Sometimes, the practice of faith receives a boost from the sciences. Over the weekend an analysis was posted by the Heritage Foundation which brings together many studies on the benefits of religion. One of the conclusions hints at the breadth of this report.
The available evidence clearly demonstrates that regular religious practice is both an individual and social good. It is a powerful answer to many of our most significant social problems, some of which, including out-of-wedlock births, have reached catastrophic proportions. Furthermore, it is available to all, and at no cost.
The report cites studies which demonstrates the following benefits gained from the religious life.
For example, there is ample evidence that:
The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage.
Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty. Regular church attendance, for example, is particularly instrumental in helping young people to escape the poverty of inner-city life.
Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.
Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.
The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.
In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery.
Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health: It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.
The report is detailed and lengthy but is required reading for Christians. You will be encouraged. There are specific suggestions for religious leaders as well as specific steps which should be undertaken by Congress and the President. Care is taken not to establish a single religion. The article is not about Christianity only but about religion generally.
Given the effort to exclude faith from the public square this article is timely and very needed.