Is there a benefit to a belief in God? 215



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Do you believe in a God? Do you have a religious affiliation? If you answered that question 50 years ago, the response would have been an overwhelming “Yes”. Today, many are saying, “No”. Religious affiliation has been declining sharply in all Western nations, most notably with respect to Christianity. In America, there has been a 8% decline in Christian affiliation from 2007 to 2014. In Australia, religious affiliation has dropped by 20% in the last 40 years.

Atheism is on the increase in many societies. With all the atrocities we hear of in the world today, it may not be surprising to see people losing faith in a higher being who watches over us. The “watch” has not been doing too well of late. But, this is not unique to this period of time. Atrocities and genocide have occurred throughout human history; so why are things so different now?

We live in an age that reveres science. People like Richard Dawkins, who wrote, “The God Delusion” and Stephen Hawking, are big exponents of atheism. Interestingly, Albert Einstein, who studied the laws of the universe, had a belief in a God. Who is right and who is wrong? That is the unanswerable question because the belief in a deity is not a scientific question but a philosophical one. Even if you are an atheist, that is just as much a belief system as a religion. Ironically, atheists follow many moral guidelines that are laid down in religious teachings such as the Ten Commandments.

Is there a benefit to a belief in God?

In a study by two researchers, Lim and Putnam it was found that people who went to church regularly were happier and healthier than those who had no religious affiliation. But, isn’t that just social interaction and a sense of community rather than having anything to do with a belief in God?

In a 2008 paper titled, Deliver Us From Evil: Religion as Insurance, Professor Andrew Clark surveyed 38,000 people in 22 countries. He found a very positive correlation between religious beliefs and life satisfaction, well-being and the ability to cope with stress. Prayer was important to many of the people in the survey. The religious also had lower levels of unemployment and less reliance on government social services.

Spirituality and belief in God has an overall positive impact on health. Studies have shown that depressed patients have a quicker recovery when they have a spiritual connection. Those who attend religious services regularly have a lower incidence of drug and alcohol abuse than the general population and have greater longevity.

So it appears that going to church or believing in a God has many benefits. Why then, do some atheists denigrate people who have a strong attachment to faith? Perhaps the media coverage of child abuse by some of the clergy has tainted the reputation of these institutions. We must acknowledge, however, that these are in the minority.

It is important to believe in something. It may not be the traditional notion of a God. Some people consider themselves to be spiritual, yet have never attended a church. If you are spiritual, you believe that there is some essence beyond just your physical body. You might call it Spirit, Universal Intelligence, Cosmic Intelligence or GOD (Grand Organised Designer). There are different ways to express that spirituality. True atheists believe in nothing outside the physical world. They believe that everything is random and has happened by chance – the universe is just an accident. In our pluralistic society, it is okay as well to have that belief system.

We feel that having worked with people in the healing field and having studied some of the natural laws, there is something beyond our limited human experience. We don’t pretend to know what it is, but it feels as if there is order, organisation, and intelligence both within our bodies and in the universe at large. Know this gives us a spiritual connection.

So what is your belief and is it serving you in your life? If you have thought about returning to a place of worship or reconnecting with your spiritual side, perhaps it is time to do so. Studies show that it will add value to your life. It is something for us all to ponder.


Tell us your thoughts below.

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  1. It depends if you receive any material benefits. Those who don’t will say no. Others, just ask any rich religious leader. Scientology, anyone? Vatican is too obvious.

    3 REPLY
    • What has material benefits got to do with religion and how would you get them? Benefits are spiritual, and doesn’t cost a cent. Just some of your time perhaps!

    • People, I was trying to be sarcastic not contemplating what religion is suppose to be?

      1 REPLY
      • Sarcasm doesn’t work in print. There are two ways that I’m aware of to indicate it with punctuation:
        ^sarcasm^ alternatively sarcasm~.

  2. No god for me….too many out there already…..I do have the guidelines of the Christian 10 Commandments story….good moral upbringing would serve all races…..most people need something to hang onto

    1 REPLY
    • Yes Heather, I believe in our Christian 10 Commandments – so many of us break so many of the Commandments every day. Goodness knows where this is going to lead us!

  3. I was brought up strict Catholic, with all its myths and predjucies. My passion is reading and the more I read about religion, the less I believed, and yes I have read the Bible. My father was a POW of the Japanese in WW2, he suffered unspeakable cruelty. One of my sons suicided, and the day after the first anniversary of my beloved husbands death, my precious grandaughter was murdered by her ex partner with an axe. I am a very spritual person and have a large loving family to support me. There is no God and I stopped believing a long time ago.

    14 REPLY
    • Michael Sam Ryan, Oh I have forgiven, for my own sake, but I will never forget. You don’t move on from tragedies, you just get stronger at living with them.

    • Margaret Markham-Costigan I do not see why one needs to forgive the unforgivable. If you have managed that then your an amazing woman I do not think i would be able to forgive, I hope your life gets easier.

    • Thank you Christina, and many thanks Libby. The easy part is forgiving, if I dont, then I run the risk of allowing what has happened to make me bitter. The hard part is forgetting, because you never can. I have a beautiful family and many blessings, God or no God.

      1 REPLY
      • Yes Margaret I feel for you – so much you have been through – yes its up to you whether you forgive – as its easy for others to tell you what to do – in your own mind you know how best to cope and as you say you have forgiven for your own peace of mind thats wonderful of you – but to forget – how can one forget such tragedies – I had an incident in my life where I was tested – and although I have forgiven like you I will never forget – as these things in life test one’s strength of character – to forgive has given me strength – but to forget is different – could have changed my whole world – others don’t realise what consequences could have been – unfortunately you had those experiences — which are memories – some bad ones in your case – good luck Margaret for your future

    • Margaret what a remarkable woman you are. So strong in the face of adversity. I lost my dad when I was 13 with cancer and my beautiful husband from a speedboat accident when I was 29,so I certainly am an atheist.

    • Sorry for your loss Margaret. I have lost loved ones too but I don’t see God as the cause. I see imperfect man as the cause. Everyone likes to blame God when there is no one else to blane

    • I don’t Blame God Paula, I don’t blame anybody really and your right, imperfect people do horrible things. I just don’t believe there is a God anymore. Thank you for your comment.

  4. I’m not religious as such but strongly believe in humanity, it’s amazing how many so called religious people are not very thoughtful towards others, particularly if they are of a different religion.

    4 REPLY
  5. I dont think there is a god dont know for sure, but will find out I know one thing , I dont belive in any religions live and let live is how I try to live

  6. I have my faith and it has sustained me through my trials. Faith is very personal and I suspect will differ from person to person. Faith is intangible and if you do not have it then I think it is impossible for anyone to explain it to you.

  7. No. I do not believe in myths. You will never convince me…been down that path and have a clear conviction it is a myth and nothing else.

  8. 5 REPLY
    • Haha. Read the Old Testament and God is a terrible nasty cruel old tyrant chucking huge tanties and smiting everything!

      1 REPLY
      • i agree with you. most people have never read the bible. they only quote a few passages. i am an atheist &i have read it. a lot of fairy tales . if god created us who or what created god,? that would have been millions of years ago. yet people have been on earth for a few thousand years.

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