Spirituality as a transpersonal psychology

Spiritual psychology is a blend of spirituality and science. It’s a subfield of psychology that accomplishes transcendent and spiritual aspects of the human exercise in the psychological term. You can get better explanation with the survey conducted by  www.newpsychology.com. Our research works can help you to get more information about this.

Spiritual psychology is actually concerned about spiritual aspects of human life. In this section psychological terminologies are analyzed in the method of spiritual subject method. Sometimes spiritual psychology may be confused with parapsychology but both are totally different. Often spiritual psychology is not explored in traditional psychological program.

Some factors of spiritual psychology

Transpersonal or spiritual psychology doesn’t have any specific rules and method, it rooted o in such ideology rear the common human sense. According to our research , transpersonal personality is not about any ideal methodology but it’s about an intention which is beyond motivation.

Spiritual personality can’t be judged by other experiences. It has its own ideas. Client and therapists both can have different philosophy. But nothing is right or wrong comparison to each other.

Spiritual psychology is like a rainbow which is appeared as one but combination of many colours. Alike it, this is also combination of behaviourism, mysticism, mindfulness, idealistic, cognitive and humanistic psychology. It also includes other discipline like eastern or western philosophy.

Spiritual psychology has great effect on mental health. Spirituality may create anxiety in human mind. That kind of person needs proper consultation. At the very first step this kind of personality can have confusion regarding the situation. They need proper guidance and consultation. May be ideologies can be different but motivation should have same. Doing proper inquiry is the basic term of proving professional therapy. These kinds of issues are commonly connected with religious terms also. Psychologist should have an association with religious values, belief and commitments.

Spirituality key to Chinese medicine success: Study explores why Chinese medicine has stood the test of time

Are the longevity and vitality of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) due to its holistic approach? Indeed, Chinese medicine is not simply about treating illness, but rather about taking care of the whole person — body, mind, and spirit. According to an analysis of TCM's origins and development by Lin Shi from Beijing Normal University and Chenguang Zhang from Southwest Minzu University in China, traditional Chinese medicine is profoundly influenced by Chinese philosophy and religion. To date, modern science has been unable to explain the mechanisms behind TCM's effects.

The study is published online in Springer's journal Pastoral Psychology, in a special issue² dedicated to the psychology of religion in China.

The essence of TCM lies in its foundation in spirituality, religion, and philosophy, making it quite different from Western medicine and leading it to be viewed by some as magical and mysterious. Chinese medicine is an ancient discipline with a long developmental history and is very much influenced by religion and spirituality. Shi and Zhang's paper examines in detail six aspects of traditional Chinese medicine: its history; its fundamental beliefs; spirituality in traditional Chinese healing rituals; spirituality in the traditional Chinese pharmacy; spirituality in health maintenance theories; and spirituality of master doctors of traditional Chinese medicine.

This analysis shows, among other things, that the underlying premise of Chinese medicine is that the mind and body of a person are inseparable. To be in good health, a person must have good spirit and pay attention to cultivating their spirit. Chinese doctors see "people" not "diseases" and equate "curing diseases" with "curing people."

According to the authors: "Good health and longevity are what we pursue. More and more people are concerned about ways to prevent disease and strengthen their bodies, which is the emphasis of traditional Chinese medicine. It pays attention to physical pains, and at the same time is also concerned with spiritual suffering. Therefore, TCM can teach people to be indifferent towards having or not having, to exist with few desires and feel at ease, to keep the body healthy and the mind quiet, and to achieve harmony between the body and the mind and then to achieve harmony with the world and nature."

The special October/December 2012 issue of Pastoral Psychology, guest-edited by Al Dueck from Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology, Pasadena, CA, and Buxin Han from the Institute of Psychology, Beijing, brings together psychologists from China and the United States for an exploration of the psychology of religion. It discusses a wide range of topics on the psychology of religion in China including historical perspectives; religious traditions; religion, healing, and health; and spirituality and human development. This extensive special issue is a testament to the recent emergence and growth of psychology of religion as an academic field in China and to the growing dialogue between Chinese and Western academics and researchers in this field.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lin Shi, Chenguang Zhang. Spirituality in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Pastoral Psychology, 2012; 61 (5-6): 959 DOI: 10.1007/s11089-012-0480-x

Cancer diagnosis does not make young people religious, research suggests

 A sociologist of religion from the University of Copenhagen has interviewed 21 young patients diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer about their religious beliefs. She concludes that a cancer diagnosis will not make young people, who are not religious already, turn to religion. But it can confirm already existing beliefs.

"My research shows that young cancer patients' views on existential issues show consistency before and after the diagnosis: Their faith and their religious practices remain the same. However, the beliefs they already had can be confirmed and strengthened — this applies both to religion and science — so the patients may feel more strongly for the beliefs they had before they were diagnosed," explains sociologist of religion Nadja Ausker from the University of Copenhagen.

It has been a theoretical staple of sociology of religion that major religious conversions are preceded by personal crises; a person's feelings toward religion are significantly altered when confronted with an existential crisis such as a cancer diagnosis.

But Nadja Ausker challenges this theory with her thesis "Time for a change? Negotiations of religious continuity, change, and consumption among Danish cancer patients." In the thesis, she interviews 21 young cancer patients about the religious consequences of life crises, both shortly after the diagnosis and during treatment.

No hypocrisy

Nadja Ausker explains that a cancer diagnosis does not make young people lose their religion, just as atheists do not become religious:

"The cancer patients do contemplate existential issues, but that does not mean that they suddenly start praying or going to church if these religious practices were not already part of their lives. Several patients said it would be hypocritical of them to change practice and faith because of the diagnosis."

What the patients who already are religious find important, according to Nadja Ausker, is the availability of religious goods to choose from and consume as needed — just as one takes a pill or other medication. The patients become "consumers" of religious goods, and they pick the goods for immediate consumption, e.g. prayer or attending a church.

The patients therefore consume religious practices, and not new religious beliefs, during their illness. But their post-diagnosis practices are still consistent with their pre-diagnosis practices.

About the study

Nadja Ausker's PhD thesis is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and the largest Danish hospital, Rigshospitalet. It is based on 40 interviews with 21 cancer patients under the age of 40 diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma. The interviews were conducted 1-6 months and 12-18 after the diagnosis.

Compassion meditation may boost neural basis of empathy, study finds

A compassion-based meditation program can significantly improve a person's ability to read the facial expressions of others, finds a study published by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. This boost in empathic accuracy was detected through both behavioral testing of the study participants and through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of their brain activity.

"It's an intriguing result, suggesting that a behavioral intervention could enhance a key aspect of empathy," says lead author Jennifer Mascaro, a post-doctoral fellow in anthropology at Emory University. "Previous research has shown that both children and adults who are better at reading the emotional expressions of others have better relationships."

The meditation protocol, known as Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, or CBCT, was developed at Emory by study co-author Lobsang Tenzin Negi, director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership. Although derived from ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices, the CBCT program is secular in content and presentation.

The research team also included senior author Charles Raison, formerly a psychiatrist at Emory's School of Medicine and currently at the University of Arizona, and Emory anthropologist James Rilling.

When most people think of meditation, they think of a style known as "mindfulness," in which practitioners seek to improve their ability to concentrate and to be non-judgmentally aware of their thoughts and feelings. While CBCT includes these mindfulness elements, the practice focuses more specifically on training people to analyze and reinterpret their relationships with others.

"The idea is that the feelings we have about people can be trained in optimal ways," Negi explains. "CBCT aims to condition one's mind to recognize how we are all inter-dependent, and that everybody desires to be happy and free from suffering at a deep level."

Study participants were healthy adults without prior meditation experience. Thirteen participants randomized to CBCT meditation completed regular weekly training sessions and at-home practice for eight weeks. Eight randomized control subjects did not meditate, but instead completed health discussion classes that covered mind-body subjects like the effects of exercise and stress on well-being.

To test empathic accuracy before and following CBCT, all participants received fMRI brain scans while completing a modified version of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET). The RMET consists of black-and-white photographs that show just the eye region of people making various expressions. Those being tested must judge what the person in the photograph is thinking or feeling.

Eight out of the 13 participants in the CBCT meditation group improved their RMET scores by an average of 4.6 percent, while the control participants showed no increase, and in the majority of cases, a decrease in correct answers for the RMET.

The meditators, in comparison to those in the control group, also had significant increases in neural activity in areas of the brain important for empathy, including the inferior frontal gyrus and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. These changes in brain activity accounted for changes in the empathic accuracy scores of the participants.

"These findings raise the intriguing possibility that CBCT may have enhanced empathic abilities by increasing activity in parts of the brain that are of central importance for our ability to recognize the emotional states of others," Raison says. "An important next step will be to evaluate the effects of CBCT on diverse populations that may particularly benefit from enhanced empathic accuracy, such as those suffering from high-functioning autism or severe depression."

Findings from the current study add to a growing database indicating that the CBCT style of meditation may have physical and emotional effects relevant to health and well-being. For example, previous research at Emory found that practicing CBCT reduced emotional distress and enhanced physical resilience in response to stress in both healthy young adults and in high-risk adolescents in foster care.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. S. Mascaro, J. K. Rilling, L. Tenzin Negi, C. L. Raison. Compassion meditation enhances empathic accuracy and related neural activity. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/scan/nss095

Religious affiliation and residence in Muslim-majority nations influence sexual behavior, study finds

 Hindus and Muslims are less likely than Christians and Jews to have premarital sex, and Muslims are the least likely among people of these religious groups to have extramarital sex, according to a new study that analyzed data on premarital and extramarital sexual behaviors in over 30 developing countries around the world.

Co-authored by Amy Adamczyk, an Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Brittany Hayes, a Ph.D. student in John Jay's Criminal Justice program, the study, "Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage," appears in the October issue of the American Sociological Review.

According to the researchers, Muslims' lower likelihood of premarital and extramarital sex is related to their commitment to, and community support for, strict religious tenants that only permit sex within marriage. Adamczyk and Hayes also found that national Islamic cultures influence the sexual behaviors of all residents, even people who do not identify themselves as Muslim. The authors posit that religion tends to have a more powerful effect than restrictions on women's movement in many Muslim countries.

"One of the most surprising findings was that religious affiliations have a real influence on people's sexual behaviors," said Adamczyk. "Specifically, Muslim and Hindus are significantly less likely to report having had premarital sex than Christians and Jews. One of the novelties of our study is our analysis of behaviors, rather than attitudes. While a lot of research attention has been given to understanding differences between the major world religions in adherents' attitudes, much less attention has been given to understanding differences based on behaviors."

The study was inspired by Adamczyk's earlier work where she observed the differences in HIV/AIDS infection rates between Christian- and Muslim-majority nations in which residents in Muslim-majority nations had lower infection rates than residents of Christian nations. Adamczyk and Hayes speculate that differences in sexual behaviors may help explain why people in Muslim-majority nations tend to have lower prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS than residents of other countries.

Adamczyk received her B.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York, and her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Her interests focus on religion, deviance and crime, and health. Her research has been supported with grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Hayes is currently working on a project focusing on how contextual factors influence victim-offender relationships in ideologically and non-ideologically motivated homicides.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Adamczyk, B. E. Hayes. Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage. American Sociological Review, 2012; 77 (5): 723 DOI: 10.1177/0003122412458672

The more we know about celebrities, the less we like them

Clint Eastwood's famous interview with an invisible President Obama seated in an empty chair at the Republican National Convention may have done more than elicit a round of late-night television jokes. Celebrities who publicly support political candidates may want to think twice about doing so, according to a University of New Hampshire researcher who has found that those who are most vocal about political, religious, and social causes may pay with decreased popularity and a hit to their wallets.

In fact, the more the public knows about celebrities' personal views, the less we like them, according to Bruce Pfeiffer, assistant professor of marketing at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics.

"The willingness of celebrities to take on controversial issues out of a sense of social responsibility is admirable. However, informing the public about themselves and their positions on political, religious, and social issues may diminish not only their popularity, but their endorsement appearances and sales at the box office," Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer has conducted extensive research about how people react to celebrities once they know their personal viewpoints. For example, he found that when people learned about the personal and religious opinions of two well-known actors with opposite views — Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson — they liked them less.

Liberals and conservatives had similar opinions about Hanks and Gibson prior to learning about the actors' beliefs. However, "when descriptions of the practices and attitudes of the celebrities were provided, liberals and conservatives diverged in their evaluations of the actors, particularly Gibson," Pfeiffer said.

In addition, certain groups differed in how they perceived celebrities once they had more information about their views. In the experiment with Hanks and Gibson, liberals and women tended to rate Gibson less favorably with more information. Similarly, likability ratings among conservatives and men dropped as they learned more about Hanks' views.

Pfeiffer also has investigated the impact of educating people about just how little they know about celebrities' personal beliefs, attitudes, and opinions. Once this lack of knowledge is make clear, people tend to think less favorably of the celebrities and consider them less credible as spokespeople.

"The findings reveal one of the important foundations underlying the adoration of celebrities: ignorance," Pfeiffer said. "Unless celebrities harbor mainstream attitudes that have widespread appeal, they are probably better off financially keeping their opinions and practices private."

People merge supernatural and scientific beliefs when reasoning with the unknown, study shows

Reliance on supernatural explanations for major life events, such as death and illness, often increases rather than declines with age, according to a new psychology study. (Credit: © Nikki Zalewski / Fotolia)

Reliance on supernatural explanations for major life events, such as death and illness, often increases rather than declines with age, according to a new psychology study from The University of Texas at Austin.

The study, published in the June issue of Child Development, offers new insight into developmental learning.

"As children assimilate cultural concepts into their intuitive belief systems — from God to atoms to evolution — they engage in coexistence thinking," said Cristine Legare, assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study. "When they merge supernatural and scientific explanations, they integrate them in a variety of predictable and universal ways."

Legare and her colleagues reviewed more than 30 studies on how people (ages 5-75) from various countries reason with three major existential questions: the origin of life, illness and death. They also conducted a study with 366 respondents in South Africa, where biomedical and traditional healing practices are both widely available.

As part of the study, Legare presented the respondents with a variety of stories about people who had AIDS. They were then asked to endorse or reject several biological and supernatural explanations for why the characters in the stories contracted the virus.

According to the findings, participants of all age groups agreed with biological explanations for at least one event. Yet supernatural explanations such as witchcraft were also frequently supported among children (ages 5 and up) and universally among adults.

Among the adult participants, only 26 percent believed the illness could be caused by either biology or witchcraft. And 38 percent split biological and scientific explanations into one theory. For example: "Witchcraft, which is mixed with evil spirits, and unprotected sex caused AIDS." However, 57 percent combined both witchcraft and biological explanations. For example: "A witch can put an HIV-infected person in your path."

Legare said the findings contradict the common assumption that supernatural beliefs dissipate with age and knowledge.

"The findings show supernatural explanations for topics of core concern to humans are pervasive across cultures," Legare said. "If anything, in both industrialized and developing countries, supernatural explanations are frequently endorsed more often among adults than younger children."

The results provide evidence that reasoning about supernatural phenomena is a fundamental and enduring aspect of human thinking, Legare said.

"The standard assumption that scientific and religious explanations compete should be re-evaluated in light of substantial psychological evidence," Legare said. "The data, which spans diverse cultural contexts across the lifespan, shows supernatural reasoning is not necessarily replaced with scientific explanations following gains in knowledge, education or technology."

 

Journal Reference:

  1. Cristine H. Legare, E. Margaret Evans, Karl S. Rosengren, Paul L. Harris. The Coexistence of Natural and Supernatural Explanations Across Cultures and Development. Child Development, 2012; 83 (3): 779 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01743.x

God as a drug: The rise of American megachurches

American megachurches use stagecraft, sensory pageantry, charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity to provide their congregants with a powerful emotional religious experience, according to research from the University of Washington.

"Membership in megachurches is one of the leading ways American Christians worship these days, so, therefore, these churches should be understood," said James Wellman, associate professor of American religion at the University of Washington. "Our study shows that — contrary to public opinion that tends to pass off the megachurch movement as consumerist religion — megachurches are doing a pretty effective job for their members. In fact, megachurch members speak eloquently of their spiritual growth."

Wellman and co-authors Katie E. Corcoran and Kate Stockly-Meyerdirk, University of Washington graduate students in sociology and comparative religion respectively, studied 2008 data provided by the Leadership Network on 12 nationally representative American megachurches.

Corcoran presented their paper, titled "'God is Like a Drug': Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches," at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Megachurches, or churches with 2,000 or more congregants, have grown in number, size, and popularity in recent years, coming to virtually dominate the American religious landscape. More than half of all American churchgoers now attend the largest 10 percent of churches.

Megachurch services feature a come-as-you-are atmosphere, rock music, and what Wellman calls a "multisensory mélange" of visuals and other elements to stimulate the senses, as well as small-group participation and a shared focus on the message from a charismatic pastor.

The researchers hypothesized that such rituals are successful in imparting emotional energy in the megachurch setting — "creating membership feelings and symbols charged with emotional significance, and a heightened sense of spirituality," they wrote.

As part of their study, Wellman, Corcoran, and Stockly-Meyerdirk analyzed 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys on megachurch members' emotional experiences with their churches. Four themes emerged: salvation/spirituality, acceptance/belonging, admiration for and guidance from the leader, and morality and purpose through service.

The researchers found that feelings of joy felt in the services far exceed the powerful but fleeting "conversion experiences" for which megachurches are often stereotyped.

Many participants used the word "contagious" to describe the feeling of a megachurch service where members arrive hungry for emotional experiences and leave energized. One church member said, "(T)he Holy Spirit goes through the crowd like a football team doing the wave. … Never seen it in any other church."

Wellman said, "That's what you see when you go into megachurches — you see smiling people; people who are dancing in the aisles, and, in one San Diego megachurch, an interracial mix I've never seen anywhere in my time doing research on American churches. We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That's why we say it's like a drug."

Wellman calls it a "good drug" because the message provides a conventional moral standard, such as being a decent person, taking care of family, and forgiving enemies and yourself. Megachurches also encourage their members, such as by saying, "Things can get better, you can be happy," he added.

This comforting message also is a key to megachurches' success, Wellman said. "How are you going to dominate the market? You give them a generic form of Christianity that's upbeat, exciting, and uplifting."

The researchers also found that the large size of megachurch congregations is a benefit rather than a drawback, as it results in resources for state-of-the-art technology — amplifying the emotional intensity of services — and the ability to hire more qualified church leadership.

Wellman said, "This isn't just same-old, same-old. This is not like evangelical revivalism. It's a new, hybrid form of Christianity that's mutating and separate from all the traditional institutions with which we usually affiliate Christianity."

Megachurches, which rarely refer to heaven or hell, are worlds away from the sober, judgmental puritan meetinghouses of long ago, Wellman said.

Wellman will continue studying the topic of the new American Christianity with a book-length profile of Michigan-based pastor and author Rob Bell due out in late fall, and a book in 2013 titled "High on God: How the Megachurch Conquered America."

A grant from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion funded the project.

Medieval clerics resisted celibacy, historians say

— Medieval clerics did not relish the prospect of giving up sex when the Papacy tried to introduce the principle of celibacy. Resistance was widespread, it was revealed at an academic conference at the University of Huddersfield where two historians are playing a key role in developing the burgeoning study area of medieval masculinity.

Dr Pat Cullum an Dr Katherine Lewis organised the conference, entitled 'Religious Men in the Middle Ages'. It was attended by 50 delegates from 14 countries.

Now Dr Cullum and Dr Lewis — in tandem with Dr Philippa Hoskin and Dr Joanna Huntington of the University of Lincoln — have announced the formation of a network named 'The Bishop's Eye'.

Dr Lewis explained: "This network will foster new research into the lives, experiences and representation of medieval religious men, both those following a professional vocation — bishops, monks and priests for example — and laymen.

"We've taken its name from a famous stained glass window in Lincoln Cathedral. We hope to bring together scholars working across the medieval period in a variety of fields, and employing a range of conceptual approaches."

It is intended that biennial conferences on the lives of medieval men will be organised under the aegis of The Bishop's Eye, and there will be publication of the proceedings. Also, it is hoped to attract new scholars into the field. The University of Huddersfield has announced that it will offer two full fee-waiver PhD scholarships to suitable candidates.

It was 12 years ago that Dr Cullum and Dr Lewis helped to foster the subject of medieval masculinity as a field of research, when they organised a conference on holiness and masculinity in the Middle Ages.

"Katherine and I thought that after more than ten years it was a good time to revisit the field and see how things are developing," said Dr Cullum.

The latest University of Huddersfield conference covered a period of a thousand years — from the 6th to the 16th centuries — and a wide range of religious cultures.

Celibacy for the clergy was one of the key topics. It was in the 10th century that Papacy and church began to argue that priests should be celibate, although it was some 200 years before the idea was widely accepted.

"There were a number of justifications, for example that a priest should imitate Christ, who was celibate, and there was an argument that priests who were handling the sacraments had to be unpolluted by sexual activity," explained Dr Cullum.

"There was also a practical argument that the church wanted to retain control of its property and if priests wanted to marry and have children they were always going to be tempted to give church property to their families."

One of the themes that emerged at the University of Huddersfield conference was that there considerably more resistance to clerical celibacy than previously thought, said Dr Cullum.

Eagle Scouts have positive, lasting influence on American society, study suggests

One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned the first Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, researchers with Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) and Program on Prosocial Behavior have released findings from a U.S. nationwide, scientific survey that demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day.

"There is no shortage of examples or anecdotal accounts that suggest Scouting produces better citizens, but now there is scientific evidence to confirm the prosocial benefits of Scouting or earning the rank of Eagle Scout," said the study's principal investigator, Byron R. Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences, director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior and ISR co-director. "The central question of this study was to determine if achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is associated with prosocial behavior and development of character that carries over into young adulthood and beyond."

With funding from a major two-year research grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Baylor researchers with ISR's Program on Prosocial Behavior partnered with the Gallup Organization to conduct a nationwide random survey of 2,512 adult males.

Sung Joon Jang, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, Baylor ISR Faculty Fellow and co-principal investigator, said analyses were conducted to see whether three groups of survey respondents — Eagle Scouts, Scouts who did not achieve the Eagle Scout rank, and non-Scouts — differed in responses to a series of survey questions related to the following topics:

  • Well-being (survey questions dedicated to recreational activities, emotional well-being, relational well-being and physical well-being)
  • Civic engagement (survey items focusing on membership in formal and informal groups, community donations, community volunteering, community problem-solving, environmental stewardship, political participation and civic leadership)
  • Character development (survey statements asking about commitment to learning, goal orientation, planning/preparedness, self-efficacy, activities with neighbors, accountability, moral attitudes, openness to diversity, civic attitudes and spirituality)

The Baylor study found that Eagle Scouts — compared to Scouts who never attained the rank of Eagle Scout and men who were never Scouts — were significantly more likely to:

  • Exhibit higher levels of participation in a variety of health and recreational activities, such as regular exercise, outdoor recreation, attending plays and live theater, reading books, playing a musical instrument and visiting a local, state or national park,
  • Show a greater connection to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, coworkers, formal and informal groups and a spiritual presence in nature,
  • Share a greater belief in duty to God, service to others, service to the community and leadership, such as donating money within the last month to a religious or non-religious organization or charity, reporting volunteer time with a religious or non-religious organizations, working with neighbors to address a problem or improve something, voting in the last presidential election and holding leadership positions at a workplace or local community),
  • Engage in behaviors that are designed to enhance and protect the environment, such as being active in a group that works to protect the environment, avoiding the use of certain products that harm the environment and using less water in their households,
  • Be committed to setting and achieving personal, professional, spiritual and financial goals
  • Show higher levels of planning and preparedness, such as having a disaster supply kit in their home and emergency supplies in their car, designating a specific meeting place for family during an emergency and being CPR certified and
  • Indicate that they have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance and respect for diversity, such as always exceeding people's expectations and doing what is right, working hard to get ahead, treating people of other religions with respect, strongly agreeing that most religions make a positive contribution to society, stating that respecting religious leaders outside of their religions is somewhat important and showing respect to the American flag