Ever wondered if those going to church are healthier? My colleague in Texas, Keith Wommack, gives us some interesting data to ponder in his post that reviews a book claiming just that:
You say you were dragged to church every week? You didn’t want to go? Your mother insisted it was good for you?
Well, she was right. And in even more ways than she imagined.
Turns out, if you’re concerned about your health, church is the place to be.
Jeff Levin in his book, God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality Healing Connection, explains:
1. Data on Mexican Americans … found that frequent church attenders were more likely to rate their health as good or excellent, report higher levels of well-being, and experience less disability, fewer days in bed in the previous year, and fewer physical symptoms.
2. A Scottish study found that active churchgoers, regardless of religious affiliation, had fewer physical and mental symptoms than people who affiliated with a religion but did not participate in church.
3. Scientists from the Universality of Michigan … found … church attendance more than once a week offered an additional 31 percent reduction in risk above and beyond weekly attendance.
4. Scientists at John Hopkins University … found that less than monthly religious attendance doubled and even tripled the risk of death due to arteriosclerotic heart disease, pulmonary emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and cancers of the rectum and colon.
5. A follow-up study found an actual dose-relationship between deaths and frequency of religious attendance. … Each level of frequency reduced deaths incrementally; attending services at least weekly reduced by almost 50 percent the risk of death the following year.
Levin goes on to say:
There is increasing evidence of religious effects on objective measures of more physically observable phenomena, such as functional disability and mortality. This effect also apparently extends decades in the future.
Psychiatrists know of few it any other factors that exhibit protective effects extending so far ahead in time. For sure, there is no medication that can work so effectively for so long.
The best study conducted to date on the topic of religious attendance and health also found the most amazing results. It showed that the protective effects of frequent participation in church can last a lifetime. … Published in the American Journal of Public Health, [one] study found that frequent religious attenders had greater survival rates — that is, lower mortality — that extended over a twenty-eight-year period. Frequent religious attendance in 1965 was still reducing the risk of dying in 1994.
Again, if you’re concerned about your health, it seems, church is the place to be.
Yet, what is it about religious attendance that causes a reduction in disease and death?
Many feel that the supportive relationships found in church fellowship likely lead to the health benefits of attendance. An attender’s fellowship with others, — their caring for another’s emotional, economic, and physical needs, is important. Yet, there is something even more significant that enables attenders to experience health benefits this dramatic.
In my healing ministry and years of active membership in churches, I’ve found that an attender’s relationship with God is what enables him to experience health and longevity. It’s this relationship with God that makes all the difference.
There is a law of God behind the health benefits that are found in the studies that Levin describes. Regular church attendance helps bring people under this law. God’s law of health is actually available to all, everywhere. However, those consistently attending services experience the effects of God’s laws.
Could it be time to start listening to your mother? Time to discover the health benefits of religious attendance