Science on Religion’s Utility
by Pat Fagan
Issue 215– November 14, 2012
A century ago, non-believers could push religion aside as an irritating superstition that had to be endured because the majority and the Founder Fathers held to it. To ignore religion today, atheists would also have to throw reason and science aside as well, because developments in sociology, psychology and economics make religion’s abundant benefits clear to all who investigate it.
U.S. federal data repeatedly make clear that the practice of religion is a great public and private good. Given its myriad benefits, it is clear religious practice indirectly but powerfully saves the taxpayer much and also adds to public revenues.
Reasonable atheists and agnostics will voice, not opposition to religious practice, but public gratitude for the good it does. Worship’s benefits flow over to all the other major institutions of the nation: the family, education, the marketplace and income, and government. Worship’s rewards are visible, for example, in education and human capital development, sexual behavior, relational strength, psychological and physical well-being, and in a significant decrease in a variety of social ills.
Presently there is much discussion of religious liberty and its centrality to the American way of life. The data contained in the 95 Social Science Reasons for Religious Worship and Practice should reinforce the confidence of every believer and instill respect for religion in those who do not believe, for faith is a major enabler of our constitutional system of self-government.
To read the 95 Social Science Reasons for Religious Worship and Practice in its full report click here. Pat Fagan is president of Marriage and Religion Research Institute.