Faith’s benefits

 It seems that every few weeks we read another report touting the health benefits of being religious. Scientists have discovered, for example, that people who study the Bible, pray and go to church are less likely to have high blood pressure. Another study has found that smokers who go to church live longer than smokers who don't. One researcher has summed it up: "If you're a smoker, get your butt in church."

Linda George, a sociology professor at Duke, observes that "religious people have better support systems, which keep them healthier," and she suggests that "the sense of meaning and kind of comfort that religious beliefs provide make them more resistant to stresses, both physical and social." The interaction of faith and medicine is increasingly recognized as a legitimate area of scientific research. Dale Matthews of Georgetown Medical School notes that "the faith factor has been demonstrated to have value."


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