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Measuring the Fruit of the Spirit: Are Christians Really Different from Others?

Hughes, Philip J. (2018) Measuring the Fruit of the Spirit: Are Christians Really Different from Others? Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 4. pp. 29-46. ISSN 2205-0442

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Abstract

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, maintains that the Holy Spirit can produce 'fruit' such as love, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in those who are led by the Spirit. However, a survey has shown that most Australians believe that religion causes more harm than good. Can the 'fruit of the Holy Spirit' be measured in Christians, for example, in providing informal care and voluntary assistance to people apart from family members?A large national survey of a random sample of adult Australians in 2016 sought to measure the variety of ways and the number of hours per month that people spent in caring for and informally assisting people outside the family, as an example of 'the fruit of the Spirit'. Thesurvey found that church attenders more frequently affirmed helping in different ways, but that there was little difference in the hours church attenders claimed they spent in the care of and assistance to others compared with Australians who were not church attenders. The fact that many people who have no Christian involvement may offer similar levels of care and assistance to others as Christian attenders raises theological questions about whether the care offered by those with no Christian commitment can be considered 'the fruit of the Spirit'.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Fruit of the Spirit, Christians
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: Ministry Studies
College/Association with University of Divinity: Pilgrim Theological College
Depositing User: Dr Suman Kashyap
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2019 01:33
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 01:33
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3534

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