Saturday, November 13, 2021

How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion

Does religion provide objective benefits to followers? David DeSteno has spent time analyzing religious practices and how they provide concrete benefit to adherents.  Many rituals provide concrete provable benefits of themselves. The act of interacting as a group helps the members of the group. Actions such as praying and meditation also have provable benefit. Benefits accrue to those that actively participate and follow a religion. Merely claiming to be a member of a religion is not enough. 

Rituals for moving to different phases of life are also beneficial. Going through a rite of passage helps one to better feel able to take on new responsibilities. The faith in afterlife helps people to better cope with death. (Though one needs to have a strong faith to benefit. Week followers that question their religion tend to have even more difficulty coping.) Even practices such as ritual heelings have shown to help people to recover from illness. (The placebo effect, ritual and belief all help.) 

Religions have accumulated a long history of actions to benefit their followers. They have also provided a basis for moral behavior. Today, religious adherence has faltered. Ironically, many of the stodgy traditions are what people are seeking in religious practice. Science has shown that having a strong faith is valuable. Many people are attempting to extract beneficial components (like meditation). However, the best benefits accrue to those that take on the whole package.

No comments:

Post a Comment