Tuesday, April 04, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Study: Go to church, live 3.1 years longer

The study involved is a meta-analysis--literally something that takes apart the findings from other studies after they are done. Meta-analysis took years to gain widespread acceptance--as I know, because I once performed it.

In this case, Daniel Hall, MD, from Pittsburgh, PA, found that going to church extends your life to an extent comparable to regular exercise and the taking of anti-cholesterol "statins." (You've seen the ads for at least two of them, which go by the trade names Crestor and Lipitor.) Not only that, but going to church is cheaper than buying statins, and that's assuming that you pay the tithe.

Dr. Hall did not, however, figure out why going to church will extend your life. Well, as a former physician who now attends what might as well be a lay community seminary, I could tell Dr. Hall the reason. When you go to a church--especially a good one--you get regular advice on what you should and should not have on your brain, what should and should not matter to you, and how and how not to live. While that advice is usually short on specifics (except for not soliciting prostitutes and perhaps also, as at my church, not taking alcohol), it consists of general principles that condemn overindulgence and suggest that a person ought to find his happiness in his relationship to God and not in any material possession or pursuit. One who takes that advice to heart tends not to eat fatty foods, and in general to follow a "low-risk" lifestyle. (He probably doesn't go to the movies, either, because of their trashy content, and as a result avoids the fattening and artery-hardening movie popcorn.)

That Dr. Hall is an Episcopal priest makes the incompleteness of his research the more striking. What sort of advice does he give in his church? I am left to believe that at my church, where the advice is rock-solid and often hard-hitting, my fellow attendees are probably living five to seven years longer than they otherwise would.

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