Essay 4

Subject: 
Teacher: 
Rubber Band: 
Question: 

4. A growing body of psychological research is suggesting that religious people are healthier and happier than nonreligious people. Discuss the factors that are probably responsible for this circumstance. For whom are religion and spirituality most beneficial? Are there downsides to religion?

Answer: 

How of happiness pp228-239

Those who attended religious services frequently and who reported religion as being important to them were better able to cope with loss

One of the reasons that religious people seem healthier is that they are more likely to practice healthy behaviors. Religion often encourages a healthy diet and prohibits pre4marital sex, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Religious groups also encourage positive, low-stress lifestyles such as advocating moderation. they also foster harmonious family life

Religion offers social support and gives people the feeling of belonging to a close-knit religious organization. they share each other's burdens, reach out to those in need and offer friendship and companionship. Their social network is greater and involves people on whom they can rely.

Religion brings people together that share a common belief.

Members of the religion feel appreciated, respected and provided for. Religion reinforces your identity and affirms your lifestyle. the relationship with God is not only a source of comfort in troubled times but also a source of self-esteem, feeling unconditionally valued, loved, and cared for.

Religion gives you a sense of security. It helps you find meaning in your ordinary life.

"Finally, the practice of religion--private prayer, spiritual pursuit, and collective worship--can engender hope, gratitude, awe, compassion, joy, and even ecstasy, all being happiness-increasing feelings."

For whom are religion and spirituality most beneficial?

(p233) "... happiness--enhancing activates will be most effective for people who are open to them and are motivated to pr4actice them with effort and commitment...if it feels natural to you to practice religion and spirituality, then by all means do it."

Are there downsides?

(pp 234-235)

"Freud argued that religion can create an "obsessional neurosis" whose symptoms include suppressed emotions, repressed sexuality, and guilt.

"Religious congregations can be a source of stress and conflict. they may demand a great deal of time, energy, money, sacrifice, and conformity to strict expectations for moral conduct and family life."

"... beliefs in original sin --it's hard to feel good about yourself if you feel ... you are inherently a wicked person."