Can Religion Make You Healthier?

July 22 2021

While purported health benefits are hardly a sound basis for religious beliefs and practices, and the question of religiosity’s medical effects do not lend themselves easily to scientific analysis, a number of studies have tried to measure the impact of religion on psychological and even physiological well-being. Jonathan Ford Hughes points to several that make the case that both faith and ritual can be salubrious:

The American Journal of Epidemiology surveyed a group of youths and found that those who had a more religious upbringing were 18-percent more likely to report a higher sense of happiness as young adults than those who didn’t. Those who prayed or meditated daily as children were also reported as being 16-percent happier as young adults than those who didn’t pray daily, and were 29-percent more likely to volunteer for community service.

Childhood religious upbringing was also shown to have a bearing on brain activity. In 2019, Next Avenue, a PBS-supported news resource for older Americans, reported on the neurological effects of prayer in the brain. While undergoing a brain scan, a rabbi and a researcher sang a Jewish prayer. The rabbi’s scan showed activation in areas of the brain that indicate focus and a sense of letting go. The researcher’s scan did not. Similar scans of Buddhists and nuns during meditation and prayer, respectively, found increased activity in their frontal lobes as well.

In addition, religion can also affect physical health. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, religious individuals have far fewer physical health issues than those who are not religious. This may be attributable to the fact that religious individuals are happier because of their beliefs, which has a huge influence on physical health. . . . Religion also appears to lead to a lifestyle with lower risk of venereal diseases, drug use, and early pregnancy, [and so forth], according to the American Journal of Epidemiology Study.

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Read more at MDLinx

More about: Medicine, Psychology, Religion

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism