Science: G-d Is Better For You & Your Children Than Secularism
Posted by Mats on 24/04/2009
Atheists and skeptics, you can put down that Prozac -the “archaic belief” in G-d is scientifically proven to be good for you and your children.
Prominent scientists show the efficacy of a true belief in God to treat anxiety.
David Rosmarin was a sophomore in college in 1999 when he began to feel anxious. His nervousness — about academic stresses and social woes — was probably typical of all college students everywhere, but when David experienced difficulty falling asleep at night, he considered going to the campus psych to get medication.
After one of his weekly Torah learning sessions, David consulted Rabbi Nissan Applebaum about the sleep he was losing. “Rabbi, would it be a good idea for me to speak to a mental health professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist about my anxiety?”
Without replying, Rabbi Applebaum rose from his seat and ran out of the room. Confused yet intrigued, David followed him. “I watched,” recalls David, “as he proceeded to photocopy pages from a book, preparing a sheath of papers for me that would change my life.”
When he was finished, Rabbi Applebaum placed a copy of a 61-page document into David’s hands. The first page read: “The Gate of Trust in God.” The pages were an excerpt from the book Duties of the Heart, written by Rabbi Bachaya Ibn Pekuda in 11th Century Spain. “I don’t know if you should speak to a mental health professional about your anxiety,” the rabbi said to David, “but I do know that reading these pages will help you. Learn them for 10-15 minutes each night before you go to bed, and contemplate deeply what is written here.”
David followed the rabbi’s “prescription.” As he recalls:”To my surprise, within 8 weeks, not only was I able to fall asleep without difficulty, but my anxiety had almost completely vanished. Even more remarkable was that the improvement in my psychological state had occurred despite the fact that none of the anxiety-producing factors in my life had been ameliorated. …
DO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS HELP HANDLE STRESS?
…. the growing field of the psychology of religion, which has published almost 1,800 psychological studies in the past two decades, investigates questions such as:
Can religious beliefs/practices be a source of coping in times of stress? Is weekly attendance of religious services linked to levels of anxiety and depression? Do religious individuals have better or worse outcomes in psychological treatment than non-religious individuals? Can spirituality and religiousness be integrated into clinical practice for the treatment of psychological problems?A recent example of one such study was reported in Canada’s National Post on March 4, 2009. The study, led by Michael Inzlicht, a University of Toronto psychology professor, had been published in the journal Psychological Science. The researchers measured activity in the part of the brain – the anterior cingulate cortex – that registers stress. Subjects were asked to perform a stressful exercise, called a “Stroop task.”Prof. Inzlicht said that initially they were simply trying to understand what factors would activate these brain waves, not investigate religious belief. … [W]hen the researchers asked about a belief in God and religiosity did a pattern develop. 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. Prof. Inzlicht reported that no atheist in the study showed low anxiety and no religious person showed high anxiety.…
THE SCIENTIFIC TRUTH ABOUT RELIGION AND PSYCHOLOGY
Freud insisted that religion was inversely associated with positive psychological health. Esteemed psychologist Albert Ellis, ranked by his peers as the second most influential psychotherapist in history, in the 1980s claimed that people who have strong religious convictions are going to have less tolerance to uncertainty, be less resilient, suffer more from anxiety, and be more prone to neuroses.
In the 1990s, psychologist Kenneth Pargament faced off with these giants and suggested testing their claims scientifically by conducting actual psychological experiments, without a religious or anti-religious agenda. Dr. Pargament made an empirical science of the psychology of religion, and has published two books and over 150 scientific papers. He has received numerous awards from the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. In general, his studies have shown that spirituality is an important resource for people in times of stress, and connection with God can be ameliorative for symptoms of stress, worry, and depression. After reviewing Dr. Pargament’s research, Dr. Ellis publicly retracted his statements and grudgingly admitted that, from a psychological standpoint, religion is “not necessarily a bad thing.”
In truth, as secularization in society has increased, so have the levels of anxiety and depression. As Robert Leahy, clinical professor in psychiatry at Cornell University, recently pointed out in an interview with Dennis Prager: “We’re experiencing a major historic trend In the increase in anxiety… The average child today between the ages of 11 to 13 is as anxious as the average psychiatric patient was in the 1950s.” Dr. Leahy also noted: “There is research that shows that people having a belief system and a community that supports that have actually a better and happier life.”
For the past five years, David Rosmarin has worked in a PhD program with Dr. Pargament, and recently received an appointment at the Harvard Medical School as a Clinical Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry. Rosmarin has published numerous studies in academic peer-reviewed journals and presented at several national conferences on the relationship between religion/spirituality and anxiety, stress, and depression. [Seehttp://www.jpsych.com]
Although many such studies have been done among Christians, Rosmarin has pioneered studies in the Jewish community. Consistently, his research has found that trust in God as well as religious practices (e.g., prayer, religious study, attending services) is associated with lower levels of psychological distress.
There is way too much here to quote….read the rest of the article.
Related: University of Toronto Study: Brain Different Between Believers and Non-Believers.