CNS News reports on a new Harvard study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
A new study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published online in JAMA Internal Medicine found that women who attended religious services more than once a week were more than 30% less likely to die during a 16-year-follow-up than women who never attended.
The study also found that compared with women who never attended religious services, women who attended more than once per week had a decreased risk of both cardiovascular mortality (27%) and cancer mortality (21%).
“Our results suggest that there may be something important about religious service attendance beyond solitary spirituality,” said Tyler VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “Part of the benefit seems to be that attending religious services increases social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and helps people develop a more optimistic or hopeful outlook on life.”
[…]Most of the women in the study were Protestant or Catholic. The baseline age of the participants was 60 years or older – and “therefore the study cannot be generalized to men or young adults.”
Now, note: this is not an apologetics argument, it’s just something interesting to get a discussion started. Obviously, we don’t believe things just because they make us happier or healthier. I would raise this to get a discussion started about whether a secular life that suppresses questions of meaning and purpose can really be satisfying at all. My goal is truth, though. Not life enhancement. We have to keep the focus on truth.