Who doesn’t want to live longer, be happier and enjoy better health? New peer-reviewed studies highlighted by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) suggest going to church regularly has a lot to do with it.
The first of the studies was published by the International Journal of Epidemiology found that “participants who attended religious services once a week or more had lower mortality rates and slightly fewer physical health problems,” according to MARRI, a Washington, D.C.-based research foundation headed by Dr. Patrick Fagan at the Catholic University of America.
Fagan is the former deputy assistant secretary for family and social policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the first Bush administration. He’s also been with the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation and the Family Research Council (FRC). He is the publisher and editor of marripedia.org.
“Furthermore, those who attended religious services at least once a week were less likely to drink heavily and smoke. They were also less likely to be depressed, anxious, hopeless, and lonely. Finally, they were more likely to feel greater life satisfaction, social integration, and purpose in life,” the MARRI summary continued. The study was published in the December 2020 issue of the journal.
The second study highlighted by MARRI was published by the Journal of Religion and Health and was conducted by a group of Turkish researchers focused on a sample drawn from Turkey.
“Positive religious coping was associated with less loneliness, while negative religious coping was associated with more loneliness. Religious coping strategies mediated the impact of meaning in life on loneliness,” the study abstract said.
“These fndings suggest that greater meaning in life may link with lesser loneliness due to, in part, an increased level of positive religious coping strategies and a decreased level of negative coping strategies.”
The third study highlighted by MARRI was published in May 2020 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry. The study was based on data extracted from the responses of more than 66,000 registered nurses and more than 41,000 mail health care professionals obtained in multiple prior-year studies going back as far as 1988.
The study examined whether there is a link between regular attendance at religious services and lower rates of suicide, death by unintentional alcohol and drug poisoning, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis.
The abstract reported that the analysis found “attendance at religious services at least once per week was associated with a 68 percent lower hazard of death from despair among women and a 33 percent lower hazard among men compared with never attendance.”
So, if you want to live longer, be happier and enjoy better health, you can take Benjamin Franklin’s famous advice that rising early each morning “makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Or, check out MARRI for a ton of additional evidence that going to church — and, far more important, having a relationship with the Lord whose church it is — will make a profoundly positive impact on your quality of life in this world, to say nothing of the next.
And how do you have that relationship? The Bible tells us at Romans 10:9 that “if you profess with your tongue that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved.”
If you have questions about this, or have doubts that such a relationship is even possible with the creator of the universe, let’s talk. Email me at email@example.com to schedule something.
He turned my life around and I love to share, humbly, about that with anybody who cares to listen. Don’t worry, it will be friendly, non-preachy and off-the-record. And it just might be the most important conversation of your life.