Pontifications

Pontifications


Faith as Stress-buster? See, Lent is good for you!

posted by David Gibson

Stressed out.jpgThe latest neuroscientific study (such research may be the economy’s lone growth industry) indicates that religious faith can help people chill when things go wrong–and that they will go wrong is one of life’s few guarantees these days.

According to this story in Canada’s National Post:

“These results suggest that religious conviction provides a framework for understanding and acting within one’s environment, thereby acting as a buffer against anxiety and minimizing the experience of error,” said the study published in the journal Psychological Science.

Led by Michael Inzlicht, a University of Toronto psychology professor, researchers measured activity in the part of the brain — the anterior cingulate cortex — that is important for self control and acts as a warning signal that a mistake is being made.

“It acts as a cortical alarm bell,” said Prof. Inzlicht. “And the finding is that the more people believe in God the less the cortical alarm bell rings.”

Those with the deepest religious belief were more likely to let mistakes roll off their backs, while those who tend toward atheism were more likely to suffer stress and anxiety after committing an error.

“Karl Marx talked about religion being the opiate of the masses. Maybe he was on to something,” Prof. Inzlicht said.

Well, yes and no. As Marx says in the phrase before that famous quotation:

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation.

There is some interesting ambiguity there. Not that you’ll convince atheists, or that atheists will flock to religion for some stress relief. That’s why monks invented beer. (And pretzels, also a Lenten “practice.”)



Advertisement
Comments read comments(1)
post a comment
Charles Cosimano

posted March 7, 2009 at 3:08 am


For alleviating stress, no amount of faith can even come close to going to the bank and making a deposit.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks...
So...my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from PoliticsDaily.com to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That means, in short, that I'll have to sign off from blogging h

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, "Patr

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have chec

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's contribution in developing countries" were key topics of discussio

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.