Effects of religion research papers

  1. Effects of Religious Practice on Education [Marripedia]
  2. 1. Educational Achievement
  3. Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health Around the World
  4. Effects of Religious Practice on Education
  5. Do You Know How to Select the Best Religion Research Paper Topic?

Find out more. Archive Sociology of Religion , the official journal of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, is published quarterly for the purpose of advancing scholarship in the sociological study of religion.

Effects of Religious Practice on Education [Marripedia]

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But, other religious practices can have the opposite effect on the same brain areas. For instance, one of the most recent studies co-authored by Dr. Newberg shows that intense Islamic prayer — "which has, as its most fundamental concept, the surrendering of one's self to God" — reduces the activity in the prefrontal cortex and the frontal lobes connected with it, as well as the activity in the parietal lobes.

1. Educational Achievement

The prefrontal cortex is traditionally thought to be involved in executive control, or willful behavior, as well as decision-making. So, the researchers hypothesize, it would make sense that a practice that centers on relinquishing control would result in decreased activity in this brain area. A recent study that Medical News Today reported on found that religion activates the same reward-processing brain circuits as sex, drugs, and other addictive activities. Researchers led by Dr. Jeff Anderson, Ph. When asked whether, and to what degree, the participants were "feeling the spirit," those who reported the most intense spiritual feelings displayed increased activity in the bilateral nucleus accumbens, as well as the frontal attentional and ventromedial prefrontal cortical loci.

These pleasure and reward-processing brain areas are also active when we engage in sexual activities, listen to music, gamble, and take drugs. The participants also reported feelings of peace and physical warmth.


These findings echo those of older studies , which found that engaging in spiritual practices raises levels of serotonin , which is the "happiness" neurotransmitter, and endorphins. The latter are euphoria-inducing molecules whose name comes from the phrase " endogenous morphine.

Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health Around the World

Some recent advances in neuroimaging techniques allow us to understand how our brains "create" a spiritual or mystical experience. What causes the feeling that someone else is present in the room, or that we've stepped outside of our bodies and into another dimension? Anderson, "brain imaging technologies have matured in ways that are letting us approach questions that have been around for millennia.

Giordano explains in an interview for Medium. Research backs him up. A study of Vietnam veterans shows that those who had been injured in the brain's dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were more likely to report mystical experiences. Giordano goes on, "we can say that the activity of the left and right temporal lobe network found at the bottom middle part of the cortex has changed. The parietal lobes are also the areas that Dr. Newberg's studies found to have lower brain activity during prayer.

Given that the neurological roots of religious experiences can be traced so accurately with the help of the latest neuroscientific technologies, does this mean that we could — in principle — "create" these experiences on demand?

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This is not just a theoretical question because in the s, Dr. This is a device that is able to simulate religious experiences by stimulating an individual's tempoparietal lobes using magnetic fields.

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In Dr. Persinger's experiments, about 20 religious people — which amounts to just 1 percent of the participants — reported feeling the presence of God or seeing him in the room when wearing the device. However, 80 percent of the participants felt a presence of some sort, which they were reluctant to call "God. Speaking about the experiments, Dr. Persinger says, "I suspect most people would call the 'vague, all-around-me' sensations 'God' but they are reluctant to employ the label in a laboratory.

We asked Dr. Newberg what he thought about such attempts to elicit religious experiences. However, he went on, humans have historically sought out ways to evoke religious experiences in various ways, from meditation and prayer to substances that can induce psychedelic experiences — which are "perceived as just as spiritual and real as more 'natural' experiences.

So, whether it's psychedelics or the God helmet, "as we develop a more detailed understanding of these techniques and their effects, we may do better at figuring out how to enhance their effects," Dr. Newberg told us. In the meantime, neuroscientists continue to work hard in order to understand what goes on in the religious brain. He shared with us some of the directions he hopes this field will evolve in, saying, "408eurotheology can 1 explore how religion and spirituality affect physical and mental health in terms of beliefs and practices. Furthermore, neurotheology is able to "help with the development of therapeutic approaches to helping people with various disorders including neurological and psychiatric conditions.

In preparing this report, Pew Research Center examined the relationship between religion and self-rated health in 30 U.

Effects of Religious Practice on Education

Cross-national analysis of self-rated health in this report is based on WVS data because it provides a comparable measure across a wide number of countries. However, when statistically significant evidence on the link between religion and health is found, it always reveals a positive association.

In other words, there is no dataset in which the actively religious are significantly less likely to report top health than the inactively religious, the unaffiliated or both of the latter groups combined. In 11 of the 30 datasets, when comparing the actively religious against a combined population of inactive and unaffiliated Americans, actively religious Americans are more likely to report top levels of health than all other Americans. When dividing the population into three groups of religious engagement instead of just two, a more nuanced picture emerges: The actively religious are more likely than the inactive to report top health in 11 of the 30 datasets and more likely than the unaffiliated to do so in just three of the 30 datasets.

The patterns were largely the same.

These results indicate that the relationship between active religion and self-rated health is not strong enough to consistently emerge across these U. By four other measures related to health, results are mixed. While actively religious people in many countries are less likely than others to say they drink frequently or ever smoke, they are not more likely to exercise regularly or to have a BMI of less than In nine out of 19 countries with available data, including the U.

Actives are also less likely than inactives to say they drink several times a week in nine countries, and again, there is no significant difference in nine countries. Only in Taiwan are actives more likely than the unaffiliated to drink frequently, and only in the Czech Republic are actives more likely than inactives to drink several times a week. But other factors beyond religious participation partially explain this pattern: Statistical models controlling for gender and other demographic characteristics show that actively religious people drink less in eight countries, while they drink more only in the Czech Republic see here.

In the remaining two countries Poland and the Czech Republic the differences are not statistically significant. Actives are also less likely than inactives to smoke in 18 out of 19 countries; the Czech Republic, which has an unaffiliated majority , is the only country where the difference is not statistically significant. While smoking and drinking are two important measures of healthy behavior, there are many others — including some that do not seem positively connected to religious engagement.

Take, for instance, exercise — a behavior doctors overwhelmingly recommend as part of a healthy lifestyle. If anything, people who are not actively religious are more likely to say they exercise several times per week.

Do You Know How to Select the Best Religion Research Paper Topic?

Actives are less likely than the unaffiliated to exercise in five out of 19 countries, including Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland. Comparing actives with inactives produces a difference in only one of the 19 countries, Spain, where inactives are more likely to exercise several times a week. The picture is similar when examining obesity body mass index calculated to be 30 or higher based on reported height and weight.

However, the U. In Chile, on the other hand, actives are more likely than inactives to be obese, while in the remaining 17 countries, there is no significant gap. Overall, there is a mixed relationship between religion and health. While the actively religious are less likely to smoke and drink in some countries, they are not healthier when it comes to exercise and weight. And on average, across more than two dozen countries, actively religious adults are not more likely to report being in very good health.

The relationship between religion and health has occupied researchers for over a century. Recently, scholars have applied more scientific rigor to their research on religion, and many of the studies that have been published in the past 30 years have found that religious people tend to live longer, get sick less often and are better able to cope with stress.

Koenig and co-authors summarize 21st-century findings from the rapidly expanding field of religion and health research. Of course, this also means that a substantial number of studies have found no clear association, or have even concluded that religion is associated with worse health outcomes. For example, several studies have found that religious people tend to have a higher body mass index BMI. And, just as some religions seem to contribute to positive health outcomes because they discourage alcohol and tobacco consumption, other religions may lead to poor physical health outcomes due to certain behavioral proscriptions.

Regardless of the specific outcomes reported by the many studies on this topic, it is worth noting that many attempts to link health and religion result in null findings, and that the research often has serious methodological limitations.

Since most of the studies have been conducted in the U. In addition, much of the research available relies on small samples — and research with larger numbers of respondents often uses samples that are not representative of the broader population. Perhaps most importantly, most of this research including this cross-national study has used data collected at a single point in time rather than longitudinal data.

When people find themselves suddenly ill, for instance, they may adopt a habit of regular prayer even if they were not previously religious. For example, physical barriers may prevent some sick people from participating in formal religious activities such as service attendance. Similarly, some research points to reverse causal effects when it comes to the association between religion and mental health.

For instance, people who have depressive episodes are relatively likely to scale back their religious participation, which could mistakenly suggest a positive association between religion and mental health Consequently, even when research does establish a positive association between religion and health, it is not clear that religion causes the beneficial health outcome. The findings in this report suggest that regular religious participation is tied to individual and societal well-being — that is, people who have a religious affiliation and attend worship services at least once a month tend to fare better on some but not all measures of happiness, health and civic participation.

As a result, this report has mainly focused on differences between actively religious people and others. Yet in 28 of the 35 countries studied across datasets analyzed in this report, the actively religious are a minority of the adult population: Especially in Europe, but also in some countries in the Asia-Pacific region, levels of affiliation are declining and regular attendance at religious services is relatively rare.

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How will societies change in the future if the inactively religious share of the population continues to shrink and the religiously unaffiliated percentage grows? The answer is uncertain for many reasons, including the possibility that the beliefs and behaviors of people in these groups may change. But there could be clues in the current data, which suggest that any differences between religiously inactive and unaffiliated people on key measures of well-being are relatively modest.