General Article Is religion good or bad for us?

Topic Selected: Religion Book Volume: 358
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Three reasons religion may be good for us (and a few reasons it might not be).

By David B. Feldman Ph.D.

This week marks the beginning of the holiest period of the year for roughly 14 million Jews across the globe. As they celebrate the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, they begin looking back on the past 12 months through the lens of their faith, counting their blessings and asking forgiveness for their mistakes. For believers, it is a time of psychological and spiritual introspection, renewal, and growth.

As we approached this momentous holiday, a rabbi recently shared with me his conviction that religion can be one of the most powerful forces for good in individuals’ lives. ‘It offers us the opportunity to be better, happier, healthier people‘, he asserted. ‘We shouldn’t forget that‘.

Indeed, few forces have historically been more powerful than religion in shaping people’s existences. According to the latest poll by the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans say that religion is at...

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