk of experiencing major depression compared with those who did not.

 
   
 
 
 

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Reflections – Part IV

Reflections – Part IV Did any of the research findings covered in the past few pages
Did any of the research findings covered in the past few pages surprise you? Notes:
Did any of the research findings covered in the past few pages
surprise you?
Notes:
What study results resonated the most with you? Why do you
think that’s the case?
Is there anyone that comes to mind that might be interested in
some of these survey results?
Do any of these findings lead you to consider religion in a
different light?

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Conclusion

Conclusi on We hope you found that this workbook containe d us eful information and helped

We hope you found that this workbook contained useful information and helped provide a different perspective on religion in general.

Hopefully you will explore the topics of faith and religion in greater detail.

The following book, might be a great place to start! A Question of Faith: A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth.

of Faith: A Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth . Download the first thre e chapters for

Download the first three chapters for FREE

here: http://thedailyretort.com/book/

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Notes:
Notes:

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