The Benefits of Religious Faith


According to Webster’s New University Dictionary, faith can be defined as a belief not based on logical proof or material evidence. More specifically, religious faith can be described as belief or trust in God. The idea of a greater power is one that lacks physical evidence but is believed by many.

People have always questioned what benefits result from religiosity. Over the years, studies have attempted to investigate the benefits of religious faith. Gallup recently conducted one such study and published the findings on their internet site. An analysis of more than 372,000 interviews concluded religious Americans have higher overall well-being than do their respective counterparts who are nonreligious.

While a high correlation between religious faith and well-being is evident, researchers are still unable to answer the following question “Does religious faith result in people who have higher well-being or do people with higher well-being choose to practice religious faith?” Regardless of the answer, several factors promoting health and happiness are inherent in the practice of religious faith.

To begin, religious faith invites the believer into a relationship with God. This intimacy often results in prayer, worship, and meditation. All three have been known to lower stress, reduce depression, and promote happiness.  In addition, most believers attend worship services and/or small group activities within their church community. Regular attendance promotes social interaction and friendships with others. Increased socialization produces a network of support for the believer and in turn increases their level of well-being.

Many religions, especially Christianity, which is by far the dominant religion in the U.S., embody tenets of positive relationships with one’s neighbor and charitable acts, which may lead to a more positive mental outlook. Research has shown that people who are part of a religious community give more to charity, are happier, and healthier.

Finally, religious faith gives one the courage to find purpose even in dark times. Sacred writings and religious teachings include mechanisms for coping with setbacks and life’s problems. The simple belief that God is in control can result in reduced stress, worry, and anger.

One must agree that religion does not make people perfect, but rather serves to make them better. Countless generations of believers regulated their lives by faith. They believed not out of fear, but out of wonder. Undoubtedly, their lives were better for it and the same is true today.

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