Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Church:The Happiest Place on Earth

Could church possibly be the happiest place on Earth? Writer Colby Cosh explores that notion in an article in a recent issue of Maclean's magazine. He uses a significant study out of Saskatchewan as his springboard for musing on the "organized" aspect of organized religion. Three psychiatrists looked at interviews with more than 12,000 people about the effects of religion on depression. It turns out that religion may be a positive influence on our mental health. And it could be that doing religion is as important as being religious. The getting together aspect is a contributor to mental health, or so it appears.

I can appreciate this from a personal standpoint. Even though I am a worship leader, the experience of being with others who sing and pray and laugh and cry together lifts my spirits. So many people feel that there is comfort in doing all these things and opening to Someone greater than themselves. One of our daughters only attends worship when she comes to spend time with us. She admits that she always feels better afterward and isn't sure why she doesn't go to church at home. She has favourite hymns and likes the feeling of connectedness within the service.

For me worship is about more, it is about God, but I can appreciate why some want to be involved even though they don't have a strong personal faith.

Some of you are church attenders and some aren't. What do you make of this? Do you think that doing religion and being religious are intertwined?


IanD said...

Interesting distinction!

I'm positive that the coming together of like-minded people is definitely part of why people go. It's a reaffirmation of shared values, sure, but it's also a chance for people to come together to support and encourage one another.

God's got to be a part of making that happen, right? :)

CelB said...

Putting religion out there as an action instead of a state of being is so much more fitting to be able to answer your question - well put, David, as always :) I'm still a firm believer that you can be religious and not regularly attend church, however going to church on a regular basis has done wonders for my mental health. It's helped me during some very difficult times and improved my overall health. There is definitely a lot to be said for having that sense of community and family in your life, knowing people are praying for you, praying for others, and having your children "raised by a village" :)