Helping One’s Neighbor: Teaching and Learning Prosocial Behavior in a Religious Community
Type of Study, Methodology, and Design
4. Information Collection Procedure
5. Data Analysis Procedure
7. The Context of Prosociality Development, Teaching, and Learning
Field note 4: It is a two-story building. There are halls for holding religious services on the ground floor and first floor; there is a bathroom and a kitchen. It is decorated with messages of good tidings, hope, and salvation.
Case 2: Well, the church provides two kinds of help: spiritual, which people may need to quit drugs, alcohol, to overcome problems... because sometimes people come here and they have a big problem, so the help we provide is of this type: spiritual, let them come to the Lord, accept Jesus Christ... but we also give them material help.
8. Subjective Meaning of Prosociality
Case 1: That’s God’s message, we must show solidarity and compassion toward others.Case 7, participant 3: because in the end, if we all loved each other, if we were as the Bible says... this world would be perfect, like God, it would be perfect, but since we all disobey and want to do things our way, the world is the way it is now.
9. Development, Teaching, and Learning of Prosociality
9.1. Development of Prosociality
(Case 3) ...I came out of the hospital totally sick, after spending a year hospitalized. I came back home [to die] and I lay in bed... everyone thought I was going to die... They prayed there with my wife... I woke up the next morning, around 7, and I was like new. There was no heaviness in my body, no pain at all. I got up, I told.: "You know, I., the Lord cured me. I went out and there was a fig tree, I praised God, I thanked him, and that’s why I’m so grateful toward him (cries).
9.2. Teaching and Learning of Prosociality
Lastly, Paul declares that those who have been transformed by Christ put into practice justice and love in all aspects of social, civil, and moral justice (Guía para la Escuela Dominical [Sunday School Guide], volume 11, p. 54).Love your neighbors, think of their souls, tell them the story of the good savior. Take care of the orphan; God is their Father and faithful savior (Pentecostal Methodist Church Hymnal, stanza from the hymn “Love Thy Neighbor”).
The third ST explains that learning to be a Protestant Christian is a personal transformation process; therefore, it requires systematic, organized teaching as well as divine guidance. This point is made in case 5:… the person teaching has a great responsibility in terms of how they prepare the lesson… so, if I have to teach a topic, and I present it to God, I tell Him: Lord, help me with this and give me your grace, your power... but if I take this lightly and just start teaching... it’s an empty word that sometimes has no effect, so we can say this is a technique, asking for God’s spirit to be present.
Now, why does one intervene?: because one has something to teach, it’s a foundation established long ago, it has to do with the teachings that we have received, from the church, our training, regarding how… how a person can be kind: it’s just a matter of embracing the other. You can teach others to be kind and some of us have set roles: the pastor bears the highest authority, since he teaches human goodness and Protestant Christianity during religious services through divine revelation. The pastor selects teachers, church members who teach during Sunday school. These members are characterized by their appreciation of and dedication to the teaching role: they study and pray commending themselves to God to teach a good lesson. If we’re going to teach at the altar, as preachers, we have to take care of ourselves for at least two days: no intercourse with our wives, a few days of harmony, fasting... all that helps you a lot regarding your connection with God.
[How do you connect testimonies with the process of learning to be prosocial?] They are very important, because Christians, throughout their life, amass lots of testimonies... we’ve been through so much suffering, so many difficulties... God makes us stronger along the way and responds to us, and we believe that this powerful God will stay by our side and will strengthen our faith (case 3).
10. Selective Coding: Supraordinate STs about the Development, Teaching, and Learning of Prosociality
Conflicts of Interest
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Dorcas are a female group of the Pentecostal Methodist church established in Chile by Mercedes Gutiérrez (Salas 2015).
|Technique||Participants||Information Collection Stage|
|Qualitative observation||140 church members||First stage: 4 months of observation|
|Episodic interviews||3 men and 3 women who participate as Sunday school teachers||Second stage: 1 month of instrument administration|
|Discussion groups||18 church members who attend Sunday school as students||Third stage: 2 months of instrument administration|
|1: A., an 18-year-old woman, has been a member of the Pentecostal Methodist church from age 2, and is currently a Sunday school teacher.||Our aim is to imitate Jesus’ behavior as described in the Bible||“We follow God’s or Jesus’ example… through the word, he teaches us to help others. So, if we go to church it’s because we feel the need to attend, because if we were perfect... I wouldn’t come to church. So we try to imitate Jesus’ more and more. He teaches us how we must help people”.|
|2: M. is a 45-year-old woman, a social worker who has been an Pentecostal Methodist for over 10 years and currently participates as a Sunday school teacher.||God’s miracles develop Christian identity, gratitude, and love for our neighbor||Prosociality is part of Christian identity; therefore, “a kind person, a good person is one who loves... when there’s love in someone’s heart, everything begins to flow, like kindness, mercy, goodness, all the things a Christian should have”.|
|3: O. is a 74-year-old retired man who has been a Pentecostal Methodist for 37 years and currently participates as a Sunday school teacher.||“... that’s God’s message, we must show solidarity and compassion toward others”.||God addresses each Christian personally for us to show solidarity and support others, regardless of their social background, political views, or religious ideas. So, helping behaviors characterize Christians and emerge from God himself, expressed through Jesus Christ, who devoted his life to helping humanity.|
|4: Y. is a 45-year-old male engineer who has been a Pentecostal Methodist for 12 years and currently participates as a Sunday school teacher.||“Faith without actions is a dead [word] just like actions without faith… [are dead actions]”||we must treat our neighbor like ourselves”, so participants look for the positive through unconditional love for others. This is materialized through actions, which leads people to develop empathy as a value aimed at understanding others: “Cry beside those who cry and rejoice when our brothers enjoy victory”.|
|5: D., a 48-year-old male shopkeeper, has been a member of the Pentecostal Methodist church since he was a child and currently participates as a Sunday school teacher.||“because I believe in God, I must help, I must cooperate, because the Lord guides us through his words”||God calls upon everyone to become Christian, so those who agree to follow Christ become kind people by reading the Bible and establishing a relationship with God.|
|6: M., a 43-year-old woman lawyer, has been part of the Pentecostal Methodist church for 10 years and currently participates as a Sunday school teacher.||“You know people by their fruits, and what are their fruits? their attitudes”||“Kindness is a fruit of the spirit, therefore, it must be a quality of human beings, and these include kindness, temperance, self-control, fear of God... so kindness is one among many fruits”|
|7: a group of 6 young people aged 14–25. Most of them are in the church choir. They have had a variety of trajectories within the church.||“… God’s love is like this, loving our neighbor like ourselves and that’s what we try to do…”||(Participant 3): “… we try to imitate Jesus, that’s our goal, to imitate him, [because] he died for us and he mostly teaches us about… (Participant 4): … how to help our neighbor.”|
|8: a group of 6 adult men, part of the church’s volunteer group, who vary in terms of age and years as community members.||“We educate people so they will not lead a bad life, that way we work toward helping our neighbor”||Human conflict is within us (p1), we have lost our values (p2), so we will encounter problems as long as we do not solve this. [so] help goes beyond material things, it is necessary to teach, that’s the best way of helping, so other people can learn the right way (p3).|
|9: a group of 6 adult women who are mothers or are married, aged 18 and up (with some being older adults). They differ in terms of how long they have been church members.||“for us, as people, doing this [helping] springs from our heart”||(Participant 2) “If you’re on the street… it can be money or some kind words… you reach that person, and that person says: oh!, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear, so it’s not only something that’s taught, it’s something within you”… “(Participant 1) that’s what God has taught us, that we need to share what’s ours with those who suffer… so I say we do all this just out of love and affection”|
|Type of Help||Activity||Description|
|Spiritual||Prayer||Includes requests for God to provide a solution to various problems that people are dealing with. It is a personal activity both inside and outside the church and a collective activity scheduled as a weekly meeting.|
|Bible study||The church’s most important activity, regarded as guidance to be a good Christian.|
|Invitation to join the church||Aimed at those who visit the church and the wider community. It is characterized by a kind, affectionate, and inclusive relationship.|
|Visits to hospitals, prisons, church members, and neighbors||Visits to public institutions and homes, mainly to provide spiritual support|
|Weekly preaching||Conducted at a public venue. Consists in teaching God’s word to the community, providing messages of salvation, support, and hope.|
|Material||Offerings and tithing||Voluntary monetary contributions to the church|
|Donations||Money, food, medicines, and clothes, among other resources, are given to church members and the wider community.|
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Cuadra-Martínez, D.; Sandoval-Díaz, J.; Perez-Zapata, D.; Castro-Carrasco, P.; Véliz-Vergara, D.; Guzman-Ávalos, J.; Ramos-Thompson, G. Helping One’s Neighbor: Teaching and Learning Prosocial Behavior in a Religious Community. Religions 2019, 10, 515. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090515
Cuadra-Martínez D, Sandoval-Díaz J, Perez-Zapata D, Castro-Carrasco P, Véliz-Vergara D, Guzman-Ávalos J, Ramos-Thompson G. Helping One’s Neighbor: Teaching and Learning Prosocial Behavior in a Religious Community. Religions. 2019; 10(9):515. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090515Chicago/Turabian Style
Cuadra-Martínez, David, José Sandoval-Díaz, Daniel Perez-Zapata, Pablo Castro-Carrasco, Douglas Véliz-Vergara, Javiera Guzman-Ávalos, and Gabriel Ramos-Thompson. 2019. "Helping One’s Neighbor: Teaching and Learning Prosocial Behavior in a Religious Community" Religions 10, no. 9: 515. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090515