• Graduate thesis suggests regular Bible reading may increase support for social justice, openness to science

    Bible readingI’ve often thought of a master’s thesis as just one more (really big) homework assignment that, once completed, sits on the shelf forever. But as Baylor students often prove, that doesn’t have to be the case.

    The latest example comes from Aaron Franzen, a doctoral candidate in sociology. After earning his BA in sociology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and his MA in historical theology from Concordia Seminary, Franzen came to Baylor where he completed his master’s in sociology last May. For his master’s thesis, Franzen used data from the Baylor Religion Survey to examine how reading the Bible can affect one’s views on issues of morality, criminal justice and the interaction between science and religion.

    Specifically, he found that frequent Bible reading can transcend the usual conservative/liberal stereotypes. For instance, while opposition to same-sex marriage and legalized abortion seems to track with increased Bible reading, so too does interest in social and economic justice, acceptance of the compatibility of religion and science, and support for the humane treatment of criminals.

    Surprisingly, this seems to be an area of research that few have ever studied in depth. Franzen’s work has been a subject of interest in such outlets as Christianity Today, the Huffington Post, Glenn Beck’s radio show and WBAP-AM in Dallas.

    Sic ’em, Aaron!