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Baylor researcher: Want to be more concerned about poverty, ecology, human rights?

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What daily practice may help American Christians become more concerned about issues of poverty, conservation and civil liberties?

Reading the Bible, according to the news website Black Christian News.

The answer may come as a surprise to those locked into viewing religious practices in ideological boxes. However, a new study by Baylor University researcher Aaron Franzen found frequent Bible reading predicted greater support for issues ranging from the compatibility of science and religion to more humane treatment of criminals.

 The study, one of the first to examine the social consequences of reading Scripture, reveals the effects of Bible reading appear to transcend conservative-liberal boundaries.

Thus, even as opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion tends to increase with more time spent with the Bible, so does the number of people who say it is important to actively seek social and economic justice, Franzen found.It was not just liberal Christians who found their attitudes changing.

In many cases, even those who believe the Bible is literally true but rarely read the book found themselves at odds with their evangelical sisters and brothers who regularly read the holy text.

“Usually, the literalists tend to read the most frequently, but increased reading over time would moderate their conservatism,” Franzen said the study indicated.

Franzen speculates the reason so little research has been done on the effects of reading Scripture may be because “the ubiquity of references to the Bible promotes the idea that we all know what it says and, consequently, reading it is simply a habitual and ultimately meaningless activity.

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