Why Faith is Good for your Health

Dan Peterson shares the sad story of a young man who left the Church and later took his life.  Dan points out positives associated with faith.

Peterson quotes Bertrand Russell’s dreary thoughts about the pointlessness of life.

Bertrand Russell

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave;

that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

 

The best solution to lack of faith and despair is a return to faith and hope.

Among other things, Peterson shared research by Harvard scholars and compared C.S. Lewis’ life to Freud’s.  They correlated better mental health with faith and church attendance.

Youth Religious Practice and Health Benefits

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Youths who regularly attend religious services, pray or meditate may get a well-being boost that sticks around into young adulthood, according to a new Harvard study that joins a body of research showing benefits from religiosity.

Senior author and epidemiologist Tyler J. VanderWeele knows most people don’t make decisions about religion based on health, but rather on beliefs, values, experiences and relationships. “However, for parents and children who already hold religious beliefs, such religious and spiritual practices could be encouraged both for their own sake as well as to promote health and well-being,” said Vanderweele, a professor in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, by VanderWeele and Harvard research scientist Ying Chen, is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Among the findings, youths who attended religious services at least weekly as children and adolescents were:

  • About 18 percent more apt to report higher happiness between ages 23-30 than those who didn’t
  • 29 percent more likely to be volunteers
  • 33 percent less likely to use illegal drugs

Those who prayed or meditated at least daily as kids were, as young adults:

  • 16 percent more likely to report higher happiness
  • 30 percent less likely to have sex at a young age
  • 40 percent less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease

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The researchers said while adult literature indicates worship service attendance has greater impact on health, compared to meditation and prayer, for youths the benefits are equal or perhaps even slightly less.

“One possible explanation is religious attendance patterns may be shaped by parents, but prayer and meditation may reflect their own beliefs, Chen said.

You may read the rest of the article here.

The Family and the Protection of Children

Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, (Ph.D from Princeton University, research fellowships at Yale University and the Brookings Institution) presents new international research from the World Family Map 2014 showing how family characteristics may affect child development and well-being including health outcomes and child mortality rates.

Recent trends:  retreat from marriage, parenting, and fertility

All these data were controlled for parents’ age, education, income, and background:

  • 1/2 of the worlds’ countries are below replacement
  • more kids are born without 2 parents and outside of marriage (parents much more likely to break up before 15 years old)

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  • males in 1-parent homes:  much more commonly incarcerated
  • females in 1-parent homes:  much more teenage pregnancy
  • kids in poverty with 2 parents: much better economic success than kids in poverty with 1 parent

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  • drug use, suicide rates, and repeating grades in school were much higher with 1 parent
  • literacy, health indicators, and mortaily are all lower in homes with 1 parent

2 parents:  more time, $, more affection, kinship support, and stable family context

Atheism, not God, is an Illusion

First, some perspectives from the 3 Mormons:

John Lennox is a master.

Lennox mentions world-famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, around the 3:45 mark.  Dawkins best-selling books is “The God Delusion.”

Lennox draws on experts in psychiatry who shares all the benefits of belief in God.  Atheism, in John’s estimation, is the illusion.