Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is religion good for you?

The question is fairly difficult to answer because nature doesn't randomly assign individuals to carry strong religious beliefs (experimental group) or to agnosticism or atheism (control group).

Jonathan Gruber (yes that guy) uses religious density as an instrument that changes religious beliefs--acting as sort of a natural experiment--that allows him to trace out of the causal effects of religion.  Here is his conclusion:

Religious density significantly increased level of religious participation, and as well to better outcomes according to several key economic indicators: higher levels of education and income, lower levels of welfare receipt and disability, higher levels of marriage, and lower levels of divorce.

Bottom line:  religious beliefs have tangible benefits.

13 comments:

  1. The Economist points out that religious people are often very trusting, especially of others who share their own faith. This can lead to people getting swindled as wolves dressed as sheep prey on the flock.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21543526

    So, while enjoying these benefits, religious folks still must be careful with every decision they make. They must always consider, *who is making the decision*, *what information they have*, *and what their incentives are*. If not, they run a higher risk of getting ripped off.

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  3. Over the years the discoveries about religion is that going to church weekly is good for us. Religious attendance or at least religiosity can boosts the immune system and decrease blood pressure. It may add as much as five to six years to our life. There may be another factor called faith. Faith stipulate that we experience the world as more than just what is material and observable. This does not mean that God is imaginary, but because God is immaterial, those of faith must use their imaginations to represent God. For us to know God we must experience what can only be imagined as real and we must also experience it as good. However I believe that this is a skill and it can be learned. We can call it absorption, it is the capacity to be caught up in our imagination, in a way we enjoy. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research – “Doubling the rate of religious attendance raises household income by 9.1 percent, decrease welfare participation by 16 percent from baseline rates, decreases the odds of being divorced by 4 percent and increases the odds of being married by 4.4 percent.

    On the other hand a widespread belief exists that even if it is not true religions it is worth practicing because of its benefits. But there is mainly one definite positive correlation between religious practice and health is with church going, and it is not proven that this is anything supernatural. It may be far more likely to be the result of a healthier lifestyle among churchgoers. There is a no smoking or a drinking in church, except for a sip of watered-down wine or unfermented wine (grape juice) use at special occasion like communion. For instance the Blue Zone in California, most of those people go to church and they live a healthier lifestyle.

    Reference:

    1. Frobe, McCann, Ward and Shor (2014) Managerial Economics – A Problem Solving Approach.

    2. Gorman, Linda. (2014) National Bureau of Economics Research. Cambridge, MA
    3. Luhrmann, T. M (2013) New York Times - Why Going to Church is Good for You

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  4. Over the years the discoveries about religion is that going to church weekly is good for us. Religious attendance or at least religiosity can boosts the immune system and decrease blood pressure. It may add as much as five to six years to our life. There may be another factor called faith. Faith stipulate that we experience the world as more than just what is material and observable. This does not mean that God is imaginary, but because God is immaterial, those of faith must use their imaginations to represent God. For us to know God we must experience what can only be imagined as real and we must also experience it as good. However I believe that this is a skill and it can be learned. We can call it absorption, it is the capacity to be caught up in our imagination, in a way we enjoy. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research – “Doubling the rate of religious attendance raises household income by 9.1 percent, decrease welfare participation by 16 percent from baseline rates, decreases the odds of being divorced by 4 percent and increases the odds of being married by 4.4 percent.

    On the other hand a widespread belief exists that even if it is not true religions it is worth practicing because of its benefits. But there is mainly one definite positive correlation between religious practice and health is with church going, and it is not proven that this is anything supernatural. It may be far more likely to be the result of a healthier lifestyle among churchgoers. There is a no smoking or a drinking in church, except for a sip of watered-down wine or unfermented wine (grape juice) use at special occasion like communion. For instance the Blue Zone in California, most of those people go to church and they live a healthier lifestyle.

    Reference:

    1. Frobe, McCann, Ward and Shor (2014) Managerial Economics – A Problem Solving Approach.

    2. Gorman, Linda. (2014) National Bureau of Economics Research. Cambridge, MA
    3. Luhrmann, T. M (2013) New York Times - Why Going to Church is Good for You

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  5. Is religion good for you?
    Everyone has an opinion about religion. It is whether or not you want to include religion in your life. One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.

    Certainly many churchgoers struggle with behaviors they would like to change, but on average, regular church attendees drink less, smoke less, use fewer recreational drugs and are less sexually promiscuous than others. Nevertheless not everyone benefits from symbolic healing. We urgently need more research on the relationship between mental illness and religion, not only so that we understand that relationship more intimately — the ways in which they are linked and different — but to lower the shame for those who are religious and nonetheless need to reach out for other care.

    Work Cited:

    Luhrmann, T. (2013) The Benefits of Church. New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/luhrmann-why-going-to-church-is-good-for-you.html?_r=0

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  6. Religious belief is not something that we are born with; I believe we learn to be religious and how we learn this is based on how we are raised from the time we are born until we become adults. Religion may offer tangible benefits, however I don’t believe that religion measures the level of success or education one possesses. I also don’t think being religious ensures that a person will not need welfare or become disabled. Religion can have an influence on whether or not a couple divorces because certain religions frown upon divorce. I do believe that religion can influence a person in terms of morals, ethics, and overall personality. It all boils down to the way we were raised and our personal ambitions.

    Works Cited:

    Froeb, L. M., McCann, B. T., Shor, M., & Ward, M. R. (2014). Managerial Economics; A problem solving approach (3rd edition). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

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  7. In Chapter 17 of the Managerial Economics text, the authors highlight the process of making good decisions when uncertainty exists. Individuals analyze situations, isolate possible variables, and determine a single correct answer or choice according to the assign probabilities of the possible outcome (Froeb, McCann, Shor, & Ward, 2014, p. 207). There is, however, a point when decisions are made without knowing precisely the only correct solution.

    In the real world of business or life, there will always be a portion that is uncertain and that no level of analysis will create absolute certainty. One of the most sensitive examples of this reality is the impact of religion upon a person and their level of success. In a 2005 study conducted by John Gruber, it was presumed that higher religious density, with complimentary ancestry, resulted in better outcomes with education, income level and marital status (Gruber, 2005, p. 26). While Gruber employed a statistical review of data to prove his natural experiment, Gruber even admitted in his conclusion that there could be several other factors that needed to be studied. Gruber’s final possible explanation of how religion impacts these outcomes was “it is possible that more religious faith improves well-being directly” (Gruber, 2005, p. 27).

    I would propose that “faith” or spirituality does play a role in early childhood development, family structure, and therefore, impacts the stability of the family unit and becomes a significant influencer in those outcomes. I think Gruber’s research, in regards to the religious density, maybe more of an environmental factor for the family unit and the support to family members that, in turn, allowed the children in the family to grow and succeed. If the family unit is secure and nurturing in the development of children, then the education can be influenced, and that can impact income level. Strong marital status maybe more influenced by strong family values for both individuals entering into a marriage, and where traditional religions have been the biggest proponent of the institution of marriage. To Gruber’s point on religious density, the fact that families are gathered with the same beliefs is probably a major reinforcement to the family unit, and indirectly driving those outcomes more than singularly.

    The reality is that many of these outcomes can be reached without religion playing a major factor in the family unit, which is probably the biggest impactor to this success. There are many families who have succeed without attending religious activities on a regular basis, both as a child and as an adult. Felix Adler, a German Philosopher of the late 18th century, did not proscribe to a formal religion, but once said, “Ethical religion can be real only to those who are engaged in ceaseless efforts at moral improvement. By moving upward we acquire faith in an upward movement, without limit”(“Felix Alder Quotes”, 1996-2015).

    While I can understand Adler’s definition of religion from the ethical sense, I do believe that structured, formal religion and the impacts it can have upon an individual, family and community can help in dealing with uncertainty. Faith has answered many issues or questions without the ability to analyze or be certain.

    Regards,
    Karen Whelpley

    Work Cited
    “Felix Adler Quotes.” (1996-2015). Web. (April 11, 2015). Retrieved from:
    http://quotes.yourdictionary.com/author/felix-adler/

    Froeb, L., McCann, B., Shor, M., & Ward, M. (2014). Managerial Economics: A Problem Solving Approach (3rd ed.). Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning.

    Gruber, J. (May 2005). Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good For You? National Bureau of Economic Research, pgs. 1-46. Web. (April 11, 2015). Retrieved from: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11377

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  8. I agree that in a broader sense, religious beliefs have tangible benefits as it provides a solid moral foundation as a start . However, if I should limit this discussion just to the USA, it is then safe to say that there are neighborhoods with rich religious culture where there are far lower crime rates, much higher levels of charitable giving, better health, stronger marriages, and less suicide, to name a few. Notwithstanding, this does not negate that fact in commerce and trade, people or corporation still commit moral hazards. This is so because, taking bigger risks with other people’s money instead of your own is a typical human tendency (Froeb). While religious beliefs provide certain moral boundaries within which to do business that is honest and plausible, the temptation of going beyond those boundaries is always present. Quite often lenders and borrows run into conflicts because people brake promises or misrepresent loan information to their gain. These deceptions lead to borrowers over committing on loans that they cannot repay. To mitigate such moral hazard, lenders must find more principled, more honest ways to align the incentives of borrows with the goals of the lenders (Froeb).

    Leo palmer ESC Managerial Econ.

    Reference:

    Froeb, MCcann, Ward, Shor. (2014) Managerial Economics. A problem Solving Approach.
    Ohio:South-Western Cengage Learning.

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  9. This question is asked in the first-person, i.e. in a very personal way. I am a person of great faith, raised the religious Catholic faith. Eventually, I became very curious about the Christian Bible or the Catholic group specifically, the more I read the more it penetrated within me the knowledge of the religion or the dogma of the faith.
    I've learned to separate the faith in God that I have come to believe, and the word of love, that this reflects through his son made man. Also, I learned as groups of people within the various social groups and societies across the planet created religions, religions that were conditioned to their belief and in many cases personal benefits, under the mantle disguised of the called social benefits.
    I understand that faith in the divine is good for physical health, and spiritual health of humans, as well as the well-led religions. Because I understand that we tend to confuse, faith and religion, two elements that have been grouped together for the benefit of some, under the sacrifice of many, where these elements of faith and religion looked to form practice and one has nothing to do with the other, more for the conglomeration of many.
    Religious beliefs have tangible benefits? I think that if, for the leaders of the groups that they lead, and paired with the people that they are grouped within religious groups, they serve as support groups, and are more inexpensive than visits to the psychologist, psychiatrists, in addition that help collectively improve their self-esteem.


    References: Froeb, McCann, Ward, Shor: (2014) Managerial Econonics. A Problem Solving Approach, Ohio: South Western Cengage Learning

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  11. Is religion good for you? If you asked ten people this question you would get ten very different answers. I think a lot of the answers will depend on ones upbringing and experiences as a young adult. I personally was brought up in a very strict Christian church, school, and home. I believe there were both good and bad aspects that came from this. On the one hand, it taught me the morals and standards that I still carry with me today and always will. However, I was also very sheltered and was in for a rude awakening when the reality of society hit me in the face. Lucky for me I have a mother who also taught me to be strong and stand up for myself. While it took me some time to get there, I eventually did.

    Froeb tell us that risk is defined as something that can be quantified, meaning you can list the possible outcomes. However, uncertainty refers to outcomes that we cannot foresee. That being said, I would conclude that whether religion is good for you or not, is up to you. There are many outcomes possible and it is up to the individual to drive the results.

    Froeb, L., McCann, B., Shor, M., & Ward, M. (2014). Managerial economics: A problem solving approach (3rd ed.). Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

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  12. I believe religion should always be for our own, it should not involve others. I always carry my religious beliefs with anything I do, as an example at the moment I am doing Forex trading and even in this I am able to do what’s allowed thanks to OctaFX broker, it has helped me with providing swap free account, it’s prohibited for me to use account with swap, so with their help I am able to trade smoothly without any tension.

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  13. Religion can mean many things to different people. However, religion in its basic form means duty or service. Religion is good for you if you feel better about yourself by serving someone else. Religious duties sometimes allow us to take the focus of off ourselves and direct it to someone else in need. “One way to gather information about the benefits and costs of a decision is to run experiments” (Froeb, et al. 2016, p. 223). Sometimes making a decision to volunteer to serve at a homeless shelter or at a food distribution center allows us to serve someone else who is less fortunate than ourselves. Showing kindness to others brings out the best in us. Giving to a charity to help find a cure for a disease is a selfless act to help benefit someone else that we may never know or meet. If these kind deeds or similar kind acts do not make us feel good about ourselves, then we need to rethink our decisions. Many decisions come with uncertainty. “Uncertainty is something that we cannot eliminate” (Froeb, et al., 2016, p. 227). However, one thing for certain is that we never know when it will be our turn to receive help from someone and those good deeds are like making a good investment. You get back what you invest plus interest. Of course, I know that there’s a saying that states “no good deed goes unpunished” (attributed to Clare Luce Boothe). However, I would like to keep a positive view that the probability of good returning back to me intact is better than 50%.

    Froeb, L.M., McCann, B.T., Shor, M. and Ward, M.R. (2016). Managerial economics: A problem solving approach, 4th ed. Cengage Learning: Boston, MA.

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