Harvard Researchers Recognize Benefits of Church Attendance | The Institute for Creation Research
Harvard Researchers Recognize Benefits of Church Attendance
A recent study conducted by researchers from Harvard University found that deaths from despair are significantly less common among healthcare workers who regularly attend religious services.1 A “death from despair” was defined as one related to alcohol, drugs, or suicide.

They summarized their findings in the journal JAMA Psychiatry:

In this cohort study of 66 492 female registered nurses and 43 141 male health care professionals in the US, attendance at religious services at least once per week was associated with a 68% lower hazard of death from despair among women and a 33% lower hazard among men compared with never attendance.1

As with every study, these findings are limited. This report considered only healthcare workers and did not break down the findings by religion. Nor did it consider the difference between churches that hold to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and those that do not.

No study can account for the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. There is no way to tell if church attendance leads to a lesser risk of “death by despair” or if the kind of people who attend church are also less likely to commit suicide or abuse alcohol or drugs. Regardless, it is encouraging for a secular study to note benefits of church attendance.

Bible-believing Christians understand that God created people to have a relationship with Him and that there are physical as well as spiritual benefits to following God’s commands. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King David wrote, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”2 This means any instructions God gives are morally just.3 Obedience to them transforms lives and produces joy.

God has instructed believers to participate in the regular gathering of the church body.4 Data published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that joy is indeed found in obeying this command. Even secular people can recognize this benefit.

From the beginning God declared, “It is not good that man should be alone.”5 He created woman for this reason. In much the same, it is not good for a Christian to be alone in his or her faith. One of the purposes for which Jesus established the church was the edification and mutual encouragement of believers.6

As many churches ponder how they may safely resume meeting in person in light of the coronavirus pandemic, believers should strive to maintain fellowship with their fellow church members and long for the day they are able to see each other face to face once more.

References
1. Chen Y, et. al. Religious Service Attendance and Deaths Related to Drugs, Alcohol, and Suicide Among US Health Care Professionals. JAMA Psychiatry. Published on jamanetwork.com May 06, 2020, accessed May 14, 2020.
2. Psalm 19:8.
3. The Hebrew word piqqudim, translated “statutes” in Psalm 19:8 comes from the root PQD, meaning to “visit” or “appoint.” God’s statutes are His instructions, the things He has appointed for people to do. These statutes are “right” (Hebrew yashar), a term that indicates they are just and morally upright.
4. Hebrews 10:25.
5. Genesis 2:17.
6. Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 10:24-25.

*Will Perry is an Event Coordinator at the Institute for Creation Research and holds a Master’s of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Latest
NEWS
Micro-Plastic Wastes, European Dippers, and the Genesis Mandate
European dippers are making the news lately, including science news in Wales.1-3 These riparian habitat birds are indicators4...

COVID-19
Looking for Provision
Lawmakers are at it again as they vote on the latest stimulus bill. This potential “relief” might bring you some much-needed peace, or perhaps...

NEWS
Desperate Dinosaurs Cannibalized During Global Flood
Scientists recently discovered evidence that large theropods were possibly guilty of cannibalism.1 The new study, published in PLOS ONE,...

NEWS
Dumbo Octopus, God's Wonder in the Deepest Deep
About 3,000 years ago, the Bible taught that the “wonders in the deep” are the “works of the Lord.”1 Now that truth...

NEWS
The Rocket Bug: Lone Insect of the Open Ocean
Various water-striding insects use small body sizes, long legs, and fine hairs on their feet to skate on the surfaces of ponds and streams. But life on...

NEWS
Cuckoo Completes Mammoth 7,500-Mile Migration
One particular common cuckoo will soon complete a mammoth migration through both Africa and Asia—a migration that is anything but common. Onon...

NEWS
Inside June 2020 Acts & Facts
How can we find joy, peace, and hope during dark times? What's going on in ICR's virtual classroom? How does the Flood model solve the Antarctica...

NEWS
Norwegians Find Viking Grave Under House Floor
In America we have the idiomatic expression “skeletons in the closet,” but what about finding a 1,000-year-old Viking grave, literally buried...

NEWS
‘Grand Canyon’ of Greenland Formed by Genesis Flood
A massive canyon rivalling Grand Canyon has been discovered beneath the ice on Greenland, and uniformitarian scientists are explaining it as a consequence...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Summer 2020
...