Thursday's News & Ideas

  • Irish religiosity plummets
  • Influential evangelist
  • Saving strangers
  • Less is more
  • Flourishing families
  • Gold medals for art

Republic of Ireland abandoning religion faster than almost every other country Belfast Telegraph: An overwhelming 69 percent of Irish people declared themselves to be "a religious person" in the last survey conducted in 2005, but this has now plummeted to 47 percent, a massive global survey on faith reveals. Huffington Post: Religiosity plummets in Ireland and declines worldwide; atheism on the rise

The most influential evangelist you've never heard David Barton is not a historian. He has a bachelor's degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University and runs a company called WallBuilders in Aledo, Texas. But his vision of a religion-infused America is wildly popular with churches, schools and the GOP, and that makes him a power.

Documentary seeks to explain why Albanians saved Jews in Holocaust CNN: How many people would lay down their lives for a stranger? It’s the question at the center of the new documentary “Besa: The Promise.” The filmmakers’ answer: “Albanians would.” During one of humanity’s darkest chapters, many Albanians put up a fight to save complete strangers.

The disciplined pursuit of less HBR blog: Why is success often a catalyst for failure? The clarity paradox.

The flourishing of families and neighbourhoods Comment: In his new book, “The Apprenticeship of Being Human: Why Early Childhood Parenting Matters to Everyone,” Graham Scharf is “cultivating and conserving a rich historic tradition of family nurture within a vibrant network of family, friends and neighbours.”

The Spark

When the Olympics gave out medals for artAt the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, American Walter Winans took the podium and waved proudly to the crowd. But the gold he won wasn’t for anything athletic. It was instead awarded for a small piece of bronze he had cast earlier that year: a 20-inch-tall horse pulling a small chariot. Winans won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for sculpture. For the first four decades of competition, the Olympics awarded official medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music, alongside those for the athletic competitions.

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