The Road to Resolutions

It's reportedly paved with high religiosity, say two Florida psychologists.

Christianity Today readers, or those like them, may have more success keeping those quick-to-fade (and out of vogue?) New Year's resolutions than secular or "spiritual but not religious" peers. That's the conclusion of John Tierney's recent New York Times piece about the high correlation between personal religiosity and self-control.

Michael McCullough and Brian Willoughby are two psychologists at the University of Miami interested in religion professionally but who "personally . . . don't get down on the field much," quips McCullough. They just published the results of their 8-year study testing the hypothesis that religion gives people internal strength in Psychological Bulletin. McCullough and Willoughby concluded that the "controls" of religious belief typically used to explain religious folk's emphasis on morality - guilt, fear of punishment, exclusion from a worshiping community - do not fully account for their ability to resist temptation.

"Brain-scan studies have shown that when ...

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