Religious belief and practice helps people prevent conflict by showing them a mutual sacred purpose and vision, leading sociologists said recently in a conference session hosted by the Heritage Foundation.
Associate Professor Dr. Jeffrey Ulmer from Pennsylvania State University examines the degree to which religiosity increases self-control. He points out that religious observance builds self-control and substance use is lower in stronger moral communities.
Dr. Ulmer argues that self-control is a cognitive resource and that it is a product of social learning. Psychologists have developed a ‘muscle’ or a ‘strength’ model of self-control, he explained at the symposium which was co-sponsored by Child Trends and The Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion. Dr. Byron Johnson from Baylor also points out that religiosity decreases drug use and pre-teen religiosity increases religious involvement.
Similarly, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Scott Desmond from Purdue University states that church attendance is important for adolescents. Those who don’t have any self-control lack care and decision-making skills.
Those who attend church frequently are less likely to use alcohol and drugs if they have self-control. Meanwhile, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Bradford Wilcox from the University of Virginia asserts that parental religiosity doesn’t foster self-control after controlling for family structure, family process, and adolescent religiosity. Young adults’ attendance to church is affected by their family’s life styles, he contends.
Dr. Marc Musick from University of Texas at Austin points out the fact that religious service attendance produces volunteering. At times, he states volunteering for religious organizations can be secular in nature and volunteering in certain ways lead to opportunities for volunteering in others.
Heyecan Veziroglu is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.