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Religion Is Good For Your Brain

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the still-looking-for-a-nice-atheist-church dept.

Science 529

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Sheila M. Elred writes in Discovery Magazine that a recent study has found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they identified as religious. Brain MRIs revealed that religious participants had thicker brain cortices than those who weren't as religious. 'One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress,' says Dr. Majid Fotuhi. 'Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you're praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.' The reports concluded that a thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression. The social element of attending religious services has also been linked to healthy brains. 'There's something magical about socializing,' says Fotuhi. 'It releases endorphins in the brain. It's hard to know whether it's through religion or a gathering of friends, but it improves brain health in the long term.'" (Read more, below.)"Listening to sermons and reading religious works like the Bible may also invoke a cognitive benefit. "You're exercising your higher cortical function, thinking about complex concepts that require some imagination," says Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University and a professor of psychiatry. According to Koenig the benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. "In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. They don't drink alcohol as much, they don't use drugs as much, they don't smoke cigarettes as much, and they have healthier lifestyles. They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, probably better cardiovascular functioning, and probably a healthier hormonal environment physiologically—particularly with respect to cortisol and adrenaline And they live longer." So where does that leave non-believers? "Out of luck, I guess," Koenig jokes. "Actually, I would suspect that people doing the types of things like religious people do — socializing, doing similarly complex cognitive tasks, would have similar benefits. But it is interesting that religion provides that whole package of things that people can adopt and pursue over time." Dr Dan Blazer says the study is very interesting but is still exploratory and that spirituality may be a marker of something else, such as socioeconomic status. "It's hard to study these things," concludes Fotuhi . "It's why research has stayed away from them. But there does seem to be a strong link between spirituality and better brain health.""

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Whatever (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491229)

You can go pray to your invisible sky daddy. I'll just continue believing in sanity and meditation.

Re: Whatever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491265)

I'll go pray to your mommy. I worship her milky tits and wet cunt. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Religion... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491235)

A thinking person should investigate religion, but not necessarily buy into it.

Re:Religion... (1, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#46491309)

The great thing about religion is, if you look at it with a critical mind and a little bit of reason, it's fairly quick and easy to dismiss as pure fantasy.

Re:Religion... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 5 months ago | (#46491433)

With a critical mind and some more reason, it's fairly quick and easy to harness as a tool of control over others. As Eric Cartman said: "Put a dollah in da box-uh!"

Re:Religion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491603)

> With a critical mind and some more reason, it's fairly quick and easy to harness as a tool of control over others.
Oh, just like Math (see "finance") and Justice (see "law") you say?

And to GP thank you for asserting the godless universe in a religious way ("because I, and a bunch of atheists who fail by making arbitrary assumptions").

Back to topic. Who the hell cares if religion is good for your brain. Are we supposed to choose based on convenience? That choice is then irrelevant to an hypothetical just God.
What counts is: do I believe in one, is my belief free from interference, how does it stand against other people's opinions and so on.

Virgin brains... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491557)

To be religious, you got to turn your brain off. An unused, virgin brain will likely look better than one that was used for critical thinking.

"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (5, Informative)

noblebeast (3440077) | about 5 months ago | (#46491239)

The Discovery article makes it pretty clear towards the end that it is not religious belief, but religious activities, that are likely responsible for the cognitive benefits.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491271)

Yeah and the article doesn't go into all the disadvantages of religion which far out weigh the advantages.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (5, Insightful)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491287)

I am not sure we read the same article. Not to invoke an argument, but the TFA talks about listening to sermons and reading the bible. It even ends with '“My personal belief is that having a strong belief is key to getting the benefits,” Fotuhi said.'

Right or wrong, the article says what it says.. The fact that you missed this would suggest you may need to check your confirmation bias filters a bit.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (5, Interesting)

Barsteward (969998) | about 5 months ago | (#46491311)

'“My personal belief is that having a strong belief is key to getting the benefits,” - a conclusion starting "my personal belief.." renders the study biased

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (4, Insightful)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491327)

I am not commenting on the correctness of the article, merely OP's interpretation.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (5, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 5 months ago | (#46491553)

Actually, you're commenting on the OP's interpretation of the article author's interpretation. The study says exactly what OP says it does, that religious activity reduces stress filters, the author's personal opinion is given to create bias and it appears to have worked on you.

It's my personal belief that it has nothing to do with how strongly you believe in any particular religion, and you'd likely see the same benefits from taking time to reflect on your own or discussing matters with supportive friends and family. You can feel free to try to correct my interpretation, as long as you understand it's only your own opinion and possible that of the author against mine, this study does nothing to prove either of us wrong.

Any time I read something saying religion is good or bad in any way, I take it with a grain of salt. There doesn't seem to be anyone studying religion who doesn't have a desired outcome going into it.

That said, this article seems a bit silly, all they're really saying is that people need a release, something anyone alive today can tell you. For some, that release is religion, for others it could be anything. This is not news.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491593)

Since the OP was considering specifically the discovery article, I see no problem in questioning his interpretation. The article is almost certainly biased, but I was commenting on the statement that "The Discovery article makes it pretty clear towards the end that ..."

Nothing has "worked on me", I am just saying the article does not make it pretty clear. Perhaps OP read the actual study, and commented from that point of view. Perhaps not.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

noblebeast (3440077) | about 5 months ago | (#46491441)

It's not so much that the study it biased (it might be), as it is that it's merely a belief, not a conclusion backed by evidence.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#46491385)

Having a strong believe implies involvement with religious activities.
I can understand why GP interpreted it as such.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491413)

A fair point, looking more closely. I'll go check my own filters... :P

Though it may be worth considering whether such activities might produce strong belief of strong belief produces such activities.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (3, Informative)

noblebeast (3440077) | about 5 months ago | (#46491427)

There is no evidence cited in the article suggest that religious belief is responsible for the effects. What you've quoted by Fotuhi is a belief that religious belief has those effects. Research has shown, however, that religious activities and "spirituality" have an effect. Koenig, one of the co-authors suggests that "people doing the types of things like religious people do -- socializing, doing similarly complex cognitive tasks, would have similar benefits." And that does seem to be the case, both with socializing, and with meditation (which arguably serves a function similar to prayer and/or "reading the bible").

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491459)

Complex cognitive tasks? As an engineer, I solve problems that most people wouldn't even be able to comprehend all the time. Socialization is nothing.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (4, Funny)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491533)

And yet, here we are, posting on /. On a Saturday.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 5 months ago | (#46491515)

The article does not actually cite much at all. I see your point and your take on it, but I still think the article slants the other direction, taken as a whole. It isn't insignificant that they end with Fotuhi's quote. Journalism is what journalism is. I would not go as far as to state that the article makes it clear it is religious activity not belief. The author's bias may be showing a bit there.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46491347)

You can separate these two? News to me.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (4, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 5 months ago | (#46491405)

The Discovery article makes it pretty clear towards the end that it is not religious belief, but religious activities, that are likely responsible for the cognitive benefits.

So what you're saying is that social activity can give resistance to depression? Does Slashdot count or does one actually need to go outside? More research is needed.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#46491473)

Does Slashdot count or does one actually need to go outside?

/. absolutely counts...

so long as your needs do not require coddling and unquestioning acceptance.

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491501)

Those with a strong social support group less likely to become depressed! Who'd a thunk it?

Religious people are thick! Well, duh!

Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (1)

graffix01 (973350) | about 5 months ago | (#46491615)

Or you could just meditate and forget about all the bigotry, separatism and hate that religion brings with it. Oh and the belief in invisible magic people in the sky.

Re: "Religious Activities" not Religion per se (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491649)

If it is religious activities and not religious beliefs that help the brain, it sounds like yelling "Oh God" during sex and orgasm may have a therapeutic benefit.

One wonders whether it is the sex itself or the religious chanting activity providing the benefit, however...

So does wanking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491247)

and it keeps your arms in good shape too!

Re:So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491253)

One of them, at least.

Re: So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491283)

Who do you like to beat off to?

Re: So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491297)

well usually i dont go to details but lets just say that kari byron is not a bad choice

Re: So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491321)

Amen

Re: So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491595)

Excellent choice, sir.

Re: So does wanking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491561)

Obligatory your mom lol

Meditation......... (2)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 5 months ago | (#46491251)

One way to reduce stress is through prayer.

And in 2014, we also call it meditation. We have also learned, you dont have to be religious to meditate.

Re:Meditation......... (1)

kbonin (58917) | about 5 months ago | (#46491337)

Prayer != Meditation except for very narrow and atypical interpretations of both words.

Re:Meditation......... (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46491365)

So some people would have you believe. Actually: Prayer = meditation combined with self-indoctrination. A tried-and true thing.

Re:Meditation......... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 5 months ago | (#46491411)

Extract the directionality towards a supernatural being and yes, they are much the same.

Re:Meditation......... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46491355)

Waaaah, sacrilege! Good.

Re:Meditation......... (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about 5 months ago | (#46491371)

yes, and offloading the blame of problems to a non-existent being therefore removing the blame from yourself also relieves stress. its a good ruse to blame something else for all your stress inducing problems.

i've found myself less stressed since getting off the fence of thinking there might be a "higher being so i'll keep my options open". Its got to be stressful thinking you are being watched all the time.

Re:Meditation......... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 5 months ago | (#46491477)

Indeed meditation is a good way to reduce stress, and have the brain generate serotonin [nih.gov] . Opposing religion and stress to argue about brain capacity is ludicrous. To put it simply, strong believers in a religion accept things as they're told and, thus, have less to think and wonder about life, death, present, future and the universe... and that reduces stress. But a regular practice of some sports, a well balanced diet, friends... are some of many ways to reduce stress - while keeping one feet in true and sometimes harsh reality.

No surprise (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46491255)

Religion makes you stupid. In particular the ability to recognize your true situation is something the mental pathogen needs to degrade in order to retain its ability to infect and spread. Hence all perceived gains come at a heavy price: You become less human and both free will and rationality is partially suspended by the malicious meme. The claim that this "improves brain health" just shows the effect at work. It is a misdirection that stems from the defensive strategy of the pathogen.

Re:No surprise (2)

Bongo (13261) | about 5 months ago | (#46491339)

I distinguish between blind belief "my community told me the moon is made of cheese", and thinking about thought "they say it is made of cheese but what is their basis for that claim, what method did they use?". Most religion is blind belief. Still it can serve a purpose. If the community says that killing is wrong, then whether it is understood or not, there is a benefit. Likewise if happiness and peace are aided by a sense of meaning and purpose, you don't have to understand it to gain some benefit, just like I don't have to understand how a pill works when I take it. But progress depends on people and communities getting smarter and today we all need more of that. We are past the "be good to your neighbour" problems, mainly. That might not be due to religion but due to urbanisation by the way. People living close in cities. Anyway, the host is helped up to a point but it is only one factor. The invention of soap probably did a lot too. There are still question to be asked. Are we clever apes who arose out of randomness and selection? That can be questioned. Perhaps as a view, mortality, causes some stress but we don't actually know what happens to sentience. There is no reason I can think of why our brains which do everything, would have any evolutionary advantage in also producing sentience. So death is an open question. But that's the point, it is an unknown and a question. Not something to have yet more blind beliefs about.

Re:No surprise (3, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46491367)

It's clear you have no understanding of religion. Everyone likes to focus on the nutcases running around foaming at the mouth. Any group has a percentage of these people who are unhinged. Many people who attend church do not, in my opinion, truly believe in a God. Many are there for the social aspects of it. A lot of people are there because it feels good to be around people of a like moral perspective. They like performing charitable works and helping others. It's a community. I've been to lots of churches and every single one of them had a different focus. Some are no more than glorified country clubs. The best ones though are the ones that have a strong faith that focuses on the soul. Not the ranting on and hatred of sinners but the love of others and the searching of ones own heart. Silly to you it may be but I know I've seen amazing changes in the lives of people for the better.

Re:No surprise (2)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 5 months ago | (#46491455)

-- This is very insightful; Mother Teresa doubted the existence of God on a regular basis, but she kept doing her charitable work faithfully until the day she died. It gave her piece of mind; isn't that what we all want?

Re:No surprise (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491581)

her "charity" work consisted of gaining a fortune for her order, depriving people of pain medicine (she believed suffering made you closer to the sky fairy)

But for her when she had health problems, amazingly she went and got the best health care.

But for all the people she supposedly help all she did was give them a painful death.

If there was any "Sky fairy" she would have been damned to hell forever.

Too bad the skull grows with it. (-1, Troll)

scsirob (246572) | about 5 months ago | (#46491263)

Even if this were true, it is a shame that those 'better brains' are poisoned with religion. Thicker cortex, perhaps. Thicker skulls without a doubt.

"Brain Health" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491273)

Yeah. I guess we could argue semantics here.

Re:"Brain Health" (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46491307)

Jesus is my personal brain-care specialist.

Re:"Brain Health" (1)

nightcats (1114677) | about 5 months ago | (#46491369)

Well, yeah, he could be. But for that to be, you must become the fool who would persist in his folly [briandonohue.org] . Go so deeply into that darkness that only dark remains. Then it's all a great, purgative laugh.

Re:"Brain Health" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491467)

Judas was just this guy, you know?

Proof that Karl Marx was right (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#46491277)

Re:Proof that Karl Marx was right (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#46491531)

Religion is a balm for damaged souls unable to cope with a harsh world, and it is ever so useful as a mechanism to keep the have-nots in their place.

But caveat emptor, it occasionally unites the masses to exchange one ruling class for another.

So let's say there's an ant farm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491289)

And you're looking at it through one of those big fancy Perspex displays you can see at the local zoo. Most of the ants are running about, doing their daily jobs and generally taking care of what needs to be done.

Then there's a group of ants that meet every couple of days in some remote cave and do strange meaningless things. These are the same ants that tend to break down and appear to do absolutely nothing under stress- it looks like they might be thinking about something really hard, but it's difficult to tell. They seem to do this a lot but nobody really knows why.

What would you say about the behaviour of those ants? What do you think God thinks when he sees his creation unable to cope and doing the same thing?

fantasy world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491291)

So if you could actually make yourself to believe any old religious nonsense, you'd be happier in a fantasy world rather than be slightly worst off in reality? I'd go for reality any day.

So it's better to be a healthy retard (0)

wolfstemple (3578867) | about 5 months ago | (#46491301)

than a sick genius?

Re:So it's better to be a healthy retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491359)

As it's obvious that in your case the first option doesn't apply, you'll have to go for the second one. The good news for you is that you really don't need religion for that, so it's definitely within your reach.

Re:So it's better to be a healthy retard (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 5 months ago | (#46491407)

In his case I don't think even the second one applies.

Ignorance is Bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491305)

Ignorance is Bliss.

Well known fact. Still wouldn't go on and promote ignorance, or say that it is good.
Nothing to see here, move along.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491313)

Researchers have found that some people under the influence of opiates, alcohol, with frontal lobotomies, those who have suffered certain types of brain injury, or born with a genetic mutation which causes the brain to naturally release abnormally large quantities of 'happy chemicals', also reported feeling 'happier with life' (at the time of measurement) despite their situation (from the point of view of an impartial observer) suggesting otherwise.

Religion is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491323)

You know those guys who are super sane, have no suicidal thoughts, the guys who detonated explosives on busses and trains, and highjacked those planes? Or those sane people who for centuries thought the best solution for the evil eye or magic was to burn people alive, or stone them to death? centuries? lol. i mean millennia. sane, level headed individuals :) fantasies are great escapes, especially when they are of an all knowing all seeing violent psychopath that can get you in the day, or in the dark who has a track record of a body count in the millions.

Being forced to submit... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 5 months ago | (#46491329)

...to a "higher authority" is pretty damn stressfull in itself. Are there any Gods out there that don't require some type of worship or submission to their will to avoid being punished in some manner? Am I the only who feels that what they demand is more human than Godlike?

Re:Being forced to submit... (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 5 months ago | (#46491389)

Forced if you mean by say if you were a non-Muslim in a Muslim country, then yeah. Refusing can cause your death. But if you mean God forcing you, no. He gave you freewill and honors that will.

Re:Being forced to submit... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 5 months ago | (#46491479)

So heaven is available to anyone whether or not they follow your God's law? Say, for instance, that I preach that your particular God sucks donkey balls, would he/she hold that against me? We all know a human would, but what about a God?

Re:Being forced to submit... (1)

pla (258480) | about 5 months ago | (#46491651)

So heaven is available to anyone whether or not they follow your God's law?

No. Even according to their own doctrine, "many are called but few are chosen". Funny, really, how people can find it comforting to believe a book that tells them that, out of the billions of people on the planet, a mere 144k of them get into heaven.

Then again, plenty of suckers play the lottery, too, so, what do I know?

Re:Being forced to submit... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46491511)

Imaginary beings can't give me anything, but even if such a thing existed, the punishments for not submitting often seem unpleasant, so from the sound of it, these characters that people made up don't care all that much about free will, nor do they do much to honor it.

I envy the religious (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#46491349)

I just can't get past the fact that it's a lie. Anyone who can look beyond that amazes me.

Re:I envy the religious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491401)

I just can't get past the fact that it's a lie. Anyone who can look beyond that amazes me.

There is nothing amazing about gullibility.

Re:I envy the religious (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#46491431)

Well I envy my cat in the same way: he's happily living his life hunting mice in the garden, eating his food, sleeping and getting petted by yours truly, blissfully unaware of how the food gets in his bowl, how the mice come to exist in the garden, how he gets to sleep warm and cozy even in the dead of winter, what his purpose is and how his life will end.

Comfy, care-free and appealing though a domestic cat's life may be, it doesn't mean I want to be a cat though. I much prefer having a brain big enough to look at the world in a more profound way, even if it can be unsettling.

Re:I envy the religious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491513)

I envy you (being the cat) and the priest (being the cat's owner). The rest of the comment is just a copy&paste from yours.

Well, no, I don't envy you. I pity on you.

Re:I envy the religious (2)

fred911 (83970) | about 5 months ago | (#46491639)

Your cat is looking down at you wondering if you know your reason for existence, to provide housing, food and message in between his naps.

Re:I envy the religious (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 5 months ago | (#46491461)

So pretty much being blissfully unaware in large packs is good for the brain. It's good to be sheeple?

Re:I envy the religious (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#46491641)

So pretty much being blissfully unaware in large packs is good for the brain. It's good to be sheeple?

For many it is.

But take the cat example from just North of here:

For all intents and purposes, I am a g0d to my cat. My level of understanding of the universe around me is so much greater than hers that I worry all the time, yet her ignorant bliss regarding the safety and nourishment she is provided leaves her rarely ever shook up.

She must have a thick ass cortex.

Re:I envy the religious (0)

rayk_sland (791740) | about 5 months ago | (#46491637)

Then you can envy me. The problem you have is that the framework of your worldview does not include the unseen, the unquantifiable. Of course you would think any reference to that which you tune out is a lie. But we who actually believe in "that stuff" have a steady stream of unavoidable data that is there whether you deny it or not. The fun is trying to integrate that data into all the other working theories on which our society is based. It's not easy, but I know what I sense every time I adopt a childlike inner posture and talk/reach out to someone I can't see. The materialistic worldview is like an amputation of a whole range of internal senses by which what we refer to as spiritual is perceived. Because you "know" it's a lie, for you it is a lie. But data like this evidence of better brain health might give you an inkling that there's something out there that you have still to explore.

So does that mean....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491377)

..., that Religious people are more likely to be pig headed ?

Re:So does that mean....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491449)

No it means religious people suppress/hide their feelings more to fit in so don't seek professional help they need so don't show up in the statistics and as a result live secret lives of pure misery.

True? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491395)

And somehow that makes it true?

indoinesia top komen (1)

jawashop (3578869) | about 5 months ago | (#46491419)

salam semua indonesia

Crutches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491425)

New evidence suggests that they can help many with injured legs retain upright mobility.

Sensetional article (4, Interesting)

devent (1627873) | about 5 months ago | (#46491435)

Lisa Miller have a spiritual agenda.
Here is her TEDx talk about love and stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
Also this study is in contradiction with this study:
Being Religious or Spiritual Is Linked With Getting More Depressed
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u... [huffingtonpost.co.uk]

From Lisa Miller:
http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.co... [jamanetwork.com]
"We previously reported a 90% decreased risk in major depression, assessed prospectively, in adult offspring of depressed probands who reported that religion or spirituality was highly important to them."

From Being Religious or Spiritual Is Linked With Getting More Depressed
"A key finding of the study, conducted in several different counties, is that a spiritual life view predisposed to major depression, especially significantly in the UK, where spiritual participants were nearly three times more likely to experience an episode of depression than the secular group."

Lisa Miller have first to explain this contradiction. Maybe some people get cortical thickness from religion, and some don't. I don't have access to Lisa's article.

Re:Sensetional article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491493)

Read yourself: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/si/769804/

Re:Sensetional article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491555)

People who like the results will believe it. People who don't like the results probably won't believe it. Some religious people won't hesitate to refer to this over and over, whether it's valid or not.

At any rate, as is the case with studies that are based on subjective criteria, this study is mere pseudoscience, like most of psychology. I don't believe any of this sort of garbage.

Re:Sensetional article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491629)

Sure sounds like biased rubbish.

Any one who believes in sky fairy's is not to be trusted to do science.

The mere fact they believe in such shit, demonstrates they are incapable of doing any correct science.

Because if they understood science, they would understand that sky fairies don't exist, simple as that.

Anybody who believes in sky fairies, already demonstrates they are an moronic idiot!!.

Meditation is good for your brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491437)

Shocking.

True? (2)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | about 5 months ago | (#46491443)

And somehow that makes religious claims true? Reading Game of Thrones is very enjoyable for me but I've never demanded anyone start a real war for Cersei's fictional c***.

Movies (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 months ago | (#46491507)

Believing that movies are "real" make them enjoyable, but not true. All the crying, pain, emotion shown is just an actor in front of a lot of cameras and people, and probably a green screen behind, but still you feel like it is true, Do the same with religion, suppose that there exist a meaning, luck, justice, etc in life, even someone that you can ask for help and that you can see his hand through confirmation bias. But don't take it too seriously because you know its false. You don't do things that could put your life or of others at risk because you saw someone in an (obviously fiction) movie doing it, take the same attitude regarding religion. Neither you should follow people that claiming that that fiction movie/book was real do things that affect other people lives.

The author Sheila M. Elred (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 5 months ago | (#46491549)

Re:The author Sheila M. Elred (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 5 months ago | (#46491559)

Thought they were all of her, "Blond" hair, blue suit.

So what do you do... (3, Interesting)

acroyear (5882) | about 5 months ago | (#46491563)

...when it is religion itself that is causing you stress?

11 out of 10 doctors recommend lobotomies (1)

linebackn (131821) | about 5 months ago | (#46491567)

In other news, lobotomies are good for people. The less you think, the better you feel. See the full story on Fox News. :P

But seriously, If the results are really more about behaviors, then the REAL problem is that current society does not adequately provide similar social outlets or activities for people who don't happen to believe in imaginary sky beings.

Substituting stress with organized insanity (2)

JavaBear (9872) | about 5 months ago | (#46491573)

It may be that it helps in the short term, but what about in the long run?
When the stressed individual need to be waned off the childhood delusions all over again?

In other words... (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | about 5 months ago | (#46491575)

Ignorance is bliss.

Troll Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491579)

It would be more accurate to say 'stress is bad for your brain' than 'religion is good for your brain'. You don't need religion to remove stress, as such it is a placebo really, doing nothing for the underlying cause. I'd also argue that the whole 'fire and brimstone' BS actually increases stress.

Religion makes you happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491609)

Well...we can break it down and have a debate but I have shit to do.

This is my take away from all of this, community and social safety nets help people cope with stress and pressures of living. After all, there's no fun loving community of Atheists that just share life in their unification of the disbelief in god/s.

Now go hug baby jeebus, get a prayer rug, some holy book or a cow if it makes you feel better...you may find that it's the people around you that make the difference rather than anything else.

Religion OR spirituality - misleading title. (1)

landoltjp (676315) | about 5 months ago | (#46491611)

Colour me shocked - an article that's troll-bait for people opposed to religion.

From the article (and the summary): "A thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion OR SPIRITUALITY [my emphasis] may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness"

So, a different way to read this is that spiritiuality, not just (or not even) religion) can make a difference. I've seen it myself, and it's been shown (no source here) that when people have something "bigger than themselves" in which to believe, it gives them access to strength that wasn't readily available to them before.

I'm not talking about how people use relgion as a shield to be assholes. I'm not talking about how "foolish" it is to hold to a make-believe deity. I'm speaking about how some people derive stength from their faith.

"It doesn't matter what you believe in; just believe" I think is what Sheppard Book said to Cptn Reynolds.

Try meditation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491631)

Meditation provides the same benefits as prayer, without turning you into a blithering fanatic!

How about a religion that doesn't require God? UUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46491633)

Universal Unitarian Church. It should be perfect for all you liberal kiddies here on slashdot. I'm wishing they would be a bit more comfortable to center right people, but hey, their church, their rules. Atheists and Pagans worshipping with christians and nothing but global warming and social justice getting shoved down your throats. A win win for the typical slashdot patron!

Stress relief (5, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 5 months ago | (#46491635)

One way to reduce stress is through prayer.

Sex and alcohol work pretty well too. And they are arguably a lot more fun.

Remids me of... (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 5 months ago | (#46491643)

I'm immediately reminded of the "news" articles about about the "religious archeologist" who found a sliver of iron from a site in Israel, and pronounced they had found a nail from the crucifixion. What a complete pile of bullshit you get anymore when some social science dumbass tries to figure out anything.
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