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.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at MDLinx

More about: Medicine, Psychology, Religion

 

Is the Attempt on Salman Rushdie’s Life Part of a Broader Iranian Strategy?

Aug. 18 2022

While there is not yet any definitive evidence that Hadi Matar, the man who repeatedly stabbed the novelist Salman Rushdie at a public talk last week, was acting on direct orders from Iranian authorities, he has made clear that he was inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Rushdie’s murder, and his social-media accounts express admiration for the Islamic Republic. The attack also follows on the heels of other Iranian attempts on the lives of Americans, including the dissident activist Masih Alinejad, the former national security advisor John Bolton, and the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by the mullahs for over two years, sees a deliberate effort at play:

It is no coincidence this flurry of Iranian activity comes at a crucial moment for the hitherto-moribund [nuclear] negotiations. Iranian hardliners have long opposed reviving the 2015 deal, and the Iranians have made a series of unrealistic and seemingly ever-shifting demands which has led many to conclude that they are not negotiating in good faith. Among these is requiring the U.S. to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety from the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

The Biden administration and its European partners’ willingness to make concessions are viewed in Tehran as signals of weakness. The lack of a firm response in the shocking attack on Salman Rushdie will similarly indicate to Tehran that there is little to be lost and much to be gained in pursuing dissidents like Alinejad or so-called blasphemers like Sir Salman on U.S. soil.

If we don’t stand up for our values when under attack we can hardly blame our adversaries for assuming that we have none. Likewise, if we don’t erect and maintain firm red lines in negotiations our adversaries will perhaps also assume that we have none.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at iNews

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy