It’s official: Religion faith makes you feel healthier

Religious faith

Having a religious faith makes people feel healthier, the latest government figures suggest.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today published data linking religion and health in a bid “to understand the circumstances of people of different religious identities”.

It found that people aged 16 and over who had no religion were significantly less likely to be satisfied with their health.

The data has divided secular and religious experts. Some claim that people who have faith are more likely “to be hopeful for a better future”, while others reject that religion has “any magic explanatory powers” at all.

The ONS found that 66% of Muslims, 68% of Christians, 69% of Sikhs, 71% of Buddhists, 72% of Hindus and 77% of Jews were satisfied with their health between 2016 and 2018.

However, in contrast 64% of people who had no religion reported being satisfied with their health.

Responding to the latest data, Michael Wakelin, head of programmes at Coexist House which works in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and chair of the Religion Media Centre, said: “Well, it’s clearly complex!

“But I guess this has something to do with an attitude of gratitude. If you are of the opinion that God loves you and he created you you are more likely to be grateful for what you have.”

“Also, if you have faith, you are likely to be more hopeful for a better future so that even if things are a bit tough, now they will improve in God’s good time.”

“For Christians, there is an understanding that love and suffering are the two great mysteries that cannot be separated – perhaps we endure the one in the knowledge that it is part of the other – leading eventually to a time of no more tears. As Charles Wesley puts it ‘ours the cross, the grave the skies’.”

In contrast, Stephen Evans, chief executive officer at the National Secular Society (NSS), said: “Caution must be applied before granting religion any magic explanatory powers based on these findings.”

“To do so would oversimplify a much more complex and nuanced picture. More research into the interplay between religion, non-religion, and health is necessary before any potential inequalities can be understood and addressed.” Continue reading

Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , ,