Study after study seems to show the power, importance, and impact of authentic faith and church attendance.
And yet there seems to be a deep and profound disconnect, especially as culture drifts further away from belief and deeper into a secularistic abyss.
Meanwhile, depression, overdoses, suicides, and general disconnectedness rage on.
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The antidote appears to be before us, and yet, there’s an overt rejection of what holds us together: a belief in God and a connection to others through church communities. Culture is propping up secularist and atheistic worldviews, while several vital findings reveal a God-centered perspective can offer healing and purpose.
Here are three key findings that demonstrate this reality — facts that should call our nation back to faith, belief, and church community:
1. Practicing Christians Fare Better in Relationships
The Barna Group recently released a survey exposing a stunning relational disparity between practicing Christians and U.S. adults more generally.
While 61% of practicing Christians said they are flourishing in friendships and relationships, just 28% of U.S. adults said the same, according to The Christian Post.
Interestingly, another group is known as “churched adults.” These individuals see benefits from church attendance, though they might not necessarily identify themselves as Christians.
Fifty-two percent of this group said they are flourishing in their relationships.
“Consistently, practicing Christians fare better across the dimensions included in Barna’s research on flourishing,” the research firm noted.
Considering the role of a church to connect people to God and one another, these statistics shouldn’t be shocking.
“A church that not only welcomes and connects people but also operates out of an awareness (if not a proficiency) in the realities of what it takes to be content and satisfied in relationships today is key in supporting the whole-life flourishing of congregants,” Barna continued.
Read more about the research here.
2. Church Attendees Are Happier and More Content
Church attendance also seems to yield some intensely positive benefits. Gallup Senior Scientist Frank Newport recently reported on statistics found by his polling firm backing the notion that attending religious services has a compelling impact on people’s life views.
“The January Gallup data indicate that 92% of those who attend church services weekly are satisfied, compared with 82% of those who attend less than monthly,” Newport wrote. “The difference is even more evident in terms of the percentage who report being very satisfied — 67% of those who attend weekly are very satisfied with their personal life, compared with 48% among those who are infrequent attenders.”
And for anyone who believes money is the be-all, end-all of happiness, consider that weekly church service is a more robust indicator of happiness than is higher income.
“Weekly religious service attenders are, in fact, more likely to say they are very satisfied than are those who make $100,000 or more in annual household income,” Newport continued.
Those findings, though, are just the beginning, as the data scientist said there is a “long line of studies” that correlate religiosity and wellbeing. The general conclusion from the research is that the more religious people are, the less likely they are to be depressed and the more content they appear to be.
Read more about this data.
3. Churchgoers Report Better Mental Health
The benefits of church attendance don’t end there.
Forty-four percent of weekly churchgoers told Gallup they would describe their “mental health and emotional wellbeing” as “excellent.” This compares to 46% who said the same in 2020 and 42% of regular congregants who reported “excellent” mental health in 2019, holding relatively steady.
Notably, this was the highest proportion for self-reported excellent mental health among gender, age, political-party identification, and annual household income cohorts.
“The wellbeing of most groups mirrors the national trend, with their mental health scores worsening last year followed by little to no improvement this year,” Gallup reported. “However, Democrats’ mental health rating has been steady at a relatively low level since 2019 while frequent churchgoers’ has been steadily high.”
Just 28% of Democrats reported “excellent” mental health, compared to 42% of Republicans.
While Democrats have remained consistent in this regard (29% in 2020 and 30% in 2019), Republicans have seen a decline, falling from 41% in 2020 and 56% in 2019. Still, their proportion is much higher than the progressive cohort.
Other cohorts reporting low proportions of “excellent” mental health are those who make less than $40,000 per year (27%), those who rarely or never attend church (29%), and women (29%).
It’s evident faith and church attendance are positively correlated to increased contentedness, positive wellbeing, and satisfaction with personal relationships.
In an era when many struggle to find these sentiments, it’s essential we fully understand this data and the reality that it points to the antidote for our internal woes.
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