Religion consumes up to a tenth of economic productivity in some societies. So it must produce corresponding benefits. What are they? By religion, I mean any supernatural belief system that is invoked with the intention of altering the outcomes of an individual, or group. Clearly, there are many different types of religion ranging from the animism practiced in small-scale hunter-gatherer societies to the more grandiose efforts carried on in Egypt at the time of construction of the Great Pyramids.
Religion is good for you: emotionally, physically, and economically. Who knew? Not the secularists. In 2000, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book, “Bowling Alone.” Putnam argued that Americans’ reduced interest in civic engagement—by which he meant not only things of a political nature but also things like the PTA, Boy Scouts, groups like the Elks, and, yes, bowling leagues—had reduced the store of what is called “social capital.”
Religious services aren’t just good for your soul — they might be good for your health. A new study, released Monday in a journal published by the American Medical Association, says that those who attend church services more often actually have a better chance of staying alive in the long run. Over a 20-year span, the study surveyed a group of more than 76,000 female nurses, most of whom were Catholic and Protestant. At the end of 20 years, more than 13,000 of them had died. The women who went to religious services more than once a week, it turned out, were 33 percent less likely to be in that group who died, compared to those who never attended services.