New Study Finds That Being ‘Godless’ May Be Good For Your Health

Several studies in recent decades found that being religious correlates with good health. New studies have challenged the finding that being an atheist correlates with poor health!

Believers who attend church services regularly are less likely to smoke, use drugs or become obese. They may live longer than those who do not attend any religious church services. Some have been led to conclude, according to those findings, that if religion is good for you, then being an atheist must be bad for your health. 



But according to a professor of psychology at the University of New Brunswick in St. John, Canada, David Speed, that theory is not entirely true.

David Speed published his research paper on January 5th, 2021, entitled: Godless in the Great White North: assessing the Health of Canadian Atheists using data from the 2011-2012 Canadian Community Health Survey

In David Speed’s new study published in the Journal of Religion and Health, he reviewed all the data as noted. He found that atheists may be just as healthy as the religious. 

“If you compare the health outcomes for those two groups, they are really similar to each other,” advised Speed.

Speed said that atheists are different from agnostics. And agnostics differ from the religiously unaffiliated, also known as nones. Some of the beneficial aspects of being part of a faith group or church — including behavioral rules and social support — aren’t exclusively religious.

Religiously active people may have an advantage over atheists with their strength in social support networks. However, there are a growing number of atheist social media networks to communicate with other like-minded atheists who have similar views and life experiences.

He offers an important note to consider: Health and well-being advantages often linked to faith groups’ comes from the social support structure, not the spiritual beliefs touted. 

Many religious people are surprised to hear that atheists have a moral compass similar to theirs regarding kindness and fairness. But non-believers do not align with ‘group cohesion,’ a study reveals. 

An atheist who spoke at the University of North Dakota courtesy of an invitation from FUND (Freethinkers of the University of North Dakota) in 2012, Adam Lee recalls the event as a pleasant experience. 

“FUND is a relatively new group, and I was their first invited speaker, which was an honor,” said Lee. “I was invited as part of UND's ‘Seven Dimensions of Wellness’ program. So to fit the occasion, I decided to speak on ‘The Goodness of Godlessness’ - the argument for why atheism is a positive, beneficial worldview.

Adam Lee received a question “about the miracles of Christianity, with particular reference to a story about a medieval saint who was said to levitate when in prayer. I answered that by referencing theconflicting miracle storiesin other religions, the way that rumors mutate and grow over time, and the fact that these miracles consistently prove to be unreplicable under scientific investigation, and asked what that story would prove even if it were true.”

He added, “Another questioner implied that I must be an atheist only because I don't want God to speak to me. In response, I gave a public affirmation that if any deity exists, he's welcome to contact me through e-mail, Twitter, or any other communication channel (this was one of the few parts I wish had been taped) - and pointed out that, even if this line of argument were correct as regards atheists, it doesn't explain whybelievers who all affirm God's existence disagree so starkly on what his will is.”

Atheists generally don’t believe that group loyalty or respect for an authority figure is important for morality. Religious people are more prone to fear the world as a dangerous place. An atheists’ moral compass is calibrated differently, which may explain why some believe they are immoral. 

Belief in a deity may negatively affect your health, especially if you question any aspect of your faith. According to the September 19th, 2020 study published in the Review of Religious Research, “doubting theists,” those who believe in a deity but question their beliefs report having less positive health issues.

Speed says more research is needed regarding the question of religion and health. He hopes researchers will spend more time studying atheists and other non-religious groups.

“Atheists, in general, are understudied,” Speed advised. “And when they are studied, they are not studied well.”

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