The Correlation Between Religion and Mental Health

Van Eerden Lecture SeriesHave you ever wondered if there is any correlation between religion, spirituality, and mental health…and if so, what the connection is? Harold KoenigYesterday I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. Harold Koenig lecture at Pine Rest. Dr. Koenig is a psychiatrist and one of the world’s premiere experts on religion and health. He’s the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of  Psychiatry in Medicine and is still on the board of some 20 professional journals as well as being the Director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health. He’s also a world-renowned speaker who has testified before both the U.S. Senate and House, and he’s made countless T.V., radio, and lecture appearances around the world. Everything he presented was well researched and carefully documented, but as a speaker, Dr. Koenig is articulate, clear, engaging, and totally accessible, even to me as a non-medical, non-professional lay person. Alan introducing Alan (who was privileged to be Dr. Koenig’s escort and presenter), read through Harold’s  82-pp CV in preparation for introducing him. He noted that Dr. Koenig has written nearly 400 peer-reviewed articles and published 40 books. Needless to say, this man speaks with the authority of a well-researched scientist.AgendaAnd, what did Harold Koenig have to say? Well, more than I’m ever going to be able to share in a simple blog post, but if you’ll indulge me in trying to condense a lifetime of dedicated research into one sentence, I will share this: People who believe in God and are “attached” to Him (as generally determined by 3 basic practices: daily prayer, daily study of holy scriptures, and weekly attendance at religious services) have been proven in more than 2/3 of scientific studies to be healthier and recover more quickly from mental and physical, health-related problems…all things being equal (i.e. basic health being similar before conversion and/or before health challenge arose). Alan and Dr. Harold Koenig That’s a long sentence, and you may feel that I haven’t said nearly enough to persuade you that Dr. Koenig is right, or that his research and studies of the research are correct. (Although, I did try by listing a tiny résumé of his sterling credentials). However, if you’re interested in living as long and healthy a life as possible, would you be willing to consider religion as one avenue for improving your health? If so, you might want to check out Dr. Koenig’s website for more information or resources:

I, for one, just ordered his autobiography, so maybe you’ll even hear more from me in the future. But, in the meantime, please consider the possibility of practicing these 3 basics: attending a corporate worship service weekly, daily prayer, and meditation on the holy scriptures.  Blessings as you go! I’m going too. 🙂The Healing Connection

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

2 responses to “The Correlation Between Religion and Mental Health

  1. It is great to hear a professional confirm what I have always believed to be true.

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