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?