Faith on Prescription

Research suggests that faith is associated with longer life and a wide range of physical and mental health benefits.

Program Transcript

atheists claim that belief in God is immature and subjective. They say that
religion is for the hesitant, the guilt-ridden, the excessively timid and those
lacking clear convictions with which to face life. Some of these atheists even
see religion as a cause of mental and physical illness. But a recent study done
by the British charity, Christian Medical Fellowship, known as the CMF, showed

on evidence from more than 1200 studies and 400 reviews, this study showed
that, far from being bad for health, being a practicing Christian can have
significant benefits to both physical and mental well-being.

evidence from these studies and reviews has shown an association between a life
of faith and a number of positive health benefits, including: protection from
illness; coping with illness, and faster recovery from it.

fact, of all the studies reviewed, 81 percent showed benefit and only 4 percent showed harm. The 4 percent were among religions who refuse
vaccination and blood transfusions.

what particular health benefits were identified in the report? Here are a few:

  • Increased
    well-being, happiness and life satisfaction
  • Lower
    rates of depression
  • Less
    anxiety (and related illnesses)
  • Lower
    rates of alcohol and drug abuse
  • Better
    adaptation to bereavement

study of 21,204 adults showed that those who attended church regularly had a
life expectancy up to 14 years longer than those who did not.

report goes on to suggest that modern doctors need to listen to their patients,
“who typically are more religious than their carers [caregivers].” It suggests that doctors
support spiritual care, because at a time of illness, spiritual issues often
rise to the surface – questions of personal worth, mortality and place in the
world – questions only faith can answer.

are strong links between emotional and physical health.

Even though faith can
have a very positive influence on health, we who believe in God and the
Christian faith should not claim that our faith is a guarantee of good
health and well-being. That is not always the case. The gospel is not a name it and claim it message about
health and wealth. The gospel is about spiritual health and well-being.

should not claim that belief in God is a guarantee of good health. But we can
point out that the claim some atheists make about belief in God being bad for
your health is simply not borne out by the facts.

CMF report concluded that in contrast to the idea that the Christian faith is
bad for your health, research suggests that faith is associated with longer
life and a wide range of physical and mental health benefits.

Joseph Tkach, Speaking of Life.