Study: Religion not a Delusional Poison

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

 

Photo by VinnyCiro (Pixabay)

Arguments for the Resurrection

the-empty-tomb

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is single most critical part of the Christian faith and also the single most important argument for it. I may not have an answer for every single question regarding philosophy, various religions, ethics, creation, and evolution (and neither does the other side). I don’t have to know it all because this much is true: If Jesus Christ really literally rose from the dead then the Bible is true. If the Bible is truly the Word of God then that kind of settles the issue of whether God exists and who He is, regardless of any other unanswered questions.

So to help with this goal I have provided links to a short argument for the resurrection and a long argument for the resurrection.

The Short Argument for the Resurrection

Five Reasons to Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead

This is a slightly longer comic strip that illustrates the logical argument for the resurrection provided by Adam4d.com.  It’s good if you are sharing with somebody who may not be interested enough to spend an hour watching a video presentation on the scholarly evidence of the resurrection.

The Long Argument for the Resurrection

Gary Habermas: The Resurrection Evidence that Changed Current Scholarship

This is an hour long presentation by New Testament scholar Gary Habermas laying out the scholarly arguments for the resurrection.  This textual argument for the Resurrection has a significant impact on New Testament scholarship and really proves that the Resurrection is not a myth that evolved over time but something that all of the original disciples believed they literally saw. My favorite point is that Paul was born within a few years of Jesus’ birth.  This means when he writes 1 Corinthians 15 he is writing in a time period where the witnesses really are still alive and is calling on people to call his bluff and talk to the witnesses. It’s not some text decades removed from the event! This is great evidence.

Belief in God Really Does Make You More Moral

by: Jared Berry

On countless occasions I have heard atheists argue that religion doesn’t make you any more moral. They often argue that religion has no moral benefit whatsoever and is a net negative drag on society. They often make these claims choosing to ignore the countless positive influences of religion like charitable organizations (Samaritans Purse, SBC Disaster Relief, Salvation Army, etc.). If you look closely you will find that much of their argument is philosophical rather than factual. In fact, darwinian atheists believe in an evolutionary benefit at some point for every trait we see, yet somehow come to conclude that religion is just a useless fluke that made it in there somewhere. The term “meme” of internet fame, was invented by leading atheist Richard Dawkins just so he could eliminate religion (and other cultural elements) as an evolutionary biological development and thus not have to acknowledge a benefit [1]. This concept has been critized by other scientists as a pseudoscientific attempt to explain away religion and as just plain bad science [2].

In this LA Times article you will see a scientific study providing evidence that belief in God actually does make you more moral, especially when nobody is looking. According to the study it’s not just belief in any God, but in an “omniscient, moral-judging and punitive main deity” (Aka a singularly dominant, all knowing God with moral standards) that yields moral improvement. That sounds a lot like the God of my Bible. This article goes on to explain how belief in this type of God was likely a critical component in the development of advanced civilizations.

So much for religion being useless and detrimental… You guys need Jesus… literally… we all do. 🙂

[1] Wikipedia – Meme “Origins”
[2] Wikipedia – Meme “Criticism of meme theory”