If you work as a policy adviser for a senator or representative, consider this passage from Baylor University Professor Byron Johnson’s foreword to Glenn Stanton’s important new book, “The Myth of the Dying Church,” available now on Amazon or a bookstore near you.
“Over the last several decades, thousands of studies published in peer-reviewed journals document that the practice of attending church is associated with making people happier, healthier, better spouses, more generous, more ethical, more tolerant and more civically engaged and responsible citizens.
“Thus, even non-religious people who do not attend church are passive recipients of the benefits of those who do regularly attend. And yet there is even more good news. Active church-goers are more likely to experience better physical and mental health.
“Other studies have examined how religious participation is linked to educational achievement, character development, longevity, coping, and stress reduction. Still other research demonstrates how much church attendance can help decrease crime and delinquency, and how religious practices help increase sobriety among addicts in treatment. Scholars have also assessed the conditions under which religious involvement in congregations enhances social capital and networks of social support that aid human flourishing.
“In sum, there is a significant body of empirical evidence in the form of thousands of published studies that demonstrate the ways in which church attendance is linked to a host of protective factors, as well as pro-social outcomes.
“Finally, it is important to note that many vibrant churches provide a host of social services to the neighborhoods where they are located. These churches assumed to be dying actually provide support to a host of faith-based organizations (e.g. Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, substance abuse centers, pregnancy resource centers, Gospel Rescue Missions, Compassion International, etc.) that have been part of public life for decades and provide social service delivery for over 70 million Americans annually.”