Pointers September 2014
Inside this issue:
Does Faith Give you Better Health?
A recent book by Rodney Stark, a renowned sociologist of religion in the United States of America, America’s Blessings, argued that church attenders, on average, have an expectation of 7.6 years of life longer when they are 20 years of age than do non-church attenders (Stark 2012, loc. 1554). He argues that part of it is due to the ‘clean living’ of religious people. However, over and above that, he maintains religion contributes to lower blood pressure. In addition, he quotes another large study which found that church attenders were less likely than non-church attenders to have strokes. The major reasons, the book suggests, for these positive relationships are the fact that religion allays anxiety and tensions, loneliness and depression, and that it provides social support (Stark 2012, loc 1575). The data from a survey of public health which is part of the International Social Survey Program allows us to make some examination of the relationship between religious faith and health among Australians.
A Note on America’s Blessings
America’s Blessings: How Religion Benefits Everyone Including Atheists (West Conshohocken, PA, USA: TempletonPress, 2012) summarises a wide range of research about the impact of religion on various aspects of life. The author, prominent US sociologist, Rodney Stark, argues that religion has a significant impact on many aspects of life including crime, fertility and the number of children in the family, levels of divorce, physical and mental health, generous citizenship, success in education, holding upper-prestige occupations, and home ownership. Taking all the benefits into account, Stark argues that American religion has an annual cash value of more than $2.6 trillion.
CRA Chairman’s Report 2014
Staff Report 2013-2014
CRA Finances 2013-14
Environmental Concerns among Christians and non- Christians
The lyrics of Australia’s national anthem reflect the environmental uniqueness of this country. With phrases such as “golden soil”, “nature’s gifts”, “beauty rich and rare”, arguably many Australians would consider the anthem as reflecting their own views of the Australian environment. While many Australian Christians consider it a responsibility to look after ‘God’s environment’, there are other Christians who take literally the Genesis 1:27 suggestion that human beings should rule over all the world and are unwilling to take action to protect the environment (see Hughes, 1997).