Do religious people fret and worry?
Are they depressed? Or is it the other way around: Americans who are not religious worry and feel depressed?
Seven of ten Americans felt worried or anxious at least once in the month prior, according to The Baylor Religion Survey. Some (17%) said that they were worried, tense or anxious more than ten days out of the month. Baylor researchers compared the frequent worriers with those who said they didn’t worry at all. (Follow the links above to earlier stories this week; there’s a link to the entire Baylor report in Part 1.)
Here’s what the Baylor researchers found: Worriers are less likely to attend religious services or to read the Bible. They are less likely to say they are very religious or to affiliate with a religion.
Prayer doesn’t make a difference. Worriers and the worry-free pray at the same frequency.
About one of two Americans said they felt depressed or sad in the previous month, with about one in ten (11%) saying they felt depressed more than ten days out of the month. Baylor researchers compared this 11% with those who reported that they never felt sad or depressed.
Here’s what they learned about this group: Depressed Americans are less likely to attend religious services or to read the Bible. They are more likely to say they are not very religious or unaffiliated. Depressed Americans are also less likely to pray, compared to those who are never sad.
Perhaps religious Americans take scripture to heart: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25 New International Version)
Do you worry and fret?
Are you depressed?
If you are religious, does it help to worry less and to avoid depression?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.