What Purpose Does Religion Serve? Why Does Religion Continue

1215 WordsMar 7, 20175 Pages
What purpose does religion serve? Why does religion continue to play an important role in human life? Koenig (2009) declared that atheism is rare, and rather, 90% of the world’s population practices religion or spirituality. Religion and spirituality have ambiguous meanings and are not universally defined. Although difficult to adequately define, Koenig (2009) inferred that “religion is rooted in an established tradition that arises out of a group of people with common beliefs and practices concerning the sacred” (p. 284). Spirituality, however, is often defined on an individual basis and not necessarily connected to religious beliefs (Koenig, 2009). Researchers often relate spirituality to personal interaction with spiritual entities…show more content…
Moreover, researchers have correlated religion with increased life expectancy, longevity, and lower mortality rates (Chiswick & Mirtcheva, 2013; George et al., 2000; Lee & Newberg, 2005; Marks, 2005). Evidently, religion and spirituality produce positive biological health outcomes. Furthermore, religion and spirituality positively affect psychological aspects of health. George et al. (2000) declared that religious involvement is associated with positive mental health outcomes such as a lower prevalence of anxiety and depression. Other research similarly presents religion as a protective factor against depression, anxiety, and suicide (Chiswick & Mirtcheva, 2013; Koenig, 2009; Lee & Newberg, 2005). In addition to deterring mental health issues, religion and spirituality facilitate positive mental orientations such as happiness, increased self-esteem, and improved life satisfaction (Lee & Newberg, 2005; Marks, 2005). There are many benefits of religion and spirituality for psychological health. Finally, research often associates religion and spirituality with healthy behavioural and lifestyle choices. For example, Koenig (2009) declared that religion often discourages potentially destructive behaviours like substance abuse, resulting in religious individuals performing these behaviours
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