A new study of 20 cumulative years of prior research shows that religion is linked to a healthy mind and body, proving that claims by atheists that religion is bad for you are merely unscientific rhetoric. The study also explains that these mental and physical health benefits apply only to those who actually attend church on a regular basis. Just believing something is not the same as actually practicing it.
The late Christopher Hitchens claimed that “religion poisons everything” and the famous Richard Dawkins has claimed that belief in God is a “delusion” and a “mental illness.” However, when these opinions are compared to real science this could not be further from the truth. After reviewing 20 years of research, religion’s benefits for a persons health can clearly be established as scientific fact.
However, religion only works for those who actually participate in it, rather than those who just believe in something. According to the USA Today article these benefits are linked to actually going to church not just having “spirituality.” Regular attendance was linked to better life choices, more optimism, lower depression, suicide prevention, sense of purpose, and more self-control. It also reduced “mortality by 20% to 30% over a 15 year period.” So if you aren’t plugged into church you may be missing out on far more than you thought.
My question is this:
If religion is a “poison” and religious people are “delusional” then why does 20 years of cumulative data show that Christians like me are more likely to be healthier, happier, and more mentally stable? By default, a nonreligious person has a better chance of mental instability and poor health than a committed Christian. If famous atheists like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens were following the evidence like they claimed, then they would’ve quit spewing such untruthful rhetoric. Unless of course they were choosing to believe their emotional biases instead of the facts.
Church isn’t some divine guilt trip followed by those afraid of the unknown. It’s a gift from God that blesses us with fellowship, encouragement, guidance, and a real family built around Jesus Christ. It makes perfect sense that we find a healthier life there, because Christ is the source of all life. We flourish there because it is our natural habitat. It’s what we were made for: to walk and fellowship together with our heavenly Father.
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you. – Proverbs 3:1-2 ESV