Subject Human Sciences

Intergenerational Inspiration Marks 10th Year of The Purpose Prize

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Innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and future-mindedness—these are the qualities that Purpose Prize winners over the past decade have demonstrated, and this year’s six Purpose Prize recipients continue this trend. Announced on November 13, the winners’ innovative projects include intergenerational music camps and advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities. The awards for these social entrepreneurs over the age of 60 will be presented by Encore.org, with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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The Virtuous Spiral of Giving and Gratitude

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When Sir John Templeton set out to fulfill his philanthropic vision, he opened the door not only to the science behind giving and gratitude as distinct virtues, but also to the cyclic relationship between the two. “Thanksgiving leads to giving, and to spiritual growth,” he pointedly wrote. This innate connection is examined in a new book, The Giving Way to Happiness, a collection of stories and reflections on giving and gratitude alongside the growing body of science—much of which has been the result of funding from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Groundbreaking Research Illuminating How We Think About God

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The impact of religious beliefs has been widely investigated by social scientists, and that science continues to develop. For example, there’s evidence that belief in God offered the evolutionary advantages of nurturing prosocial behavior and bonding across large groups. However, the psychological nature of religious belief itself has been relatively under-investigated. That is now changing with the work being undertaken by researchers as part of “Gods in Minds: The Science of Religious Cognition,” an initiative funded by grants totaling more than $3,000,000 from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Discovering the Skill of Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is a seminal religious virtue, but can it be scientifically justified as well? This question is asked by award-winning author Megan Feldman Bettencourt in her new book, Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World. Drawing on innovative research and stories from both individuals and entire communities, Bettencourt concludes that, when observed appropriately, forgiveness can save lives and maybe lead to a better world.

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Life After Death? Exploring Immortality

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Research from The Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside, was outlined to the public during the project’s capstone conference, which was held in downtown Riverside from May 28-May 30. The investigations, supported by a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, have focused on near-death experiences, the nature of heaven, explaining the aging process, and other related topics.

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Raising the Spiritual Child

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An active spirituality has health benefits for all, and for children in particular, according to a new book, The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving. The links are clear, explains author Lisa Miller, director of clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University: young people with a flourishing sense of spirituality are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances and 60% less likely to be depressed.

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Research Projects Key Changes in Global Religion by 2050

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By 2050, for the first time in history, the number of Muslims around the world is projected to nearly equal the number of Christians. Over the same period, the number of atheists, agnostics, and other people who do not affiliate with any religion—though increasing in countries such as the United States and France—will make up a declining share of the world’s total population. These are two of the key findings in a major new report, The Future of Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050, from the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center.

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Exemplars of Love Studied in L’Arche Communities

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L’Arche communities, founded by the 2015 Templeton Prize Laureate Jean Vanier, have become the focus of a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation to study exemplars of the virtues of care and compassion. “Love, Compassion, and Care: Virtue Science and Exemplarity in Real Life and in the Laboratory” is a joint project between The Travis Research Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

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A Science of Spirituality for the 21st Century

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A new report from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) in London, titled “Spiritualize: revitalizing spirituality to address 21st century challenges,” gathers together the research of an extensive two-year project, “Spirituality, Tools of the Mind, and the Social Brain,” funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Young People Discover the Laws of Life

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What are the rules, ideals, and principles that can guide us through a full and joyous life? Over 25 years ago, Sir John Templeton launched the Laws of Life essay contest to encourage young people to reflect on their purpose. Writing from the Heart, published in 2001, captures many of these extraordinary essays in an inspiring compilation that details what young people have learned about life. Today, the competition continues to spark thousands of students to put pen to paper and describe their experiences, their hopes, and their insights.

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