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.

Compatibility: Science, Evolution, and LDS Thought

Does the Church take an official position on Evolution?  Nope.

Let’s all remain open and humble in our pursuit of all kinds of truths. And let scientists do Science. After all, we have nothing to fear from discovery in any field.

Living the restored Gospel principles saves us.  Scientific principles — even established ones — don’t exalt anyone.  But it doesn’t hurt to understand truths of Science.

Further, there’s so much we don’t know. For example, the world’s best physicists don’t know what light and energy are.  We are only a few hundred years from the Enlightenment. We’re all in the dark to a great degree, and thus must very much live by faith.

Science is only a method, and can ask how.  God answers why.

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Read this October 2016 New Era article.  The first paragraph quoted below:

What does the Church believe about evolution?

“The Church has no official position on the theory of evolution. Organic evolution, or changes to species’ inherited traits over time, is a matter for scientific study. Nothing has been revealed concerning evolution. Though the details of what happened on earth before Adam and Eve, including how their bodies were created, have not been revealed, our teachings regarding man’s origin are clear and come from revelation…”

 

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Dr. Henry Eyring — the father of current Apostle, Pres. Henry B. Eyring — was a world-class chemist and believing Latter-day Saint.  After a full career in Chemistry at Princeton, he returned to Utah Brother Eyring served on the LDS General Sunday School Board.

Pres. Eyring wrote about his world-recognized chemist father:  My Father’s Formula.

A few of his thoughts below:

Some have asked me: “Is there any conflict between science and religion?” There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men. . . .

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A young man once inquired: “In high school we are taught such things as pre-Adamic men, and that kind of thing, but we hear another thing in Church. What should I do about it?”

I think I gave the right answer. I said, “In this Church, you only have to believe the truth. Find out what the truth is!”

Simple, but very powerful ideas.

 

Steven Peck is a professor and poet at BYU.  Dr. Peck gave this talk at the Science & Mormonism:  Cosmos, Earth, and Man conference at BYU on 11/9/13.

Why Evolution and LDS Thought are Fully Compatible:  Overcoming our Suspicions of Science.

More from Steven Peck:

Episode 50: A Religion of Both Prayers and Pterodactyls – Steven Peck

You should subscribe to these LDS Perspectives Podcasts. Really, you should.

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Other books by Steven Peck here:

 

Valuable perspectives by LDS scientist, David Bailey.

Extreme and atheist scientists are the most vocal critics of religion.  And the most fundamentalist Christians are hostile to science.  We don’t need to take an extreme position.

 

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw on “Science and Genesis: A Personal View” given at the Science & Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, & Man conference held on November 9, 2013, in Provo, Utah.

Rather than mock the Genesis stories, as many atheist scientists do, Dr. Bradshaw humbly provides his point of view.

LDS Truth Claims on the topic of Science:

 

Alvin Plantinga is a world-class American philosopher.  Plantinga presents a non-Mormon, but traditional Christian point of view:

 

William Lane Craig, a non-Mormon philosopher, shares his opinion about Evolution and Christianity in several videos below:

Short answer: No, evolution doesn’t disprove theism or Christianity.

WLC’s opinion: a six-day creation model is an embarrassment

 

These next two — as the last two philosophers above — are neither LDS.  Though we differ in beliefs about God, they share lots of truth and valuable perspectives!

Bill Whittle (2nd speaker) had a great line about people who say “I believe in Science.”  Bill points out that those people usually have no idea what Science is.

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According to Bill, saying “I believe in Science” is very much like saying this: “I believe in a hammer.”

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Like a hammer, Science is a tool.  A method.  Not a world view.

Watch the video:

Science is awesome, but has obvious and significant limitations.

Not all scientists — especially the new atheists — tell you this.

http://ldsmag.com/10-things-science-cannot-prove/