Readers’ Forum: Does Religion Hurt or Help?

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Religion without personal spirituality is not true religion. True religion is not just about going to church, it includes personal spirituality. (Splash)

How has religion or the lack thereof influenced your life? It is a fundamental truth that religion includes personal spirituality, greatly enhances emotional and physical health, and strengthens society.

An argument against religion is that spirituality is sufficient 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 totally agree that spirituality is essential and just as licensed professional counselor Andrea Mathews said in an article for Psychology Today, “the religion that opposes listening to the impulse of one’s own soul is a religion that destroys sanity”. Religion without personal spirituality is not true religion. True religion is not just about going to church, it includes personal spirituality.

One of the effects of a dedicated lifestyle is improved emotional and physical health. A 2017 study found that faith “surprisingly outperformed all other factors in indicating life satisfaction.” and while no one is immune to disease, research shows that religion is linked to lower blood pressure, successful aging, less addiction to alcohol and drugs and more.

Religion also has a considerable impact on society through its influence on the family. Research indicates that religion stabilizes and improves the quality of marriages, promotes warm parenting, and contributes to increased education and charity.

I believe in the words of President Russell M. Nelson when he said, “There really is such a thing as good and evil and absolute truth – eternal truth,” and you can find it. Religion is not limited to going to church and also includes personal spirituality. This devotion to a higher power and purpose greatly influences both the health of the individual and of society.

–Katie Pettit

Gilbert, Ariz.

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