The heart of religion is God’s love in dynamic interaction with human response
reaction |rēˈakSHən|noun-an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation
interaction |ˌintərˈakSHən|noun-reciprocal action or influence: ongoing
National survey results describe the connection between experiencing God’s love and serving others.
What is the true heart of religion? If you could boil down all the precepts, spiritual laws, and values of religion today into a tasty, take-home nugget, what would you find? What would religion lived out in daily life actually look like? Two social scientists and a theologian have done extensive research to determine that, and their results are extremely revealing.
Co-authorsMatthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen G. Post have written The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God’s Love(December 2012, Oxford University Press), which explores the effects of the experience of love in the Christian tradition in America. They offer compelling examples of how receiving God’s love, loving God, and expressing this love to others has made a difference in the world and given a deeper significance to the lives of millions of Americans.
This new book is a fascinating narrative about how Americans “wake up” to the reality of divine love through an experience with God and then attempt to express his love to others through daily benevolent acts. The authors say, “That is the heart of religion . . . . Our aim was to investigate the relationship between spiritual empowerment, benevolence, and the experience of God’s love in America.”
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