Religion and Depression, Hallmark Channel’s LGBT Shift, and Being Religious or Spiritual (02.25.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

After missing last week, the podcast is back and we have three new stories to discuss. The first discusses the complex connection between religion and mental health. Then we talk about the shifting values in what has traditionally been seen as “wholesome, family-friendly” entertainment. We end with a conversation about how people view themselves as being religious and/or spiritual.

STORY #1 – Attending Religious Services and Ward Off Depression

“Religion has been a source of comfort and support among believers for a long, long time. It’s often said that faith provides something to fall back on when everything else in life fails us. Now, a new study has investigated the complex relationship between religious experiences and mental health. Researchers from Westmont University find attending religious services helps attendees avoid or stave off depression. Unfortunately, not all of the project’s findings follow this pattern. […] ‘But what if the religious environment or beliefs themselves are the source of depressive symptoms?’ [study author Blake Victor Kent] asks. Researchers define ‘experience-driven religious environments’ as churches and other religious communities that normalize divine interactions and even tell parishioners to expect such experiences. ‘Those who struggle to establish an emotional connection to God may be constantly disappointed even though they work hard to hear from God and feel led by God. They may wonder whether God has abandoned them and why they’re not experiencing God the way everyone else seems to,’ Kent explains.” (Study Finds)

Related material:

STORY #2 – Hallmark Channel Promises More LGBT Characters and Storylines

“Hallmark Channel, once known for its sentimental and family-friendly movies, has announced it is making it a “big priority” in the coming year to increase the number of LGBT characters and plotlines it features in its films. […] Michelle Vicary, a Hallmark Channel executive, said the network is making it a “big priority” in 2021 to continue its progress in pushing LGBT themes.” (Disrn)

Related material:

STORY #3 – Most Americans Embrace Religion, Spirituality

“The multiyear research project from the Fetzer Institute on spirituality in America found 9 in 10 U.S. adults (89%) consider themselves spiritual, religious, or both. Most (70%) say they are both religious and spiritual. Around 1 in 6 say they are spiritual, but not religious (16%). Close to 1 in 10 (11%) say they are neither. Few (3%) say they are only religious.” (Lifeway Research)

Related material:

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Social Issues (Part 4): Gender Roles

Social Issues

Gender roles are about the responsibilities that men have as men and women have as women. Most instructions in the Bible are not specific to gender – they apply to all people. But there are some that specifically apply to either men or women.

Many argue that there are no specific gender roles. They claim that there should be no difference between what a man can do and what a woman can do. On the extreme of this issue is the “feminist ideology.” In addition to confusing/changing gender roles, feminist ideology also embraces abortion, lesbianism, and hostility toward males (to include the assumption of guilt every time a man is accused by a woman of sexual assault).Continue Reading

Social Issues (Part 2): Homosexuality

Social Issues

Homosexuality is a compound word that refers to the sexual relations between two people of the same sex (the Greek homo means same). This is in contrast with heterosexuality which involves two people of the opposite sex (the Greek hetero means other or different).

Those who argue in favor of homosexuality will often argue from the standpoint that those in these relationships “love” one another and since it is based upon love their behavior is not to be questioned; instead, it should be celebrated. Many who defend homosexuality claim that homosexuals are “born that way”; therefore, we cannot judge them. However, while the “born that way” argument is common, it is not as popular as it used to be. Why? First, it is simply not true. Second, it is too limiting. The argument was used initially to get more people to accept homosexuality. After it is more widely accepted, the argument can be dropped to get more people to experiment with homosexuality.Continue Reading

Turning Blessings into Curses

Honey

Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it” (Proverbs 25:16).

In the Bible, honey is often used to symbolize God’s great blessings for man. When God told Moses of His plan to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and to the promised land of Canaan, He emphasized the goodness of the land by describing it as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Yet as the wise man pointed out in the verse above, that same blessing can be turned into something with a negative impact on us.

It is possible to take the good things with which God blesses us and turn them into something bad for us. This can be done by misuse, abuse, or excess. In this article, I would like to notice a few examples of how this can be done with certain blessings.Continue Reading

Homosexuality (Season 13, Episode 3)

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Homosexuality (Season 13, Episode 3)

In this season, we’re discussing social issues – problems that are facing our society and what the Bible has to say about these issues.

Homosexuality is a compound word that refers to the sexual relations between two people of the same sex (the Greek homo means same). This is in contrast with heterosexuality which involves two people of the opposite sex (the Greek hetero means other or different).

Those who argue in favor of homosexuality will often argue from the standpoint that those in these relationships “love” one another and since it is based upon love their behavior is not to be questioned; instead, it should be celebrated. Many who defend homosexuality claim that homosexuals are “born that way”; therefore, we cannot judge them (however, while this argument is common, it is not as popular as it used to be).

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Good Things to Do When You’re Young

Young People

The wise man noted, “Childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10). One does not need to possess the wisdom of Solomon to see this. The fleeting nature of youth becomes more apparent with age, yet it is often not appreciated by those who are young.

At every stage of life, it is important to make the most of our time (Ephesians 5:16). How can one do this in youth?

Depending on who you ask, you will receive different answers to that question – pursue an education, build friendships, etc. What does the Bible say? Let us notice six things that the Bible says are good to do in one’s youth.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations (Part 2): Hardships

Through Many Tribulations

When Paul explained God’s choice of Jacob over his brother, he quoted from the prophet Malachi: “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” (Romans 9:13; cf. Malachi 1:2-3). Jacob was chosen for prominence over his brother and for the blessings that came from being part of God’s promise (Romans 9:6-12). The Lord appeared to Jacob and said to him, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:13-15).

However, despite the fact that God chose Jacob and promised to bless him, he faced great hardships throughout his life. When he stood before Pharaoh, he said, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life” (Genesis 47:9). Notice some of the hardships that Jacob experienced:Continue Reading