But this problem is far too important to be left to government. Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.  William V. D'Antonio: "The family and religion: Exploring a Changing Relationship," Journal for the Scientific Study of religion," Vol. Robert Rector, "Combating family Disintegration, crime, and Dependence: welfare Reform and Beyond," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. These factors are closely linked with our culture. Congress, and the Senate in particular, should lead a new national debate on the renewed role of religion in American life. 674-676. Unfortunately, the effects of unhealthy religious practice are used to downplay the generally positive influence of religion. ", "Middletown," one of the century's classic sociological research projects, studied the lives of inhabitants of a typical American town, first in the 1920s and for the third time in the 1980s.  A 1991 study of two national samples also concluded that the degree to which people prayed and participated in religious services significantly affected their health status, regardless of age.. 665-672. Aided by this sense and these principles, an individual can avoid the unnecessary suffering that stems from bad choices and attain the benefits that flow from good choices followed steadily through life. 279-289. Religious affiliation alone did not have these effects, but religious behavior did. 1166-1168. Well, hereâs the thing â it isnât so much what a person believes, but what follows as their behaviour that is harmful.  Beck et al., "Religious Heritage and Premarital Sex: Evidence from a National Sample of Young Adults.  Wesley Shrum, "religion and Marital Instability: Change in the 1970s?" Issue a directive to all federal agencies making clear that cooperation between government entities and the social, medical, and educational services of faith-based organizations does not violate separation of church and state.  R. W. Williams, D. B. Larson, R. E. Buckler, R. C. Heckman, and C. M. Pyle, "religion and Psychological Distress in a Community Sample," Social Science Medicine, Vol. 22 (1983), pp. 75 (1982), pp. "A Nationwide Study of Families Who Perceive Themselves as Strong," family Perspectives, Vol. The United States of America and the now-defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are the only major modern states to deny funding to faith-based schools. For researchers and those who commission research, there is an obvious need to measure whether the person's practice of religion, when it is present, is more intrinsic or extrinsic.  Many more recent studies replicate this finding.  Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O'Malley, "Explaining the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults: Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use," Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. Religion in the United States is remarkable in its high adherence level compared to other developed countries.  Orville S. Walters, "The Religious Background of Fifty Alcoholics," Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 3 (1988), pp. Other work on the same theme shows that this is not confined to Protestants, but that it applies across a longer period of history and across denominational lines. Strong and repeated evidence indicates that the regular practice of religion has beneficial effects in nearly every aspect of social concern and policy. Review of Religious Research, Vol. , Louis A. Cancellaro of the Department of Psychiatry at the Veterans Administration in Johnson City, Tennessee, writes that, "Like their fathers, addicts are less religiously involved than their normal peers, and during adolescence, less frequently make decisions either to become more interested in religion or to commit themselves to a re ligious philosophy to live by. Why freedom of expression suffers in some other countries might be due to their lack of cognizance of why freedom of speech is essential. They are more likely to see themselves as in control of their own futures, whereas those who do not attend church are more likely to see themselves as victims of oppression. The widespread practice of religious beliefs can only benefit the nation, and the task of reintegrating religious practice into American life while protecting and respecting the rights of non-practice -- rights that, despite persistent demagoguery on the subject, remain totally unthreatened -- is one of the nation's most important tasks.  In fact, the rate of church attendance predicts the suicide rate better than any other factor (including unemployment, traditionally regarded as the most powerful variable). Conversely, several traits that religious people would regard as diminishing themselves, at least in some situations -- self-assertion, self-expression, and a high opinion of oneself -- are weighted positively. Our culture determines the structure of our thinking, which â¦ 28 (1989), pp. 251-267. It is a beautiful thing to see how we have grown. The great divide between marriage status, marriage satisfaction and family size is... between those who identify with a church or denomination and those who do not. Religion is used to guide us know what is wrong or right, 6. Intrinsic practice is God-oriented and based on beliefs which transcend the person's own existence. Religion enhances self-importance. To deny financial support to parents who cannot afford to send their children to religiously oriented schools is to deny such education to those children who may need it most and confine it to those rich enough to afford it.  Larson and Larson, "The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health," p. 71. Another third regard religion as a very important, though not the single most dominant, factor in their lives.. 193-202.  For instance, Congress has been funding only research projects that ignore or bury the effects of religion while scrupulously trying to avoid any initiative that in some way might advance religious belief or practice. 5 (1967), pp.  Amoateng and Bahr, "religion, family, and Adolescent Drug Use.". , When policymakers consider America's grave social problems, including violent crime and rising illegitimacy, substance abuse, and welfare dependency, they should heed the findings in the professional literature of the social sciences on the positive consequences that flow from the practice of religion.. The concept of human rights empowers people and tells them that they deserve dignity from society, whether itâs the government or their work environment. Believers of religion will be charitable with time and money, hoping to relieve some of the burdens a society faces, such as hunger, clothing needs, housing needs and overall spiritual counseling. Religion gives people hope, faith, and belief for a better future during hard times, 4. 49 (1987), pp. But not everyone agrees that this is best for society. The Sharia law is based on Quran teachings well as Christian nations also base their laws on the teachings of the bible, Religious books are all-around books that can be used for a lot of things and even offering advice to people but in this case, they are actually being used to make laws especially with confusing and sensitive crimes, You could see even most Christian nations have something to do God on their national emblems and people are sworn in using a religious book to prove their honesty in courts of law, Actually, if Christians follow the 10 commandments there would be little or no crime as most offenses lie within not following these laws, On the contrary, this kind of setup makes it hard to separate religion from the state, The world could run out of control if not for religions laying principles for their followers to abide by, Interestingly a couple of people are only doing the right thing because they fear to go to hell, which means if people wake up today and they are told there is no hell or heaven you might get some surprise reactions and behaviors from them, So religion is acting as a control to a ticking time bomb to earth from tearing its self apart though one of its greatest setbacks is lack of evidence to back some teachings and inconsistency which make a lot of people give up and end up atheists, And religious leaders failing to practice what they preach, But as long as religion remains, the world will be a good place to live in with each other, Your email address will not be published. 3 (August 1987), pp. ", Four years later, Professor Arland Thornton of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan likewise concluded from a Detroit study of the same relationship that "These data indicate strong intergenerational transmission of religious involvement. This essentially is what has happened in the vast areas of social science research financed by the federal government that is among the work covered in this study. Religion doesn't exist in a vacuum. Unpublished but peer reviewed, it is available from family of the Americas, P.O.  K. F. Ferraro and C. M. Albrecht-Jensen, "Does religion Influence Adult Health?" Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 135-147.  John K. Cochran, "Another Look at Delinquency and Religiosity," Sociological Spectrum, Vol.  M. Baker and R. Gorsuch, "Trait Anxiety and Intrinsic-Extrinsic Religiousness," Journal for the Scientific Study of religion, Vol. Personal meaning is so important to individuals because it is what makes them unique as a person. , In 1991, David Larson, adjunct professor at the Northwestern and Duke University Schools of Medicine and president of the National Institute of Healthcare Research, completed a systematic review of studies on religious commitment and personal well-being. About two- thirds of people living in the U.S. over the age of 65 stated that religion was important in their lives while more than half the people under the age of 50 stated that religion was not important. The plain fact is that religion plays a powerful role in the personal and social lives of most Americans. 239-252. Despite this shortcoming, the studies cited up to now do not distinguish between these types of religious practice, yet show a very positive outcome. Even in debatable instances, religion acts the final verdict on whether something is wrong or right and also helps us live with each other in harmony through doing the right thing, Even though different religions cause disunity among us, Having one religion in a given society is actually going to  Larson and Larson, "The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health," p. 87. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) uses religion, invoking a Higher Power to help alcoholics recover from addiction.  Brent C. Miller, Robert Higginson, J. Kelly McCoy, and Terrance D. Olson, "family Configuration and Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior," Population and Environment, Vol. They must emphasize the need for religious formation. G. E. Rekers (Ventura, Cal.  Larson and Larson, "The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health.". This does not make sense for any society -- and it has weakened ours. B. Glueck (New York: Grune and Stratton, 1946). The President should appoint, and the Senate should confirm, judges who are sensitive to the role of religion in public life.  Rodney Stark, now of the University of Washington, found the same in a 1970 study: The higher the level of religious attendance, the less stress suffered when adversity had to be endured. Fitzgerald fellow in family and cultural issues at The Heritage Foundation. Those with high self-esteem think of God primarily as loving, while those with low self-esteem think of God primarily as punitive. For instance, both male and female Texas high-schoolers found that religious beliefs gave meaning to their lives and reduced the incidence of depression among them.. In conclusion the ancient Egyptians needed religion for their world and life to run smoothly â¦  Naida M. Parson and James K. Mikawa, "Incarceration and Nonincarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches," The Journal of Psychology, Vol. Religious teachers, without being utilitarian, would agree. Importance of preserving cultural heritage lies in the sense of belonging and unity that it offers. 149 (1978), pp. , The impact of religious practice on teenage sexual behavior also can be seen at the state level: States with higher levels of aggregate religiousness have lower rates of teenage pregnancy. They are less likely to say they pray regularly, and college graduates are more likely than others to â¦ Thus, to choose the self-description "I am orthodoxly religious" is to detract from one's mental health standing. By contrast, "extrinsics" are more likely to be dogmatic, authoritarian, and less responsible, to have less internal control, to be less self-directed, and to do less well in their studies. 24 (1987), pp.  Avtar Singh, "Note: Religious Involvement and Anti-Social Behavior," Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. This link between religion and prosperity has important implications for the poor. ", Despite the attitude of many professionals, Gallup surveys continue to indicate that one-third of the American people regard religious commitment as the most important dimension in their lives. 30 (1991), pp. It is a powerful answer to many of our most significant social problems, some of which, including out-of-wedlock births, have reached catastrophic proportions. A policy can be friendly to the general practice of religion, and to the many different faiths in a pluralistic society, without in any way implying the establishment of a particular religion. They are more optimistic about their futures; They have better relationships with their parents; They are more likely to dismiss racism as an obstacle to reaching their goals; They are more likely to have serious and realistic goals for their futures; They are more likely to see the world as a friendly place in which they can achieve, rather than as a hostile world with powerful forces arrayed against them; and. Stephen L. Carter, professor of law at Yale University, points out that "One sees a trend in our political and legal cultures toward treating religious beliefs as arbitrary and unimportant, a trend supported by rhetoric that implies that there is something wrong with religious devotion. Religion is a significant aspect of our lives even in the modern society since it can become the only thing that can console and give a person an opportunity to reflect on the things that happen in his/her life and restore his/her balance. By contrast, non-attendees had higher mortality rates for such other diseases as cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema, and arteriosclerosis, in addition to other cardiovascular diseases and even suicide.  W. T. Maramot, "Diet, Hypertension and Stroke," in Nutrition and Health, ed. Religious commitment also had other benefits. The Relation of Church-Going and Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Black Male Youths from Inner-City poverty Tracts," Working Paper Series No. , Crime and Delinquency Religious leaders, who should be in the forefront of moral and spiritual renewal, have been cowed into a strange timidity. Weâve all seen the members of Westboro Baptist Church picketing military funerals, their kids in tow, waving their âGod Hates Fagsâ signs. Some religious influences have a modest impact whereas another portion seem like the mental equivalent of nuclear energy.... More generally, social scientists are discovering the continuing power of religion to protect the family from the forces that would tear it down.". 25-45. Outcomes for the two sets of patients differed significantly: Those prayed for ha d noticeably fewer post-operative congestive heart failures, fewer cardiopulmonary arrests, less pneumonia, and less need for antibiotics. But whether the question is about beliefs, practices, identity, the veneration of tradition, or some other familiar view of religion, most Americans answer it one way and most Western Europeans another.  Research on mortality patterns among the poor confirmed a decade later that those who went to church regularly lived longer.  Fagan, "The Real Root Causes of crime: The Breakdown of marriage, family, and Community. Robert Klassen, while interning at the Heritage Foundation, was of immense help as my research assistant. 410-423. Welfare Dependency Professors Darwin L. Thomas and Gwendolyn C. Henry of Brigham Young University's Department of Sociology sum up earlier research on the quest by young people for meaning and love: "Research on love clearly indicates that for many, love in the social realm cannot clearly be separated from love that contains a vertical or a divine element.... Young people see love as the central aspect of the meaning of life; they believe that religion is still important in helping form judgments and attitudes. Religion has provided for a universal language and culture among those who believe in a higher power. 30 (1990), pp. Religion is viewed as immoral: Many people view religion as a burden on society or themselves.  Nick Stinnet, G. Saunders, John DeFrain, and A. Parkhurst. 19 (1991), pp. Political leaders as diverse as President Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich all have articulated popular concerns and fears about the level of the breakdown of American society. 18 (1957), pp. 6-7. The results were notably successful: Out-of-wedlock births among the at-risk population were almost eliminated. Some 78 percent pray at least once per week, and 57 percent pray daily.  Steven Stack: "The Effects of Religious Commitment on Suicide: A Cross-National Analysis," Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 1656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1985. " This is true for both males and females. they are and accept them irrespective of the differences, In that way, religion is able to tackle growing vices which makes the world a better place for everyone to live in. 47 (1985), pp. 165-176. 3.  Allan C. Carlson, "religion and the family: The Troubled and Enduring Bond," The family in America, Vol. , The parental attitude to religion also is important in dealing with alcohol use. 48 (1979), pp. As an organized social group, it is our duty to address these concerns and work towards the betterment of society.  John Muffler, John Langrod, and David Larson, "'There Is a Balm in Gilead': religion and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation," in Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, ed. The First Amendment to the country's Constitution prevents the government from having any authority in religion, and guarantees the free exercise of religion. They learn well, make good citizens, and are invariably pleasant company. Religious affiliation and regular church attendance are near the top of the list for most people in explaining their own happiness and serve as good predictors of who is most likely to have this sense of well-being. , Significantly, involvement in any religious denomination or group generally decreases the level of drug use regardless of whether the denomination teaches against the use of alcohol, although denominations that teach against any use of drugs or alcohol exhibit the highest rates of drug avoidance.  Throughout this study, "church" and "churchgoer" are used in the generic sense to indicate church, synagogue, or any other place of worship and an individual attending any such institution.  R. D. Kahoe, "Personality and Achievement Correlates on Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religious Orientations," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. religion performs the foundational work that ensures the success of secular society's other four basic institutions: family, school, marketplace, and government. Despite this general hostility among social science and mental health professionals, the empirical evidence shows religion to be a very powerful and positive part of everyday life. They are "mission" territories that beckon loudly.  This was observed by Carl Jung, one of the most influential pioneers of modern psychology and psychotherapy: "Among all my patients in the second half of my life... there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.  Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, "Remarks by the President on Religious Liberty in America at James Madison High School, Vienna, Virginia, July 12, 1995.". Congress should pass a resolution affirming that data on religious practice are important to the nation, to policymakers, and to the research needed to inform the public debate.  Charles E. Joubert, "Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape, and Illegitimacy," Psychological Reports, Vol. 3 (1976), pp. 723-727. 327-347. And it will transform the community if most people can be persuaded to become church members. " Other evidence exists that people with a religious commitment, whether young or old, who become emotionally or psychologically distressed are much more likely to seek help.. The census for the year 2000 ought to ask about frequency of attendance at church or synagogue. Religion is very important for a society to find peace and prosperity at the same time. "Its first Christian inhabitants were only too anxious to explain what they were doing and why," explains historian Paul Johnson. Attendance at religious services is also very stable within generations across time.  Kenneth L. Woodward et al., "Talking to God," Newsweek, January 6, 1992, pp. 381-395.  See, for example, Brian C. Martinson and Larry L. Bumpass, "The Impact of family Background on Premarital Births among Women under 30 in the United States," NSFH Working Paper No. The first is religious beliefs which are established by several religious faiths followed by people. The widespread practice of religious beliefs is one of America's greatest national resources. 1, Part 1 (1994), p. 10, and Jon W. Hoelter, "Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptability," Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, Vol. Here are three reasons why religion is good for society and three more reasons why it may not be as good as we think. â¦  These findings also have been replicated. Americans of religious belief should not be bullied into believing that in all things related to the public good, religion is to remain off limits. The gathering of data that touch on religious practice often is blocked in research on social issues funded by the federal government. 432-443. For over two decades, however, the level of religious practice has been shown convincingly to be equally important. 362-374. Religion influences cultures, but it is also influenced by culture. , A four-year longitudinal, stratified, random-sample study of high school students in the Rocky Mountain region, published in 1975, demonstrated that religious involvement significantly decreased drug use, delinquency, and premarital sex, and also increased self-control. In his historic majority opinion in the 1947 Everson v. Board of education case (330 U.S. 1), notes Raspberry, Justice Hugo Black wrote that government is forbidden to "pass laws which aid any religion, aid all religion, or prefer one religion over another.". This is why specific rights like the right to assemble are so crucial because no society is perfect.  The author would like to thank Dr. David Larson, President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, for his generous guidance and assistance in providing much resource material.  John Rohrbaugh and Richard Jessor, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, "Religiosity in Youth: A Personal Control Against Deviant Behavior," Journal of Personality, Vol. Most religious research to date does not measure or differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic practice of religion.  Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Kolata, Sex in America: A Definitive Survey (Boston: Little Brown 1995), Chapter 6. For many decades, the once-prominent place of religion in society has been eroded.  Research and Forecasts Inc., The Connecticut Mutual Life Report on American Values in the 1980's (Hartford: Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co., 1981). Gordon Allport, his successor at Harvard in the late 1960s, concluded: "I feel equally sure that mental health is facilitated by an intrinsic, but not an extrinsic, religious orientation. This general finding, replicated again and again, also holds true specifically for black teenage girls, the group with the highest teen pregnancy rates among all demographic subgroups.  See Patrick F. Fagan "Social Breakdown in America," in issues '96 (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, forthcoming 1996). 22, No. In perceiving something as good or bad, our biases play a role and so does our way of thinking. They further concluded that healthy family dynamics and practices are themselves caused to a powerful degree by the presence or absence of religious beliefs and practices.  B. Schlesinger, "Functioning Families: Focus of the 1980s," family Perspectives, Vol. 16 (1982), pp. This research should focus on the social issues which continue to increase the burden borne by the American taxpayer, including crime, drug use, health of the elderly, out-of-wedlock births, and poverty.  For instance, see Lee Ellis, "Religiosity and Criminality from the Perspective of Arousal Theory," Journal of Research in crime and Delinquency, Vol. Columnist William Raspberry has put his finger on the problem. 478-506, esp. 811-822. Religious tolerance also teaches individuals to be more loving and trusting while enacting the trait of love thy neighbor and thy enemy. 1166-1168. " McNamara continues: "In [the] typical social science analysis, the demands of the inner life are neglected and personal agency and autonomy exercised in the choice to examine one's own life and put it in order according to an internalized ethic of repentance... is not acknowledged. , In general, intrinsics are less anxious about life's ups and downs, while extrinsics are more anxious. , There is a tension between practitioners of social science and religious belief. 121-147. This is confirmed in numerous studies, including a 1991 analysis of the federal government's National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Frost, and Stephen J. Wisecarver, "Church Attendance, Meaningfulness of religion on, and Depressive Symptomology Among Adolescents," Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. p. 483. Consider also the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, one of the most widely used of all psychological tests. No other dimension of the nation's life, other than the health of the family (which the data show also is tied powerfully to religious practice) should be of more concern to those who guide the future course of the United States. The beneficial effects of religious worship on family stability clearly indicate one way to help accomplish this.  Ranald Jarrell, Department of Education, Arizona State University West, personal communication, October 1995. 3 (September 21, 1995), DHHS/CDC/NCHS, Table 15. ", Suicide In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery. , Younger people also tend to experience fewer of the anxieties of growing up if they are religious. In addition... the addicts' fathers were much less involved in regular or frequent religious practices, than were a parallel group of control fathers.... Religiously, the mother was far more involved than her husband, the difference in regular religious participation between the addict's parents being twice that for the control's parents.... Religiously, the addicts were significantly less involved in reading the Bible, and praying." , Significantly, cohabitation before marriage poses a high risk to later marital stability, and premarital cohabitation is much less common among religious Americans. Marital Satisfaction 149 (November 1969), pp.  Almost three decades before these findings, Orville Walters, then a research fellow at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in Topeka, Kansas, found that alcoholics who came from religious backgrounds tended to have mothers who were highly religious but fathers who were more non-religious.  C. E. Kennedy, Janet Cleveland, and Walter Schumm, "family Commitment and Religious Commitment: Parallel Processes," (Manhattan, Kan.: Department of family and Child Development, Kansas State University, 1983). ", At the heart of religious practice is prayer: Americans pray even more than they go to church. Only religious leaders can provide this all-important service to society. In the third edition, religious examples were used only as illustrations in discussions of mental illness, such as delusions, incoherence, and illogical thinking. 89-104. Danny Wedding (Baltimore: Mosby Year Book Inc., 1990), pp. 1026, March 17, 1995. " In yet another study conducted during the 1970s and 1980s, professors Nick Stinnet of the University of Alabama and John DeFrain of the University of Nebraska sought to identify family strengths. Indeed, Alcoholics Anonymous, the major organization combating alcoholism in America, has known for over half a century that the most effective element in its program is its religious or spiritual component. Us the proper way of worship inability to inspire regular religious worship on stability... `` Talking to God, '' involved a matched control design, pp anxious! 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