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People of Faith Live Longer

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John Beagle View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 14 2018 at 10:08am

Religious people live four years longer than atheists, study finds: Scientists put it down to being more social, volunteering, and drinking less


The Ohio State University study was based on 1,000 obituaries published across the US in 2011
While the data set is small, the psychology research team insisted there is merit to the correlation
Religious people often drink less, socialize more, and volunteer more.

Researchers have found a surprising correlation between longevity and religious faith.

Church-goers appear to live up to four years longer than atheists, at least according to an analysis of 1,000 obituaries published across the United States.  

The Ohio State psychology researchers behind the study insist there is merit to the connection: people with religious affiliations often volunteer and engage in social activities throughout their lives - something routinely tied to a longer lifespan. 

But they found that this socializing only appeared to boost longevity by a year at most - suggesting other elements of religious life, such as low alcohol intake, could contribute.   

'There's still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can't explain,' study lead author Laura Wallace, a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University. 

Dr. Baldwin Way, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State who co-authored the study, concurred. 

He said that, while the findings may sound like tosh to atheists, there was a correlation they couldn't ignore. 

'The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives,' he said.

Dr. Way surmises that this correlation might depend on how religious one's community is.

Indeed, the first installment of this study involved 505 obituaries published in the Des Moines Register in Iowa in January and February 2012.

There, the lifespan gap was even greater: religious people lived 9.45 years longer than their atheist peers - but that shrunk to 6.48 years when they took gender and marital status into account .

The second study included 1,096 obituaries from 42 major cities in the US published on newspaper websites between August 2010 and August 2011.

In this study, people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered.

Many studies have shown that people who volunteer and participate in social groups tend to live longer than others.

The researchers combined figures from both studies to see if the volunteer and social opportunities that religious groups offer might explain the longevity boost.

Results showed that was only part of the reason why religious people lived longer, according to the researchers. 

Wallace said: 'We found that volunteerism and involvement in social organizations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided.' 

Dr. Way said the reason for their longevity may be related to the rules and norms of many religions that restrict unhealthy practices such as alcohol and drug use and having sex with many partners.

He said many religions also 'promote stress-reducing practices that may improve health, such as gratitude, prayer or meditation.'

The fact that the researchers had figures from other cities also allowed them to investigate whether the level of religiosity in a city and a city's 'personality' could affect how religious affiliation influenced longevity.

The findings showed that a key personality element related to longevity in each city was the importance placed on conformity to community values and norms.

In highly religious cities where conformity was important, religious people tended to live longer than non-religious people.

But in some cities, there is a spillover effect. 

Wallace added: 'The positive health effects of religion spill over to the non-religious in some specific situations.

'The spillover effect only occurs in highly religious cities that aren't too concerned about everyone conforming to the same norms. In those areas, non-religious people tend to live as long as do religious people.'

Dr. Way said there are limitations to the study, including the fact that it could not control for important factors related to longevity such as race and lifestyle.

But a potential strength was that, unlike other studies, religious affiliation was not self-reported, but was reported by the obituary writer.

But Wallace said that the findings, published today by the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, provided additional support to the growing number of studies showing that religion does have a positive effect on health.

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The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
-Joseph Campbell
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John Beagle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Beagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 15 2018 at 9:40am

Christopher Hitchens - Faith


At the time of his death, Christopher Hitchens was the most notorious atheist in the world.  And yet, all was not as it seemed.  “Nobody is not a divided self, of course,” he once told an interviewer, “but I think it’s rather strong in my case.”   Hitchens was a man of many contradictions:   a Marxist in youth who longed for acceptance among the social elites; a peacenik who revered the military; a champion of the Left who was nonetheless pro-life, pro-war-on-terror, and after 9/11 something of a neocon; and while he railed against God on stage, he maintained meaningful—though largely hidden from public view—friendships with evangelical Christians like Francis Collins, Douglas Wilson, and the author Larry Alex Taunton.  

In The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, Taunton offers a very personal perspective of one of our most interesting and most misunderstood public figures.  Writing with genuine compassion and without compromise, Taunton traces Hitchens’s spiritual and intellectual development from his decision as a teenager to reject belief in God to his rise to prominence as one of the so-called “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism.  While Hitchens was, in the minds of many Christians, Public Enemy Number One, away from the lights and the cameras a warm friendship flourished between Hitchens and the author; a friendship that culminated in not one, but two lengthy road trips where, after Hitchens’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer, they studied the Bible together.  The Faith of Christopher Hitchens gives us a candid glimpse into the inner life of this intriguing, sometimes maddening, and unexpectedly vulnerable man.

“If everyone in the United States had the same qualities of loyalty and care and concern for others that Larry Taunton had, we'd be living in a much better society than we do.” ~ Christopher Hitchens
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
-Joseph Campbell
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