The results of American research were published on Thursday revealing that people who practise religion live up to 6 years longer than their agnostic and atheist peers. Academics from Ohio State University analysed more than 1,500 obituaries from across the USA and found persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives. Interestingly, volunteerism and involvement in social organisations only accounted for a little less than one year of the longevity boost that religious affiliation provided.
The researchers suggest that this longer life expectancy may be due to a combination of social support, stress – relieving techniques and abstinence from unhealthy habits found among religious people.
It’s not surprising that secular research backs up Biblical principles is it? I trust that we all know that it is good for our health, both spiritual and physical, to attend a Christian church! The day before this research was published a friend happened to refer me to Deuteronomy 5v33: “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess”.
Clearly these are general principles and indeed the Deuteronomy promise particularly applied to Israel; sadly we also all know specific – and often tragic – examples of Christians who have died at a young age. However, just two points in the limited space I have available:
- Psalm 92 reminds us of the call to flourish, bear fruit and stay fresh and green in old age (and clearly the young are not excluded!); and
- John Wesley used to say that “our people die well”. May CCBC people “live and die well!”
Peace and Grace