Population Religion & Health Oh My!

The Demographic Transformation of America: The age pyramid becomes a rectangle.
The Next America by Paul Taylor Pew Research 2014
What is the future of religion? The Millennials: 6 new findings

Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history — nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film and webcasts. He has advised presidents, written 32 books, was the first major evangelist to speak behind the Iron Curtain, and has been one of the most admired men in the world for five decades (Gallup).

And David found that there were many problems that technology could not solve. -Billy Graham

In The Future of an Illusion (1927/1961) Sigmund Freud viewed religion as “comparable to a childhood neurosis”. But he also called it, “the most precious possession of civilization”.

What do we know about Religion & Health?
According to Harold G. Koenig, M.D., Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center, who literally wrote the book on Religion and Health.
The Short Version of Koenig’s work(pdf)

Religious Practice in America
• 93% of Americans believe in God or a higher power
• 62% are members of a church, synagogue or mosque
• 58% pray every day (75% at least weekly)
• 42% attend religious services weekly or almost weekly
• 55% attend religious services at least monthly
• 90% turned to religion to cope with September 11th
• 90% of hospitalized patients rely on religion to cope

• Lower perceptions of stress and less depression
• Greater wellbeing, happiness, meaning, purpose, hope
• Less alcohol/drug use, especially among the young
• 1 of 8 studies show religious persons weigh less
• 4 of 6 studies show significantly more likely to exercise
• Marital stability greater – less divorce, greater satisfaction
• Social support greater
• Shorter hospital stays, fewer hospital days per year
• Fewer heart attacks and strokes
• Better recovery following cardiac surgery, fewer complications
• Lower blood pressure
• Better immune functioning
• Lower stress hormone levels
• Less cancer, longer survival with cancer
• Less susceptibility to infection
• Greater longevity
• Slower cognitive decline with aging, Alzheimer’s disease
• Less functional disability with increasing age

• Why does this matter?
• Is the trend toward nonreligious a good or bad for the world?
Growth of the nonreligious
• What effects might the increasing trend toward nonreligious have on society?
• What institutions might take the place of religion?
• Will a future predominantly nonreligious people be able to cope?
• If you believe so, then how?

4 Comments on “Population Religion & Health Oh My!

  1. In order for religions in the future to be relevant, they are going to have to evolve. They could start with “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World” by Michael Dowd http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=B001BAGWH8/recoverybydiscovA/ For a good expression of Christian Challenges, see “Integral Christianity: The Sprit’s Call to Evolve” by Paul R. Smith. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=B005AZ6CH0/recoverybydiscovA/ and “Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=B005OLFMDA/recoverybydiscovA/
    The small percentage that had issues with books like these will be the ones to fade away, probably not by peaceful and loving ways.

  2. Still thinking about: Could religions help?

    When enough religious members and “non members”, choose to do enough spiritual growth work on themselves, the real religious will evolve and grow. This is not any license to work on others or any religious members, which will just resist anyway.

    Jesus gave us the form: “the kingdom of peace and love”, and the warning: “the dangers of religious groups”. I have an enlightening book, “Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve”, written by a pastor that evolved the levels of his church. They did so by becoming less religiously legalistic, then losing the judgmental ones, then growing with each issue after issue.

    How will we solve our challenges, when we do not evolve?

    I have confidence that, if we do not evolve faster than our challenges, our traumas will evolve us. Remember how much trauma caused us to lose dinosaurs as we gained birds and then finally us?

    We humans have been good at ignorantly evolving bacteria to be better killers in us, and our food. We tried to kill them all and the strongest survived. We might have tried to randomly stun bacteria to train our immune systems to take over. Might have done that with our food. My best guess that it would have been better for humanity than those immoral money making drug companies that do not know better. They need direction to do better science. I know their current drugs for PTSD will make things worse for our troops because they already have where they are used. I know there is a new book “Acid Test” with some success with some troops that they will ignore, because of no profits.

    Another example is to just look at how fast humans evolved so many dog breeds from wolves. And, I recently saw how quickly the Russians made bushier friendly dogs from foxes.

    I still wonder, whether it will be trauma, or us, or both, that will evolve us.

  3. Any healthy religion has community and connections and peace of mind. Those that do not have peace of mind, like right wing religions of force like ISIS or ISIL, need a path like “Religions Anonymous” to recover.

    What is a right wing religion of force? It is any that are like the bottom of the picture on the left of http://nchoa.net/mystory.pdf and are not like those at the top

    For example: Here is how community and connections and more peace of mind can solve the “Drug War” problem, which is becoming more challenging. I know, we did not learn enough from solving the “Prohibition” experiment. Our country is kind of slow like that.


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