Uncommon Sense

December 4, 2022

Be Careful What You Ask For

Filed under: Culture,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:14 am
Tags: , ,

Theists are probably basking in the glory of these findings. Multiple scientific studies show that there are multiple health benefits from being associated with a religion, up to and including increasing your lifespan.

Beyond beliefs: does religious faith lead to a happier, healthier life? by David Robson

Here is a taste of this piece in The Guardian:

“Much of this research took the form of longitudinal research, which involves tracking the health of a population over years and even decades. They each found that measures of someone’s religious commitment, such as how often they attended church, were consistently associated with a range of outcomes, including a lower risk of depression, anxiety and suicide and reduced cardiovascular disease and death from cancer.”

As we all know, correlation is not causation, but there is another reason for theists to be cautious here.

The findings are the same, no matter the religion, that is the details of your religion aren’t important. Another way to say it, is the theology you hold precious is not the source of those benefits.

The article started out referring to Pascal’s Wager, the most common response to which is “But which of the thousands of gods should we believe in?” The answer, according to these studies is, “it doesn’t matter, any god will do.” I can’t see any theist jumping for joy over that.



  1. From what I’ve read (don’t remember where), it’s the socialization that’s the most beneficial. I don’t have the studies to back that up but it makes sense to me. We are a social species after all.
    But what of us who don’t believe there’s a Big Guy (or whatever) up in the sky? I can’t just decide to believe. It doesn’t work that way.
    I’d like to see a study of people who meet regularly in library groups or gardening clubs or community action groups. I’d wager there’s equal benefit to them. I mean, being that “any god will do.”

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by ziggyseamstress — December 4, 2022 @ 9:16 am | Reply

    • All of the “reasons” why these effects are seen are, of course, speculative, and will be until they find causes and not just correlations. But the big finding, for me, is that your personal beliefs don’t matter.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 4, 2022 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  2. I remember when I went to AA, years ago, being told that it didn’t matter who or what my higher power was or if I called it “god” … it could be a tree or a door knob. That’s when I saw through the whole idea of praying to a deity … I mean, who the F prays to a doorknob. Although praying to a tree makes sense LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by silverapplequeen — December 4, 2022 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

    • Ah, the Doorknob Theology . . . is that the one that begins with “one good turn deserves another”?

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 5, 2022 @ 9:34 am | Reply

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