Church Attendance Can Prolong Life
In his book, Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey says, "When Dr. David Larson was training for a career in psychiatry, faculty advisers warned him, 'You'll harm your patients if you try to combine your Christian faith with the practice of psychiatry. It's clinically impossible.' Instructors insisted that religion usually harms a person's mental health."
This troubled Larson so much that he made a study along these lines for fifteen years. He discovered that most of the research ignored the subject of religion altogether. What he did learn from the research (that did include religion) proved to be pleasantly surprising. A sampling:
Regular church attendees live longer and are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. Prison inmates who make a religious commitment are less likely than their counterparts to return to jail after release. He also found that people who attend church regularly are more than twice as likely to remain married.
Regular church attendees
live longer and are less likely
to abuse alcohol or drugs ...
and are more than twice as
likely to remain married.
Larson also pointed out the disastrous effects that broken homes have on families. For example, divorce dramatically increases the likelihood of an early death. It also disrupts mental health, especially for men. And it "takes a devastating toll on children. Proportionately twice as many criminals come from single-parent homes. Indeed, family structure proves more effective than economic status in predicting a life in crime. Children from broken homes are more likely to do poorly in school, abuse drugs, and attempt suicide."1
Having come from a broken home I know too well the devastating effect it has on the children. If it weren't for the grace of God, I don't know where I would be today.
We simply cannot emphasize the tremendous importance of daily committing and trusting one's life to God, acknowledging him in everything we do, and being actively involved in a church that believes in and teaches the Word of God and whose members live in harmony with its positive teachings.
2. Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places, p. 81-83.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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