Readers’ Forum: Does religion hurt or help?

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Religion without personal spirituality is not true religion. True religion is more than just going to church, it includes personal spirituality. (Unsplash)

How has religion or lack of it influenced your life? It is a fundamental truth that religion includes personal spirituality, significantly strengthens emotional and physical health and fortifies society.

One argument against religion is spirituality is enough for an individual. In this context, religion is defined as organized beliefs and practices shared by a group of people, while spirituality is seen as private beliefs and practices. I wholeheartedly agree that spirituality is essential and just like Licensed Professional Counselor Andrea Mathews said in a Psychology Today article, “religion that is opposed to listening to the urging of one’s own soul is a religion that is destructive to mental health.” Religion without personal spirituality is not true religion. True religion is more than just going to church, it includes personal spirituality.

One effect of a devoted lifestyle is improved emotional and physical health. A 2017 study found faith “surprisingly outscored all other factors for indicating life satisfaction.” and while no one is immune to sickness, research shows religion is related to lower blood pressure, successful aging, less dependance on alcohol and drugs and more.

Religion also greatly impacts society to its influence on the family. Research indicates religion stabilizes and improves the quality of marriages, fosters a warm style of parenting and contributes to an increase in education and charity.

I believe President Russell M. Nelson’s words when he said “there really is such a thing as right and wrong and absolute truth —eternal truth”, and you can find it. Religion is more than just going to church and it also includes personal spirituality. This devotedness to a higher power and purpose greatly influences both the health of the individual and society.

–Katie Pettit

Gilbert, Arizona

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