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Study Suggests Worship Services Reduces Risk of Death

posted by nsymmonds

JERUSALEM (RNS) Regularly attending religious services may significantly reduce the risk of death, according to a comprehensive study by researchers at Yeshiva University and its medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Findings of the study were published in Psychology and Health, the official journal of the European Health Psychology Society.
In the study, researchers evaluated the religious practices of 92,395 post-menopausal women from a wide variety of faiths participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national long-term study on women’s health issues.
The study subjects who said they attend religious services at least once a week showed a 20 percent decrease in the overall risk of mortality compared with those not attending services at all.
The participants, aged 50 to 79, were asked how often they attend services, about their religious affiliation and whether they derive comfort from religious practices.
The YU/Einstein study adjusted for the social support many derive from participation in communal organizations and group activities linked to a church, a synagogue, temple or mosque.
“What was fascinating was that even after controlling for those sorts of factors that lead to well-being, there was a significant reduction in mortality,” said co-lead researcher Dr. Eliezer Schnall, clinical assistant professor of psychology at Yeshiva University. It would be “worthwhile,” Schnall said, to study men and younger people to determine their risk of mortality.
Schnall’s partner in the study, Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, professor of epidemiology and population health at Einstein, said the natural next step “is to figure out how the effect of religiosity is translated into biological mechanisms that affect rates of survival.
However, we do not infer causation even from a prospective study, as that can only be done through a clinical trial,” she said.
By Michele Chabin
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



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Your Name

posted November 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm


The Risk of Dying? You mean there is something we can do to stop us from dying? Seriously, if going to Church makes you so satisfied with all its components that would be a great thing on your physical system. If flying your airplane does that for you on a sunny day, that would be fine, too, or anything else that gives you peace, and brings love into your day. Many people who don’t go to weekly services keep God in their lives, and wouldn’t live one day without a Bible on their lap reading it. My Grandma was like that, and many others are. If the same people going to church once or twice a week don’t take care of their health in every other way just the routine and the happiness of routine won’t heal physical problems. But happiness can help all the physical problems that we all end up with.



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Henrietta22

posted November 25, 2008 at 8:14 pm


Forgot again. Puppy had to go out.



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pagansister

posted November 25, 2008 at 9:49 pm


Seems like I have read something like that previously. As you say, Henrietta, doing whatever makes you happy most certainly should contribute to a longer life. Doesn’t always work like that, but it can’t hurt.



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Your Name

posted November 25, 2008 at 11:47 pm


OK jokesters, the first one to suggest you live longer because it is a great place to catch a quick nap has to stay after and clean out the pew racks! And the people helping them are the clever knaves who say that it only makes it seem like you are living longer. I’ve heard them all – and said a few myself.
I agree that whatever brings you a moments peace helps with longevity. However, even as someone who tends to sneeze in the presence of organized religion, I have also learned the benefits of worship. Setting all the -ologies to one side for now, there is some power to being in a room when a hymn everyone knows is being sung – whether you are singing along or not. There is power in the collective silence during Pastoral Prayers (until the hackers can’t hold it any longer). Christmas Eve and Easter morning have a presence and energy that cannot be overlooked. But even more there is that same feeling when your kid or grand kid takes a leading role in the service for the first time. As a clergy person I realize that some Sundays are better than others. But the cummulative effect can be something considerable to ponder. I do not for a moment think it is the only way to live a longer – or better – more fulfilling life. But I am convinced it is a good way to do it. See you in church?! (Sunday at 10:00 am)



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jestrfyl

posted November 25, 2008 at 11:50 pm


O Buggers! That goofy code has undone me again. It is celarly a mark of prejudice against we who are dyslexic (and so is the word “dyslexic”). I spend too much time trying to get those fool letters in order – and i have a terrible time distinguishing between q-g-b-d and others of that ilk. ARGH! Anyway the above post from 11:47 was mine – jestrfyl – and I hope to see you all in the front pew!



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nnmns

posted November 26, 2008 at 12:08 am


I kind of guessed that. :)



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Henrietta22

posted November 26, 2008 at 11:14 am


I’ll be there in spirit jestrfyl. You are so right about the feelings that worship give you with like-minded people, friends in the Church. And when I find a church that feels that gay people are as equal in religion and rights as we are I’ll be there again. In the meantime we still give to the charities that we did in Church in our vicinity, and others that we feel close to. And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!



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pagansister

posted November 26, 2008 at 6:49 pm


Even without the sign in, jestrfyl, I too knew the post was yours. Your first sentence gave you away! :o)
HAPPY THANKGIVING to you all. Enjoy! I know I have a lot to be thankful for….and part of it is the friends on this site.



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cknuck

posted November 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm


. jest I knew it was you went I read no mention of God as a benefactor of longevity or peace, pretty much man made logic.



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cknuck

posted November 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm


should read “when” not went.



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jestrfyl

posted November 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm


Ah, ck,
I was writing not necessarily as a person of the Church, but simply as a missionary to those who have found church to be difficult or uncomfortable. You might say I was singing, “Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Comfort and joy!” You may rest assured I sing the all of the carol with both a straight face and heartfelt earnest. It is to this I also preach and teach. Well, I may have my tongue in cheek at the “save us all from Satan’s power” but I am clear on the “when we have gone astray”. In a theology where God is our extreme benefactor, there is no room for some measly weasel “Satan”. We manage to generate enough evil as a species that we do not need some metaphysical malevolent mechanic mucking up the works independent of our own devices.
Sing it with me… “God rest you merry Gentlefolk, let NOTHING you dismay/ Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day…” (OK, he was probably actually born in August, about the time that Herod ‘the Great’ ascended to power, but the poetry works where the history fades)
HAPPY FIRST DAY OF ADVENT tomorrow!



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Your Name

posted November 29, 2008 at 5:41 pm


That’s real peurtty talk feller. I don’t know how you can deny the existence of ole slew foot when Jesus acknowledges him much. Jesus spoke quite often about hell and Satan, Jesus was so serious about the warnings that you take so lightly. Paul called that kind of talk “false Gospel.” I say you can’t have it both ways.
I hope you enjoy advent also.
blessings and peace



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cknuck

posted November 29, 2008 at 5:42 pm


oops forgot my name



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Your Name

posted November 30, 2008 at 6:18 pm


Stop trying to make a pentecostal minister out of jestr, ck. ;) You can see God in some people, and in some people you can see Satan, or evil. Jesus spoke in metaphors, and parables.



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Thelemite

posted December 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm


I doubt the funding for irrelevant studies like these is going to run out any time soon. Of course, it will always be faith-based subject material (we could do a study on people who like spearmint vs peppermint and find out who lives longer, but then the absurdity might become a little more obvious). I’m sure it won’t be long before we hear some research that shows how Christians have lower cholesterol levels than non-Christians, or how believers are able to get more even tans than atheists. Just don’t count on any studies that demonstrate the direct effects of belief on longevity or anything else any time soon.



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cknuck

posted December 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm


This is a short and interesting read so it would pay to read it, no where in the article does it mention Christians. So I am confused by the need in the previous post to attack Christians. Oh well whatever makes you happy.
This is not the first study which suggests worshipers enjoy long lives.



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Your Name

posted December 2, 2008 at 1:45 pm


If you weren’t so eager to take offense, cknuck, you’d notice that I threw the word “Christians” as a general reference to hypothetical studies that may be done in the future. Please, please do show me anything that resembles an “attack.”
The fact that this isn’t the first study like this was precisely my point (and several of them have been Christian-centered, by the way). The thread common to all of them is that not one of the studies has shown that belief is even a factor in health. At best one study suggested that the sense of community provided by worshippers may positively influence health, but there is still nothing to imply that what you believe or how strongly you believe in it make any difference whatsoever. Even so, the studies keep rolling out one after another as a means of giving the more ignorant faithful “proof” that belief is better than unbelief.



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Thelemite

posted December 2, 2008 at 1:47 pm


Timed out – last one was mine.



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cknuck

posted December 2, 2008 at 7:54 pm


in what world do you live in where the quote “ignorant faithful is not a derogatory attack? Be honest.



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Thelemite

posted December 3, 2008 at 10:20 am


It was derogatory to the ignorant faithful, sure. But you’ll notice the wording allows for the existence of non-ignorant faithful, too. You really should stop skimming the comments specifically for something to take offense to.
I’ll gladly deride the ignorant faithless, if that will make you feel better. What can I say, I’m just not a fan of ignorance.



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