Arts & Culture & Public Square

Four for Fall: Great Reads for October

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As we watch the leaves change and fall, it’s a natural time to reflect on the fruits of our labor and to give thanks for the freedom and flourishing we enjoy. Fall is also a time to remember those who are not as fortunate. Around the world, there are famines born of nature and of poor policy.

Today we’ve gathered a few interesting reads on the values of freedom, work, and human flourishing that we have been reading lately. We hope you can grab a hot cup of tea or coffee and a few minutes to check them out for yourself. Enjoy!

Federalism and Religious Liberty by Jordan J. Ballor

This article in WORLD Opinions explains the findings of a new project called Religious Liberty in the States (RLS), from the Center for Religion, Culture, & Democracy. The RLS is an index measuring 29 indicators of religious liberty, by state, and ranking those which are more religiously free than others. In addition, the RLS makes recommendations for how each state can move toward greater religious liberty.

Read the full article here.

Note: Dr. Sarah Estelle, program manager for the Religious Freedom in the States project, summarized their findings in a recent IFWE blog here.

Unlocking the Mystery of Your Wildest Problems by Dan Hugger

Our friends at the Acton Institute recently reviewed Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us, by Russ Roberts, host of the EconTalk podcast. “Wild problems” are big choices we make that define and change who we are, like getting married or having a child. Roberts calls us back to the old, tried, and true ways of making good choices: looking to our values and to human flourishing as our guides.

Read more here.

When Your Job Fills In for Your Faith, That’s a Problem by Carolyn Chen

Carolyn Chen, a sociologist of religion, interviewed over 100 people, many of whom worked in Silicon Valley and considered their tech jobs “spiritual journeys.” She argues that the “theocracy of work,” or the replacement of religion and civic associations with work, are weakening our culture and democracy. We obviously value work at IFWE, but we, like Chen, celebrate a balance that puts work in its proper place.

Explore Chen’s piece in The New York Times here.

Why Are Liberals Less Happy Than Conservatives by W. Bradford Wilcox

AEI unpacks the results of the recent 2022 American Family Survey, which uncovered a 15% gap between the “complete satisfaction” of self-identifying liberals and conservatives. As it turns out, marital status and family satisfaction are a large part of what makes life fulfilling, and conservatives are more likely to lean into the family-first values that are rewarding not only for individuals but also for our society.

Read more here.

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