Considerable research has emerged over the past five decades that demonstrates the benefits of religious practice for society. Religious practice promotes the well-being of individuals , families , and the community. Regular attendance at religious services is linked to healthy, stable family life , strong marriages , and well-behaved children.
Religious worship also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crime , substance abuse , and addiction. In addition, religious practice can increase physical and mental health , longevity, and education attainment. These effects are intergenerational, as grandparents and parents pass on the benefits to the next generations.
Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society
George Washington articulated the indispensability of the freedom of religious practice in his farewell address to the nation:. The practice of religion is a powerful antidote to many of our nation's pressing social ills, many of which have reached historically high proportions. Yet, despite the societal benefits of religion, the expression of faith in the public square has faced many challenges.
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Social science research indicates that permitting and accommodating free religious practice is necessary to move society in positive directions. See Effects of Religious Practice on Education. Because education is important in so many ways for all citizens, any factor that promotes academic achievement is important to the common good.
Academic expectations, level of education attained, school attendance, and academic performance are all positively affected by religious practice. The greater the parents' religious involvement, the more likely they will have higher educational expectations for their children, and the more likely they will communicate with their children about schooling.
Patrick Fagan and Dr. Students in religiously affiliated schools tend to exhibit a higher level of academic achievement than their peers in secular schools, particularly in low-income urban neighborhoods. For example, studies continue to find that inner-city students in public schools lag behind in educational achievement, compared with students in Catholic schools.
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The cultural values of a religious community are also a significant pathway to academic success for adolescents. For example, to earn a high school diploma or take advanced math courses, children must plan for the future and structure their activities accordingly.
OA-Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT)
Religious communities typically invest in forming an ethic of such discipline and persistence. A recent study confirms both this indirect contribution of religious community values and the direct influence of the students' own religious activities in promoting academic achievement. Earlier studies found this same relationship between religious practice and academic discipline.
For example, in , the groundbreaking work of Richard Freeman of Harvard University revealed that attendance at religious services and activities positively affected inner-city youth school attendance, work activity, and allocation of time—all of which were further linked to a decreased likelihood of engaging in deviant activities. See Effects of Religious Practice on Charity. Religious practice is linked to greater generosity in charitable giving and volunteering.
The Role Of Religion On Roman Society
In extensive research documenting the relationship between religion and philanthropy, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute found that religious people were 25 percent more likely than their secular counterparts to donate money and 23 percent more likely to volunteer time. Even when it came to nonreligious causes, religious people were more generous. Brooks also demonstrated that religious practice correlates with a higher rate of care and concern for others. Compared with peers with no religious affiliation, religious respondents were 15 percent more likely to report having tender, concerned feelings for the disadvantaged.
Religion's Role in Society
This gap was reduced by only 2 percent when the effects of education, income, marital status, sex, race, and age were taken into account. For youth in impoverished neighborhoods, religious attendance made the greatest difference in academic achievement prospects, according to research in by Mark Regnerus. As rates of unemployment, poverty, and female-headed households grew in a neighborhood, the impact of a student's level of religious practice on academic progress became even stronger. Regnerus goes on to suggest that religious affiliation had a positive impact on educational attainment for African-Americans residing in a high-risk neighborhood, even when controlling for family structure, although its effect was strongest for youth living in two-parent families.
Is the parish still a relevant or effective means of evangelisation? The second of a series of three events which will be held over the next year in association with About the Centre The Benedict XVI Centre is an international hub for research and engagement activities in the area of religion and the social sciences primarily economics, sociology, and political science.
From Salt Lake City Utah, The Church Extends Humanitarian Aid to Samoa
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