Saturday, October 30, 2010

Religion and wellbeing paradox

"A new analysis of more than 550,000 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index interviews conducted over the last year and a half finds that Americans who are the most religious also have the highest levels of wellbeing. The statistically significant relationship between religiousness and wellbeing holds up after controlling for numerous demographic variables. Higher levels of healthy behaviors, life evaluation, work environment perceptions, and emotional health affect religious Americans' high wellbeing. October 28, 2010
As you can see below, this may very well be true:

Note that non-religious generally fare better than the moderately religious.

But here's from an earlier Gallup survey that I blogged about which shows which countries are most religious:

I am thinking that while religion may have positive effects on health, because there's less partying etc., the effects on society at large are not good. Of course, one can't attribute all problems in the south to religion, but it's a matter of fact that religion has lots of negative side effects ranging from terrorism to witch hunting.

Another paradoxical survey:

"People who see themselves as active participants in their faith are less susceptible to depression. But for those who feel alienated from their religion, it makes them more likely to be clinically depressed.
Jack Jensen, director of UVU’s mental health services, and Cameron John, associate professor of behavioral sciences, decided to survey UVU students after Mental Health America ranked Utah in 2007 as the most depressed state in the nation."

The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct 25, 2010

If religion helps against depression, then surely Utah should have been better off. But if you read the article it seems that the religious in-group, dedicated mormons, has better mental health at the expense of others.

So I'll stick to Atheism for now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Half of American Christians can't say what Christianity has contributed to Society

"The people who seemed least aware of either the positive or negative contributions of Christians were the largest segment of Christians: Notionals. Along with the unchurched, Notional Christians were the segment most likely to not be able to identify either a positive or negative contribution of American Christians. Notionals currently represent about half of all Christians in the U.S.
Most of the non-Christian segments of the population cited serving the poor and underprivileged as the best thing that Christians have done.
Overall, there was a more extensive and diverse list of complaints about Christians and their churches than there was of examples of the benefits they have provided to society." October 25, 2010
For a list of complaints and grievances, scroll down to "Negative Contributions". Notably, Evangelicals are hard critics of American Christianity.

"When asked to identify what they thought were the negative contributions of Christians to American society in recent years, the most frequent response was violence or hatred incited in the name of Jesus Christ. One out of five Americans mentioned such vitriolic attitudes. This was most likely to be mentioned by people associated with non-Christian faiths (35%) and by evangelicals (31%)."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith

"Postmodern leavers reject Christianity because of its exclusive truth claims and moral absolutes. For them, Christian faith is just too narrow. "Recoilers" leave because they were hurt in the church. They suffered some form of abuse at the hands of someone they saw as a spiritual authority. God was guilty by association. "Modernists" completely reject supernatural claims. God is a delusion. Any truth beyond science is dismissed as superstition. "Neo-pagans" refers to those who left for earth-based religions such as Wicca. Not all actually cast spells or participate in pagan rituals, but they deny a transcendent God, and see earth as the locus of true spirituality. "Spiritual Rebels" flee the faith to indulge in behavior that conflicted with their faith. They also value autonomy and don't want anyone -- especially a superintending deity -- telling them what to do. "Drifters" do not suffer intellectual crises or consciously leave the faith; they simply drift away. Over time God becomes less and less important until one day he's no longer part of their lives."

Birmingham News, October 23, 2010
Some interesting categories there. Interview with Drew Dyck who has written "Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith ... and How to Bring Them Back".