A Connection Between Religion and Health?
Is there a quantifiable connection between religious behaviors and health?
1. Beit-Hallahmi’s colleague purposes that humans have a natural intuition to sense sickness and avoid it. This intuition is sometimes described in religious terms, as an ability to sense the non-physical.
Beit-Hallahmi throws this idea out the window:
If we instantly and instinctively knew which people had HIV or cancer, wouldn’t the history of the world look a little different?
Beit-Hallahmi says we’re taught to avoid risky behaviors because science and experience tells us what happens when we don’t wash our hands or use a tissue.
2. Beit-Hallahmi also mentions that in our new era of disease-awareness and prevention, many religious-minded groups link sickness with divine punishment.
He also rejects this, claiming that these links are adaptive expressions of tension: like having strange dreams when you’re stressed. A subconscious and imaginary explanation used to grapple with a difficult and real event.
3. Finally, Beit-Hallahmi criticized his colleague for linking religious behaviors with health.
“Are the more religious people of Afghanistan healthier than the less religious people of Sweden?”
Health is dependant on a multitude of other factors, like economic conditions and diet. Religious behaviors don’t necessarily have much to do with overall health, and in some cases, can prevent a person from seeking medical attention (blood transfusions, for instance).
Beit-Hallahmi has a lot of opinions and data on this matter, but what do you think?