Raising Hell May Be Good for Your Health. (Up Front: News and Opinion from Independent Minds)

By Lutero, Timothy | The Humanist, March-April 2003 | Go to article overview

Raising Hell May Be Good for Your Health. (Up Front: News and Opinion from Independent Minds)


Lutero, Timothy, The Humanist


Concern for our health is normal, but what do we actually need in order to live long and healthy lives? Diet, exercise, and moderation don't seem to be enough. Mental well-being has been gaining recognition as a key element to healthy living, though there is some disagreement as to what best contributes to mental health.

Religious advocates say, and some surveys suggest, that religion is good for health. But what is really being identified are the health benefits of humanity's social nature, which are then ascribed to mainstream religion. Religion, however, shouldn't be able to take the credit for human instinct. It turns out that, when handled correctly, health can improve without the assistance of religion.

To make this clear, we first need to step back and review the religious claims. Harold Koenig of Duke University argues in his 2001 book, The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor, that a battery of studies that poll for religious data show a correlation between church attendance and good health. According to a 1999 article in the New Republic, the studies recorded demographic data on participants, including questions regarding religious faith and frequency of church attendance, and monitored their health over several years.

However, Koenig's findings only use the data from religions that have no built-in health risks. For example, Christian Scientists don't factor into the results because they shun medicine. Furthermore, there weren't enough Muslims in the study to provide conclusive statistics about the benefits or liabilities of Islam.

It's possible, of course, that practicing a religious faith with certain features could have certain health benefits. But this doesn't necessarily mean that these faithful will live longer lives and have better health than their nontheistic counterparts. Another study, conducted in England, looks into other factors in a person's lifestyle that may prove salutary.

John Drury, in a recent unpublished study conducted at the University of Sussex, suggests that social or political protesting can be good for you. The benefits derive from the power of "collective action" which arises when a group of people gather for a common cause and act in unison for a purpose. In the case of a protest or demonstration, activists intend to improve a community, and that sense of purpose provides feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

Drury relates protesting to events unrelated to activism, such as a New Year's Eve gathering where collective action empowers the participants. "The main factors contributing to a sense of empowerment were the realization of the collective identity, the sense of movement potential, unity and mutual support within a crowd," said Drury.

The report doesn't mention the role of religion in the benefits of protesting. It would be unfair to claim that protesting is only for nonreligious people and that they can be the only ones to experience the euphoria of protesting or demonstrating for a cause. Conversely, the report doesn't take into account the darker side of collective action. While well-meaning people gather every day to improve their communities, there are others who gather for purposes which, if uncontrolled, could have highly negative effects. Instead of a peaceful demonstration, a mob mentality could prevail, which has been the cause of soccer riots, sexual assaults, and abortion clinic violence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Upgrade your membership to receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad‑free environment

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Raising Hell May Be Good for Your Health. (Up Front: News and Opinion from Independent Minds)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved in your active project from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Upgrade your membership to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.