While there is much debate about whether any religion is true (which I don’t expect to be resolved until well after my lifetime if ever), an important question remains: Is religion good for you?
According to Sean Thomas, the writer of the article, religion is good for your mental health in a variety of ways.
He states that religious people tend to have better immune systems and lower blood pressure, and in some circumstances recover from hospital better. Not only that, but theists are happier and have more children.
One could argue about the reasons behind all these findings, but the point is that religion improves quality of life. This emphasises that being an atheist does not make sense even practically speaking.
Even if there is no God, atheists still tend to have worse health and less happy lives. Simply put there is nothing to gain by being an atheist except the possibility of eternal punishment for lack of faith, and the demonstrated reality of poorer quality of life.
This is an additional argument to a famous philosophical proposition called Pascal’s wager. According to some simple statistics, it actually makes no logical sense to be an atheist.
As a religious person, you have the possibility of going to heaven if your belief is true, and if you are wrong there is no punishment. However, as an atheist even if your belief is true you obtain nothing, and if you are wrong get eternal punishment.
The best an atheist can hope for (nothing) is the same as the worst possible consequence for a believer (also nothing). Atheists have nothing to gain by being atheists (not even materially it would seem), but everything to lose.
Theists have everything to gain and nothing to lose!
So whilst, believing in God because it is good for you isn’t a good reason, currently I will remain content. I will remain happier, healthier, more generous and resilient than I otherwise would likely be.
Not to mention, that I have a faith and hope in something lasting and meaningful, eternity in heaven.
Nathanael Yates from Perth, Western Australia, is an award winning young scientist completing a PhD in the neurobiology of schizophrenia
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at: www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html