Church Attendance Increases Long Life!

A Harvard professor has shown that religious attendance will increase your health, happiness, and sense of purpose in life.

Tyler VanderWeele is professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. His research with Harvard colleagues indicates that attending religious services brings about better physical and mental health. Significantly better, in fact.

Adults who attend a religious service at least once a week have a much lower risk of dying over the next decade and a half. They are more optimistic and have lower rates of depression. Churchgoing protects against suicide and provides greater purpose in life. Attending religious services also increases the likelihood of a stable marriage and leads to greater charitable giving and civic engagement.

It’s especially noteworthy in our “spiritual but not religious” culture that general spirituality does not provide such benefits. As the author notes, “Research has shown that service attendance, rather than private spirituality or solitary practice, strongly predicts health. Something about communal religious participation appears to be essential”.