Time Magazine thinks religion is healthy
I’m tired of magazines continuously talking about how faith is good for your health, or how it makes people feel better. You almost feel like there is a salesman at work, trying to coax you into going to church. I’ve already written on the notion being religious makes you live longer. So does cutting off your testicles. I don’t know about you other fellows, but I’d rather die with a smile on my face.
Time is now the latest mainstream magazine to feature an article on the health benefits of religion. The writer argues the brain is hard wired to be spiritual, and it only makes sense use religion to obtain the health benefits spirituality supposedly bestows. Chief among his arguments is people who meditate have better health and improved concentration. Even if that were true, there’s no reason to believe simple non-religious meditation would have the same effect. There’s a fundamental flaw in thinking that meditation is a religious affair. It’s really just sitting down, concentrating, and breathing correctly. Wow, who knew that would help boost memory, eh?
The article goes on to cite studies that show conflicting evidence regarding the power of prayer, despite the fact every serious peer reviewed study found there was no benefit to prayer (or in some cases, actual harm). The author suggests hospitals should work more closely with religious organizations to provide patients with their spiritual issues. I don’t deny for someone who is religious, having the attention and support of a religious community must indeed be great. But it would be irresponsible to assume both faith and medical science always work in tandem. Just ask patients who need the life saving research of stem cells whether or not mixing religion and science is a good idea. Ask Kara Neuman whether the mix of these two often incompatible pursuits is smart.
Even if religion was better for your health, it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s better for our world. How much conflict, bigotry, and hatred stems from religious belief? I wonder if a child being rushed to the emergency room after a suicide bomber attack would benefit from his rabbi being there…