Perhaps you’ve heard it before – religion is bad for your mental health.
It triggers feelings of guilt, self-loathing and bigotry.
But, actually, there are many ways in which the opposite is true. Karen Pang’s story is testament to that, which you’ll hear in this episode.
There’s also a growing body of research – authoritative, real-life, peer-reviewed research – that reports a significant benefit to wellbeing if you are religious.
That’s right. You are more healthy if you are religious.
Do you need help?
- If you’re in Australia, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
- In the UK? Call The Samaritans on 116 123.
- If you’re in the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255
- This episode is brought to you by Zondervan Academic’s book, Three Views on Chrisitanity and Science with contributions from Alister McGrath, Bruce L Gordon and Michael Ruse.
- Listen to the full interview with Buff and John Dickson on ABC’s The Spirit of Things
- Watch the full Playschool series on feelings, How do you feel today?
- Read the full data on the risk of suicide for people with bipolar, from SANE Australia
- Read the biblical accounts of the deaths of Saul and Judas.
- Read St Augustine’s City of God
- Check out Tyler VanderWeele’s research on deaths of despair and religious service attendance. Full paper here.
- Tyler’s research on mental and physical health and the effects of religious service attendance (also check out his full list of research papers in his profile above!)
- Watch Tyler VanderWeele consider whether the results of his research that concluded religious service attendance had a significant positive impact on mental health might be reverse causation.
- Get the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Health
- See for yourself the strong evidence of an association between attending religious services and happiness and life satisfaction.
- Need help to pray? Try the Book of Common Prayer, which Buff Dickson talks about praying through when she just couldn’t find the words on her own. Here’s an example, the prayer for Sunday 2 May 2021:
who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Meet our guests
Karen Pang is a film and TV actress and presenter. Best known for being a presenter on children’s program Play School, having been a presenter of the program since 1998, and she has also had roles in movies including Superman Returns, Safety in Numbers (2006 film), Danny Deckchair, The Nugget and Low Fat Elephants. She has also had several roles on mini-series and television, including Home and Away and All Saints.
Lyn Worsley is the Director of The Resilience Centre. She is a Clinical Psychologist and Registered Nurse with vast experience in teaching, youth work, early childhood, hospitals and correctional services. She specialises in child, adolescent & family psychology and relationship issues. She is also the author of “The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Kids” and “The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Adults”.
Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D., is the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Director of the Human Flourishing Program and Co-Director of the Initiative on Health, Religion and Spirituality at Harvard University.
His methodological research is focused on theory and methods for distinguishing between association and causation in the biomedical and social sciences and, more recently, on psychosocial measurement theory.