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Old 10-25-2022, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post


It is worth noting that in a study of 3010 individuals, only 83 people in the study were atheists. I'm not sure if this is proportionate to the general population.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
That's about 2.75%, which is probably in the ballpark. But it doesn't change that 83 is a small sample from which to draw conclusions, compared to the religious sample.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Sample size depends on the diversity within the population. It just needs to contain a randomly acquired sufficient number of each variety to estimate an error term. Sampling error can be estimated quite accurately with small samples even for very large populations.

A sample size of 3000 people is a very normal quantity of people for a study such as this.

However, considering the focus of the study is a comparison of Health and Well-Being Among the Non-religious: Atheists, Agnostics, and No Preference Compared with Religious Group Members, comparing a less than 3% sample of atheists against a significantly larger sample of religious people, is an incredibly unbalanced comparison.


The study also mentions that:


Quote:
Atheists and agnostics had significantly higher average levels of education than those with any religious affiliation or no religious preference.
No conclusion is drawn as to the social or mental implications of this particular statement.

Not that I'm disagreeing with the conclusions. There undoubtedly are some mental health benefits to belonging to a social group for certain types of people.

In fact if anybody cares to read the study, social implications are widely discussed. Two examples:

Quote:
To the extent that religiously-uninvolved individuals lack certain social and
psychological resources that help support health and well-being,secular sources of personal support (e.g., families) may play an even larger role as support systems, and other social institutions may face increasing demands.
Quote:
Non-affiliation may reflect either a lack of interest in religious matters or a definite set of beliefs skeptical to or opposing religious beliefs. Atheism has received a growing amount of attention in the literature, with the rise of the “New Atheist”movement as a highly visible and deliberately secular worldview promoted
in opposition to religious involvement(Cimino & Smith, 2011). It is possible that to the extent that this movementpromotes some of the same psychological elements thought to mediate some of the benefits of religion on health (e.g., a sense of meaning, worldview defense, a sense of shared identity), it may
fulfill at least some of the same functions and thus confer some of the same health benefits as religious involvement.
The conclusions reagarding mental health are almost wholly of a social rather than spiritual nature.


Even the introverts amongst us crave some level of social interaction and support. Social interaction is something I find somewhat lacking in the US actually in comparison to the UK where atheism is far more widespread and accepted.
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:06 AM
 
29,335 posts, read 9,494,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
Religious belief or the lack of, and its effect on mental health, has always been part of psychological analysis and threapy and has now become even more important.
True. I am an atheist, but I've never discounted the effect on mental health that religious beliefs and/or spirituality can have on one's well being. The psychological effects can be profound. To some extent that I once also enjoyed when I was religious. I've also started and been a part of more than a few threads addressing how all this works psychologically.

Title of this thread caught my eye, because I am a health conscious atheist. Trying to keep my blood pressure down by doing more exercise and adopting better eating and drinking habits. Fortunately, I am enjoying some good mental health in my later years, but I've known depression in my day too. Important to keep everything in balance in any case, and for me a belief in a god is not part of that balance. Unless of course being an atheist can be considered a part of that balance. Feels like a good balance for me mentally and physically right now either way.

Here's to everyone's better mental and physical health however they may manage it, as again I say "whatever works!"
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Old 10-25-2022, 12:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LearnMe View Post
True. I am an atheist, but I've never discounted the effect on mental health that religious beliefs and/or spirituality can have on one's well being. The psychological effects can be profound. To some extent that I once also enjoyed when I was religious. I've also started and been a part of more than a few threads addressing how all this works psychologically.

Title of this thread caught my eye, because I am a health conscious atheist. Trying to keep my blood pressure down by doing more exercise and adopting better eating and drinking habits. Fortunately, I am enjoying some good mental health in my later years, but I've known depression in my day too. Important to keep everything in balance in any case, and for me a belief in a god is not part of that balance. Unless of course being an atheist can be considered a part of that balance. Feels like a good balance for me mentally and physically right now either way.

Here's to everyone's better mental and physical health however they may manage it, as again I say "whatever works!"
Good for you. Just as therapy and medicine is always for those that need it most, faith and spirituality, are for those who need it the most. only they can be judge of that, nobody else can. considering the study that reveals the mental health benefit of belief, talking someone out of it would be a disservice to them
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Old 10-25-2022, 02:22 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
Good for you. Just as therapy and medicine is always for those that need it most, faith and spirituality, are for those who need it the most. only they can be judge of that, nobody else can. considering the study that reveals the mental health benefit of belief, talking someone out of it would be a disservice to them
Therapy and medicine (and any other sort of mental healthcare regimen) stand on their own. Depending on the individual, religious and spiritual practices may, or may not, help them achieve better mental health. Religion and spirituality are not a substitute for mental healthcare treatment directed by a competent professional.
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Old 10-25-2022, 08:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElijahAstin View Post
Therapy and medicine (and any other sort of mental healthcare regimen) stand on their own. Depending on the individual, religious and spiritual practices may, or may not, help them achieve better mental health. Religion and spirituality are not a substitute for mental healthcare treatment directed by a competent professional.
yeah, except nobody said that. have a nice time arguing with yourself.
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Old 10-25-2022, 08:14 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
yeah, except nobody said that. have a nice time arguing with yourself.
I’m not arguing with anyone. It’s not my fault that your word salad is comprehensible only to you and your fellow travelers.
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
10,483 posts, read 6,093,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
Good for you. Just as therapy and medicine is always for those that need it most, faith and spirituality, are for those who need it the most. only they can be judge of that, nobody else can. considering the study that reveals the mental health benefit of belief, talking someone out of it would be a disservice to them
Actually the study focuses almost wholly on the social aspect of mental health and belonging to a religious group ie the mental health benefit from a social support system. I don't think it mentions the mental health benefit of belief at all. I could be mistaken about that but it is late and I'm going from memory. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

Do you believe that someone can be talked out of what they believe?
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:00 AM
 
29,335 posts, read 9,494,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Actually the study focuses almost wholly on the social aspect of mental health and belonging to a religious group ie the mental health benefit from a social support system. I don't think it mentions the mental health benefit of belief at all. I could be mistaken about that but it is late and I'm going from memory. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

Do you believe that someone can be talked out of what they believe?
When we are young enough and still developing our beliefs along these lines, I think someone can be talked into what to believe and/or not believe, but then we get older and no doubt these beliefs get ingrained to the point of "nuff said." The cake is baked...

Regardless what the article says, there is clear evidence that religion can and does help people not only feel better in general but also helps them through difficult times. Again I've started threads and there have been others about this, and for the most part again it simply boils down to Psychology 101. A little different from medicine, but more in line with therapy that CB referenced.

What remains unclear to me is how the negative impacts of religion on people affect people on balance. We've all read the stories of people who have been negatively impacted by religion one way or another, and although I suspect the positive benefits outweigh the negatives in terms of numbers of people who have experienced either or both at a personal level, I'm not sure to what extent the positives outweigh the negatives on a macro level. Especially if violence due to conflicting and/or competing religions is included in the mix.

Clearly the numbers seem to demonstrate that religion works for a great many people one way or another, even discounting those who are religious because of fear or undue influence or whatever. This is why if the issue is one's well being, I'm reluctant to cause any doubt in anyone's faith even if creating doubt is possible. If on the other hand the focus is on true cause/effect and what is actually going on around us, as in whether there is actually a god or not, then I can't help but make the case for being an atheist.

Back to the topic of this thread, I don't think anyone should fear that being an atheist is any less healthy a way of thinking or with fewer health benefits than to be religious. Hasn't been for me anyway...
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Old 10-26-2022, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
10,483 posts, read 6,093,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb2008 View Post
Good for you. Just as therapy and medicine is always for those that need it most, faith and spirituality, are for those who need it the most. only they can be judge of that, nobody else can. considering the study that reveals the mental health benefit of belief, talking someone out of it would be a disservice to them
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Actually the study focuses almost wholly on the social aspect of mental health and belonging to a religious group ie the mental health benefit from a social support system. I don't think it mentions the mental health benefit of belief at all. I could be mistaken about that but it is late and I'm going from memory. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

Do you believe that someone can be talked out of what they believe?

I went back today and read through the whole thing again. There's not a single mention of belief.

The study largely talks about mental health benefits provided from the social support system of belonging to a religious group. There's no mention of spirituality either.

The concern here is that atheists and those with no religious affiliation may have that social support network missing.

Conclusion given:

Quote:
As the religious composition of the population undergoes gradual but measurable change, it is especially important to understand these shifts not only for their own sake, but also in order to anticipate their potential impacts on other important facets of society. These results are valuable in suggesting some of the ways in which these broad changes may impact individual health and well-being. They also emphasize the importance of disaggregating the “religious nones” to understand how different categories of religious non-affiliation may be affected in very different ways depending on how these orientations may serve to either compensate or exacerbate the missing functions of religious involvement.
I think it's a bit of a useless study to be honest.


On the atheism sub forum, we've discussed that some people choose to remain within their religious group sometimes long after they have lost their faith because they would miss the social aspect in their lives.

The study makes no suggestions how people can actually compensate for this social support loss.

Of course out there in real life, people either find some other outlet such as joining a community group or book club or such-like. Or they don't. They just get on with life without it.

The only useful thing I have got out of it, is it has made me think back to the non religious social support networks in the UK that are far more wide ranging than here in the US - probably another reason that the UK has far more atheists.
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Old 10-26-2022, 12:15 PM
 
15,792 posts, read 6,856,651 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Actually the study focuses almost wholly on the social aspect of mental health and belonging to a religious group ie the mental health benefit from a social support system. I don't think it mentions the mental health benefit of belief at all. I could be mistaken about that but it is late and I'm going from memory. I'll take another look at it tomorrow.

2. Do you believe that someone can be talked out of what they believe?
Quote:
Religious non-affiliates did not differ overall from affiliates in terms of physical health outcomes ..., but had worse positive psychological functioning characteristics, social support relationships, and health behaviors. On dimensions related to psychological well-being, atheists and agnostics tended to have worse outcomes than either those with religious affiliation or those with no religious preference.


Thank you for reading the entire article and reporting back to us. The abstract seems suffice to me. I would have only wondered about the methodology, and apparently you did not have any problem other than the numbers of atheists as a ratio.

The bolded seems to me as belief being directly related to psychological well-being and positive psych. functioning characteristics, not just better access to social support. Social support for the social aspect of mental health is necessary but not essential to psychological well being if all other things are in good balance, which seems to be the case for those with belief.


2. 2. Do you believe that someone can be talked out of what they believe?
Why not? If one can be talked into belief in a higher power, as the AA seems to be quite successfully doing in recovery programs, and also for people outside of such programs who have turned to spirituality, the opposite is true as well. It is a sad thing that people have turned off from their religion, not because they lack religion now, but the bitterness and hopelessness that their experience has caused them to carry with them. That is a terrible burden that can manifest as negative psychological functioning characteristics that affect their well-being.
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