"A study released* yesterday confirmed that Mississippi remains the most religious state in the Union, followed by a handful of its southern belt brothers: Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, as well as the Mormon stronghold of Utah. The Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of all Mississippians identify as “very religious.” The least religious states in the U.S. are the former stomping grounds of the very, very religious Puritans: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.
Is it any wonder religious have a tendency to a higher rate of depression and use of anti-depressant medication than non-religious?
1. Dependency on an external source, as believed by those who turn to god and prayer to complex problems, when what is required is intelligent reasoning, testing, and using a system of problem solving that leaves out delusions and denial.
2. Some problems require action to define problems, develop goals, explore options, make decisions and choices that may or may not be available to one's awareness, and find resources that do have knowledge. Evaluating the outcome to determine if the goal is reached, or if some other option should be tried helps to reach successful conclusions. One can't do any of these things with hands clasped together or on one's knees.
3. Sometime family, with traditions and values based on Bronze Age thinking, hinders mentally healthy, mature, adult action.
4. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, it comes with our equipment just as heart and lungs and other systems exist for a reason. Thinking and reasoning cannot be replaced by magical thinking.
5. Being connected to all of creation and not just some cult or sect helps to find better ways of staying healthy and flourishing.
In studies from 80 published and unpublished studies examined the association of religious affiliation or involvement with depressive symptoms or depressive disorder. People with high levels of extrinsic religious motivation are at increased risk for depressive symptoms. The existing research is sufficient to encourage further investigation of the associations of religion with depressive symptoms and disorder. Religion should be measured with higher methodological standards than those that have been accepted in survey research to date.
The entire abstract from this 1999 article paints a rather more mixed picture of religion. It would be interesting to learn what the current "higher methodological standards" for measuring religion 14 years later might be.
Some of us have indeed been discussing how we secularists could provide similar positive effects (for whatever's an actual effect, rather than correlation from a different mechanism*) without the theistic fictions.
(I tried to remove all the spacing hiccups; I don't think "anelevated" is a word, especially since the authors use "reduced" later. Emphases are mine.)
We reviewed data from approximately 80 published and unpublished studies that examined the association of religious affiliation or involvement with depressive symptoms or depressive disorder. In these studies, religion was measured as religious affiliation; general religious involvement; organizational religious involvement; prayer or private religious involvement; religious salience and motivation; or religious beliefs. People from some religious affiliations appear to have an elevated risk for depressive symptoms and depressive disorder, and people with no religious affiliation are at an elevated risk in comparison with people who are religiously affiliated. People with high levels of general religious involvement, organizational religious involvement, religious salience, and intrinsic religious motivation are at reduced risk for depressive symptoms and depressive disorders. Private religious activity and particular religious beliefs appear to bear no reliable relationship with depression. People with high levels of extrinsic religious motivation are at increased risk for depressive symptoms. Although these associations tend to be consistent, they are modest and are substantially reduced in multivariate research. Longitudinal research is sparse, but suggests that some forms of religious involvement might exert a protective effect against the incidence and persistence of depressive symptoms or disorders. The existing research is sufficient to encourage further investigation of the associations of religion with depressive symptoms and disorder. Religion should be measured with higher methodological standards than those that have been accepted in survey research to date.
* A favorite example I remember from an intro psych class: a study of elementary school students found a strong positive correlation between the length of the kids' middle fingers and their mental age as measured on an IQ test. This result can easily be replicated over and over. Do long fingers make you smarter, or does being smart lengthen your fingers somehow? :-)
I was talking about the "Religion and Depression" article.
None of this is meant to refute the first article ("When God is Not Enough"), showing the correlation between religiosity and antidepressant use -- or medication use in general!
OOPS, old research, correlation studies and inadequately quoted gives evidence of my carelessness. Now, let's see if we can find some valid data? Thanks for your attention to detail, Grinning Cat.
Thanks for this clarification, GrinningCat.
All I could say is, "Of course!" When someone asked me how I could turn from God and belief, I said it was easy, for now I had "one less thing to worry about." Some caught on, but most Christians missed the point. Without Christian or Judeo-Christian morality, we are freed from contradictions. I do not have to worry about whether I will go to hell for eating shrimp or being a bit queer: that the evangelicals devour shellfish and use Leviticus in the same breath against queer people only demonstrates that they are delusional and more whacked out than a Dead Head. The late William S. Burroughs, a student of pre-Columbian religioin in Mexico, said that politicians and pastors work by convincing the sheep that both of two contradictory stimuli, one positive and one negative, are equally true, so that the citizen is held in a kind of perpetual tension in limbo between antitheticals, the very opposite of Hegel. The same gullibles who eat oysters without feeling any guilt often go beardless, giving rise to the famous epithet, "cafeteria Christians."
Funny! Hypocrisy, none-the-less.
Life imposes enough requirements for survival as it is. Religion superimposes MORE requirements, most of which have neither utility nor purpose, other than for the shepherds to maintain control over the sheep. Being able to dispose of such artificial and non-productive trash would seem to me to be an automatic plus from a purely practical standpoint. The only problem would be dropping the mental indoctrination which went along with it, which was designed to goad the sheep into compliance.
Once that is done, though, the overall result, one would think, would be a net plus and likely a considerable plus at that.
My $0.02 worth.
Agreed! and a far more worthy value, to boot.
Yes, they really have something to worry about when they discover that the xtian "solutions" don't work at all: at that point they can't solve their problems and they are afraid of their xtian brothers and sisters too. Then they contort their thinking even more to adjust themselves to xtian rules AND still haven't solved the problem they started with... and cannot commit suicide because they are afraid of hell. Poor xtians!