Living longer, but committing fewer crimes

Living longer, but committing fewer crimes June 30, 2020


The Bountiful Temple from above
An aerial view of the Bountiful Utah Temple
(LDS Media Library), very near the place where I’m currently typing


Well, I’m very close to posting my last notes from Paul McFate, 52 Good Reasons to Go to Church, Besides the Obvious Ones (Chicago: ACTA Publications, 2004).  But I’m not quite there yet.  Happily, though, I can report that the two items listed below, like those that have gone before them from Paul McFate’s excellent little booklet, are more than appropriate for inclusion in your Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File:

  • Fewer Criminals (page 60) — One interesting criminological study of 550 white men — averaging forty-one years of age and reporting an average of $30,000 in annual income — focused on residents of a metropolitan area in the American Midwest.  Published in 1995, it measured a variety of religious behaviors as well as asking about whether or not, during the previous year, the men surveyed had committed one or more of forty-three criminal activities.  The study found that religious activity was significantly and inversely correlated with criminal activity.  [T. D. Evans, F. T. Cullen, R. G. Dunaway, and V. S. Burton, “Religion and Crime Reexamined: The Impact of Religion, Secular Controls, and Social Ecology on Adult Criminality,” Criminology 33 (1995): 195-217; R. M. Fernquist, “A Research Note on the Association Between Religion and Delinquency,” Deviant Behavior 16 (1995): 169-175]
  • Greater Longevity (page 61) — Numerous studies demonstrate that those who attend church or religious services tend to socialize more, have more friends, feel more concern for others, and do more volunteer work — all of which have been shown to enhance health and happiness.  But “Couldn’t we just skip going to church and engage in these other health-promoting behaviors to achieve the same results?”  Very surprisingly but very possibly, the answer is No.  Basing his analysis on a 1984 national health survey and a 1991 follow-up to that survey, R. G. Rogers was able to show the distinctly stronger positive impact of church attendance on health, as opposed to mere socializing.  His findings supported an earlier study that had been based on a random sample of 507 adults over the age of forty-five.  In that 1973 study, participation in voluntary organizations other than churches was found not to be correlated with greater life satisfaction.  [R. G. Rogers, “The Effects of Family Composition, Health, and Social Support Linkages on Mortality,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 37 (1996): 326-338; D. L. Klemmack and J. N. Edwards, “Correlates of Life Satisfaction: A Reexamination,” Journal of Gerontology 28 (1973): 497-502)]


Posted from Bountiful, Utah



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