Another Mystery of Faith, or, Why Americans Are Still Fat Slobs


Another study has discovered that regular church attendance "accounts for" longer life spans. Regular religious observance provides better longevity returns, at a lower price, than statin-type therapies.

"Our culture, particularly our medical culture, tends to have a strong secular bias. This data shows in ways that are unquestionable that there's something going on in people's beliefs and practices that makes them healthier," says Daniel Hall, author of the report "Religious Attendance: More Cost-Effective Than Lipitor?" in the current issue of The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (available in its entirety here). "To ignore this phenomenon would be foolish."

Hall, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center physician and a "priest" in the Episcopal church, plays up the value of being "knit into" a religious community and having "meaning" in your life, but leaves for the jump page the news that regular exercise gets you many more years of life at a much lower price than either drugs or religion.

The study doesn't go into it, but I suspect that as in previous such reports, the real key is that religous observance correlates highly with abstemiousness, regimented daily habits, and other behavior patterns that tend to lengthen your life span. But with the evolution brouhaha winding down (for now), I wonder again why the biggest opponents of natural selection tend to be religious people. They outbreed the rest of us; they live longer; they're better at nurturing the necessary survival mechanisms in their young; they're so much more numerous it's not even worth discussing—by any measure, the religious are the big winners in the natural selection lottery. So why are they so opposed to it?