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article imageScience, faith agree on benefits of cooperation over competition Special

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 14, 2011 in World
Natchitoches - Science tells us collaboration enhances cognitive skills, not competition. That premise is supported also by people of faith, as a local minister of Natchitoches, Louisiana recently explained.
That scientific premise of the benefits of collaboration and cooperation and how it builds problem-solving abilities and cognitive skills is supported by research with young children and also with adults.
Perry W. Buffington maintains these types of studies have been discussed since the 1800’s, that cooperation is the better way to learn and work, especially in discovery and in helping organizations develop and to grow. New research reported in the past few months substantiates this as well.
While scientists say most people might consider competition the way to learn best by accenting an individual seeking personal best, the facts from scientific investigation don’t support that’s true. Further, religious teachings, as referred to by Kathy Muder, a local Natchitoches Presbyterian minister, reinforces what science has found as well.
“I have these small books I would like to hand out. You can get involved in a small group activity with the content in these books. I would like you to start with groups of three.” Muder announced from her pulpit last Sunday morning.
“The idea is to foster understanding and to bring good feelings and strong bonds to develop faith and also to develop the church within as well. Pray together also. Try to meet at least one hour weekly to do this type of activity.”
Later Muder explained that divisions in the Presbyterian Church have been difficult both for congregations and for some of the ministers. Those of liberal and conservative views have split, with some ministers leaving the greater Presbyterian community. “It’s sad to see this happening,” she explained, “But change comes hard for some folks who want things as they have been. So in sharing in small ways, like meeting over discussions and prayer groups, the benefit of the group is fostered. We get past rancour and have benefits of faith. That way we spiritually grow also as individuals.”
That growth of the mind and spirit reflect a point of understanding where science and religion agree. The human spirit, Muder tells us, is elevated by working together in cooperation with each other. The cognitive mind and the process of learning is shown by science to be benefited by folks working and praying together who may not always agree on the issues.
As reminded by many clerics like Muder, faith teaches, “Wherever two or more of you are together, there I am also” references the presence of God as that unseen source of energy while science maintains working in collaboration brings a special synthesis and value that outpaces competition.
More about Competition, Cooperation, Collaboration, science on cognition, Presbyterian
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