May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Friday, October 2, 2009

Religion, Society & Personal Wellbeing

For years, study after study have shown the adherents of religion live longer, are healthier, and are happier that those that don't. Thought I'd just enter some findings, not specific studies, but summarizations.

Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University:
"The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. They don't drink alcohol as much, they don't use drugs as much, they don't smoke cigarettes as much, and they have healthier lifestyles. They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, probably better cardiovascular functioning, and probably a healthier hormonal environment physiologically-particularly with respect to cortisol and adrenaline [stress hormones]. And they live longer."

Marriages where both husband and wife that regularly attend Services are 2.4 times less likely to end in divorce compared to those couples that don't attend. Duke University Medical School research shows religious attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability.

Men who attend religious Services at least weekly are more than 50% less likely to commit violence against their wives, than men that didn't attend Services regularly.

Men that attend religious Services regularly are more involved with their children, and do more volunteer work with children.

Arthur Brooks, Syracuse University, religious people give more to charity than non-religious and twice as likely to volunteer. Americans (from LA Times) of no faith typically contributed $200 a year to charity, religious people $1500 a year.

After religious conversion, Armand Nicholi Jr. in "American Journal of Psychiatry", showed a "marked improvement in ego functioning [including] a radical change in lifestyle with an abrupt halt in the use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes; improved impulse control with the adoption of a strict sexual code demanding chastity or marriage with fidelity; improved academic performance; enhanced self image and greater access to inner feelings; an increased capacity for establishing 'close, satisfying relationships, improved communications with parents'..."

Statists keep passing legislation to reduce smoking, reduce violence, reduce drug use, reduce alcohol consumption, raise students grades, and schools push for self esteem (not based on achievement). What Statists do support is the breakdown of the family (The Great Society programs), promiscuity, and pedophilia. They don't support charity; just look at the reduced tax reduction on charitable giving. The answer to many societal problems are not to be solved by anti-traditional and anti-religious attitudes and values. I already hear the anti-religionists squawk that religion doesn't solve all problems, and will go on to point out religion's obvious failures. Of course there have been failures, and many of them. Religion though, has a better track record; more success.

Hat tip and thanks to Rabbi David Wolpe for compiling this info in his book, "Why Faith Matters".

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