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  • Featured Articles

    Manufacturing a Consumer Culture

    Over the last century, scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations have radically changed the world, making us the greatest consumers in history. Yet we seem to be less happy and more anxious. Has our consumer culture become a curse rather than a cure?

    The Age of Vanity

    American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed the 1920s as a time of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking. That image is reminiscent not only of today’s world but of the life of wise King Solomon, who had much to say about the choices he’d made.

    9/11: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

    September 11, 2001, is 10 years behind us. But even before that fateful day, terrorism was a fact of life for much of the world. Must we accept that it will always be that way?

    Conspicuous Consumption

    More people around the world can now indulge in a pattern of consumption where outward appearances are more important than utility.

    An End to Poverty: The Will and the Means

    In searching for solutions to the malaise of grinding poverty, some hopeful, even visionary, approaches have been applied. Do such innovative approaches show the way to relieve the plight of the poorest of the poor? Will poverty ever truly be consigned to a past economic dark age?

    The Violent Heart

    Despite our best efforts toward peace, the story of humanity is in large part the story of animosity and violence. What is it about people that leads them to treat one another as adversaries? 

  • More on Society and Culture

    Manufacturing a Consumer Culture

    Over the last century, scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations have radically changed the world, making us the greatest consumers in history. Yet we seem to be less happy and more anxious. Has our consumer culture become a curse rather than a cure?

    Words of Honor

    What we post on social networks can be far more hurtful than the spoken word because it can affect so many people.

    The Age of Vanity

    American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed the 1920s as a time of self-indulgence and pleasure-seeking. That image is reminiscent not only of today’s world but of the life of wise King Solomon, who had much to say about the choices he’d made.

    Insight Video: Technological Disconnect

    Technology has made information ever more easily accessible. The question is, can we continue to process the endlessly increasing load?

    Mirror, Mirror

    In a world where we have many choices as to how we get our news, it’s worth pondering what the media we consume tell us about ourselves, and how they affect the things we come to believe and act on. 

    9/11 Timeline

    A timeline of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

    The Making of a Terrorist

    Psychologists and policymakers alike are trying to understand what makes a terrorist. And how does one stop the assembly line?

    9/11: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

    September 11, 2001, is 10 years behind us. But even before that fateful day, terrorism was a fact of life for much of the world. Must we accept that it will always be that way?

    Maria Suarez: Enslaved and Abused

    Maria Suarez was enslaved at the age of 16. Her captor, a 65- or 70-year-old man, abused her physically, emotionally and mentally every day for five years. A neighbor finally killed her captor but Maria was falsely accused of the murder and was imprisoned for more than 22 years until being pardoned by the governor or California. Vision interviewed her recently to see how she is coping with her freedom.

    Conspicuous Consumption

    More people around the world can now indulge in a pattern of consumption where outward appearances are more important than utility.

    Still Asking, 50 Years Later!

    The most widely recognized and well-remembered sentence of John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural speech was his clarion call to his fellow countrymen to think beyond the borders of personal benefit and contribute to the cause of common good.  

    Thinking Between the Lines

    Deceptions, hoaxes and urban legends abound, mainly because so many people are so easily taken in by them. Here’s how you can avoid being one of them.

    Sugarcoating Halloween

    Although Halloween did not originate in the United States, Americans spend more than six billion dollars celebrating their fastest growing holiday each year.

    Who Needs A Hero?

    The notion of the hero figure has been part of popular culture for a long time. The prevalence of this recurrent theme over the generations may indicate a deep-seated hope people have that all will turn out okay—someone will take action, come to their rescue and save them from the current peril or crisis.  

    Logic Loopholes

    Our “thought life” can be put on a better footing if we are able to resist self-deception. Knowing some of the pitfalls we are subject to can help us plan defenses against deception. Here are some ways that we human beings deceive ourselves and each other, along with a few suggested remedies. 

      

    Who Am I? The Question of Youth Violence

    Research suggests that a child who lacks a positive sense of identity is much more likely to turn violent. Gina Stepp explores five keys to help prevent youth violence. 

    The Value of Happiness

    In a 2007 poll, 58 percent of children said they would choose happiness over wealth. Unfortunately, some researchers assert that most of the obstacles children face today are linked to the fact that adults operate as though these priorities are one and the same. But are they? What does it take to make people happy? 

    Life Without Children: The New Generation Gap

    Researchers in America and Britain have recently identified several key indicators signaling that child care now occupies less of the average adult’s lifetime than in past decades. What are the social implications for the future of the family in these two Western nations?

    Barbie Turns 50

    The most popular fashion doll in history is no stranger to plastic surgery, having had several makeovers during her half-century reign over the doll world. What does the forever-young, always-in-style Barbie say about our world, about our values, about us?

    Life Without Children: The New Nurture Gap

    Researchers in America and Britain have recently identified several key indicators signaling that child care occupies less of the average adult’s lifetime. The social implications for the future of the family may be enormous.

    Addicted to Adulation: Are We Raising Praise Junkies?

    Instinctively, supportive parents seek to enhance their children’s academic success through generous amounts of encouragement. But does lavish praise from adults correlate with classroom success?

    Can Civilization Collapse?

    Can civilization collapse? It has before. It can again. But that's not the end of the story.

    Rights vs. Responsibilities

    Rights have never been so extensively defined as today. But what happens when the perceived rights of two individuals or groups clash? Is there any basis for resolution?

    Take Me Out to the Ball Game

    For many moms and dads, going out to the ball game is a welcome diversion from daily duties, a good time of wholesome family fun in hometown America.

    It Is Better to Give Than Receive—No Really!

    Have you ever wondered who gives, who doesn’t and why the difference? If so, you’ll be interested to know that Professor Brooks, has, as they say, done the math!

    An End to Poverty: The Will and the Means

    In searching for solutions to the malaise of grinding poverty, some hopeful, even visionary, approaches have been applied. Do such innovative approaches show the way to relieve the plight of the poorest of the poor? Will poverty ever truly be consigned to a past economic dark age?

    Christmas: Does It Matter?

    It’s generally acknowledged that the second-most important festival of the Christian calendar has no biblical support. Most people shrug that off as irrelevant, but is it?

    Thanks, but No Thanks?

    Very soon most Americans will take a holiday, ostensibly to give thanks. But most will likely give thanks, as they have in years gone by, by simply eating too much. Is this the legacy of the first Thanksgiving?

    The Capital I in I Do!

    In July, The National Marriage Project, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian and interdisciplinary initiative at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey released its annual report: The State of Our Unions: 2007. It suggests that the tradition of marriage is troubled today in large part because of an emerging cultural emphasis on individualism.

    Our Demographic Destiny

    The Total Fertility Rate is the average number of children born per woman over the course of her lifetime. Demographers, who study the distribution and density of human populations, declare that a TFR of 2.1 serves as a minimal replacement rate to sustain the current world population.

    Eminent Domain

    As one might suspect, the seizing of personal property is a troublesome topic that breeds conflict and confusion. The recent Kelo v. New London ruling has contributed further to the controversy, leaving many wondering: Just how private is private property?

    Relationship Education

    The report Making a Love Connection: Teen Relationships, Pregnancy, and Marriage by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Marline Pearson addresses the increasingly prolonged passage from adolescence to adulthood, a path on which young people are bombarded with unrelenting sexual messages.

    And They All Lived Technologically Ever After

    A techno-biological Renaissance is taking immortality out of the realm of philosophy and putting it squarely in the context of scientific debate. Vision examines the predictions of futurologists such as Ray Kurzweil who believe that advances in technology will allow humans to transcend their biology. Will these achievements bring us immortality or destruction?

     

    Global Microcredit Summit: Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 12-16, 2006

    The aura and commitment at the Microcredit Summit 2006 was truly exceptional, something likely to have a lasting impact.

    Global Microcredit Summit 2006

    Microcredit has taken on a new prominence since Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

    The Year of Jubilee

    The biblical Year of Jubilee

    Make Corruption History?

    Ironically, the gap between rich and poor is far greater within Africa than it is worldwide.

    Everymoney: Capitalism, Democracy & Global Wealth, Part 3

    In the conclusion of our series on the history of the world’s dominant economic system, we look at where capitalism is taking us and ask whether there is a better way.

    Up, Up and Away?

    At Vision, we believe a careful study shows that the concept of the rapture as popularly believed is not found in the Bible.

    Everymoney: Capitalism, Democracy & Global Wealth, Part 2

    Having survived the Great Depression, capitalism gained strength and traveled the world. Vision continues to follow its progress into the 21st century.

    Making Sense of the 20th Century

    In trying to make sense of the modern world, we could compare it to the most complex of tapestries. It is woven with the warp and weft of many varied fibers, each representing the impact of thought and invention—good and bad—over centuries of human history. 

    Defining Our Age

    The declining character of today's society was foreseen long ago and recorded in a place where few think to look. What are society's shortcomings, and how can we cope with them? 

    The Anatomy of a Sexual Revolution

    The Kinsey Reports played a dramatic role in revolutionizing America's attitude toward sex and sexuality. Many now admit that Kinsey's research was flawed, but few consider that this has far-reaching implications. 

    The Achilles' Heel of Capitalism

    Capitalism has always been a controversial economic system: it is selfish and unfairly favors the strong, say its critics. Others, however, argue that capitalism simply offers the potential for financial profit—even wealth—to anyone who is willing to work hard and offer reliable and necessary services or products. So how should we view this economic system that has come to dominate our world?

    The End Was Nigh

    The year 2000 has rolled over to 2001, and concerns about an impending end of the world seem to have evaporated. Is it the “end of the end”? 

    Back to 2001

    Stanley Kubrick's influential movie molded expectations about the year 2001. The reality, however, hasn't lived up to the promise. 

    The Violent Heart

    Despite our best efforts toward peace, the story of humanity is in large part the story of animosity and violence. What is it about people that leads them to treat one another as adversaries? 

    I'm Dreaming of a Right Christmas

    You've probably heard that the Western world's biggest holiday is steeped in paganism. But have you asked yourself why it matters? 

    The Matrix: Reality Check

    The premise of the popular sci-fi movie The Matrix surprisingly reflects a fundamental biblical theme. 

    The Cult of St. Elvis

    Twenty-five years after his death, Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll, is still the object of reverence and adulation. Why?

    Reality Bites

    A new genre of television programming is reminiscent of an ancient manifestation of human nature's dark side. 

    Everymoney: Capitalism, Democracy and Global Wealth, Part 1

    What is capitalism, how did it develop, and why is it so widely admired and accepted? 

    The Ring of Truth?

    The latest movie episode of The Lord of the Rings is getting rave reviews. Why has J.R.R. Tolkien's work had such lasting appeal? 

    Time to Eat

    An Italian food critic's joke has spawned a serious worldwide movement opposing fast food. 

    Daily Devotion: The Legacy of the Protestant Work Ethic

    The Western world's obsession with work has a long history. But on what is it founded? 

    George Washington Carver

    Can the life of a humble teacher of botany who lived at a much simpler time offer insight for a world caught up in the fast-paced information age? 

    Off to Work

    Book Review: Blood, Sweat and Tears: The Evolution of Work by Richard Donkin; The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work by Joanne B. Ciulla; Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work by Paula M. Rayman. 

    A 20th-Century Retrospective: Looking Back at the Age of Extremes

    The century that is now ending has been one of stark contrasts. The average life span of humans has lengthened dramatically, thanks in large part to scientific advances. Technological achievement has increasesd exponentially, bringing vast improvements in the lives of most people. Yet the deadliest and most destructive wars and the most horrific crimes—even genocide—have taken place during the same period. How did such a dichotomy develop? 

    Interrupted Dreams

    When the issue of racial desegregation came to a head in the United States in 1963, the nation found itself at a moral crossroads. Two men stepped forward and pointed people toward the high road and the historic March on Washington became a shining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. But will we ever see the final act in the drama of freedom from oppression? 

    Our Appetite for Aggression

    You are what you eat. The proverb is not just about our diets; it's also true of what we put into our minds. A quick look at the latest movie guide, television listing or video-game store offers ample evidence that children are at serious risk of being malnourished or even poisoned in this regard.

    Wisdom: The Pauses Between the Notes

    Wisdom seems to be an increasingly rare commodity. Why, and what can we do to develop it? 

    Set in Celluloid

    Is the rebellious Ariel merely a reflection of modern teen culture? Or did she become a role model through aggressive cross-marketing and thereby contribute to changes in what society perceives as acceptable behavior?

    The Moral of the Story

    Fairy tales have clearly evolved over the centuries. And the changing tales say a lot about the changing times.

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