Once again, things the Bible says will improve our spiritual life are being scientifically proven to improve our physical health as well.
The latest is church attendance. The Bible tells Christian believers not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10). Now, research out of Vanderbilt University shows that people who regularly attend worship services actually live longer than those who don't.
Professor Marino Bruce, Associate Professor of Medicine, Health and Society, who is also a Baptist pastor, co-authored the study.
In the video below, he says the data shows that regular church attendance is particularly beneficial, from a physical health standpoint, for people between the ages of 40 and 65.
"Middle aged adults who attended church actually reduced their risk for mortality by 55 percent. For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did, who attended church at some point over the last year."
The study examined the church attendance of over 5,000 people. Bruce says many people may be surprised that the reason church-goers fare better physically is because of what they give, not what they get. In other words, when people become committed to something they feel is more important than themselves, it pays off even more than the benefits they receive from being part of a community.
"Most assume that people go to church for the social support. Actually, we found that they go to church for factors beyond social support. And that's where we begin to think about this idea of holiness, this idea of compassion, thinking about that we are participating in trying to improve the lives of others as well as being connected to a body larger than ourselves."
Bruce notes that the study does not only apply to Christians, but other faiths, as well.
"Any place of worship, any place where groups gather together to worship," he said. "So it's not only about a particular faith, it's about any faith."
In addition to church attendance, previous scientific research uncovered the health benefits of forgiveness and gratitude and giving all of which are things Jesus commanded his followers to do. He also tells us not to worry. Scientists say worry, commonly called stress, is a major health risk.
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