Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Faith is essential today

Posted by Eve

Having Faith is Essential in Today’s Modern World
American life is hard. First, we are all striving to succeed, each of us raised on a diet of self belief and the notion that we are each capable of achieving whatever we set our minds to (although sometimes the truth is different). We get jobs and mortgages and raise families and (if we are lucky) take regular vacations.  We try and look after our health but probably eat too much fat and sugar and maybe don’t exercise as often as we should (despite guidance from the American Heart Association which suggests we should each engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio).  We see horror stories on the news and it seems the main stream media delight in showing death, murder, terrorism and hatred 24/7. All the while we set the alarm clock each evening ready to get back on the treadmill, earning that paycheck and paying the bills. It all seems a bit soul destroying, like we are living in a lawless, value-less, spiritual-less society - which is exactly why having faith in God is a vital tool for coping in today’s modern world.  

A Godless society
According to the findings of the Religious Landscape Society, the number of American adults who consider themselves affiliated with any given religion is on the decline. This is further evidenced by news reports -  a relatively recent article published in the UK's Guardian suggested that America is itself becoming less Godless in line with a rise in secularism. So what are the wider implications of these findings? Is American society worse (or better) with less faith? Are people happier with faith? Can faith in God help us cope with the demands of everyday life?  These questions are asked by all of us at one stage or another and unfortunately there are no easy answers.  So let’s look at the individual issues.

Are People Who Believe in God Happier than Those Who Don’t Believe?
To answer this question it is important to step back and look at humanity as a whole. Human beings have long nurtured a need for spiritual fulfilment – it’s written in stone (so to speak) and it is no coincidence that every single culture has developed a religion which adheres to the ideal of a creator – or several – of some kind. A look at the Big Religion Chart gives a glimpse into the complexity of different religions and belief systems found around the world. In America today, religion is as diverse as it is popular and according to the Washington Post, Catholicism remains one of the most widely practiced faiths in the USA. Whatever your beliefs, it is interesting to note that spirituality and faith remain a focus for billions of Americans – and a recent study by the University of Illinois actively suggested that those with faith are indeed happier than those without any faith.

The Pitfalls of Modern Living
Modern life is stressful. There is no denying it and this statement is backed up by findings published through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention which shows that 1 in 10 American adults suffers from depression. Similarly, the Trust for America’s Health are concerned that too much emphasis is placed upon cure rather than prevention when it comes to physical health. Perhaps more disturbingly, mortality rates from eating disorders is on the increase and, as Psych Guides explain, these can be particularly hard to treat.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that  drug abuse is also on the increase, with approximately 9.2% of the population having used illicit substances at some point.  Bizarrely this trend actually ties in with an increase of health awareness in America, as evidenced by the explosion of gyms opening across the country – the 24/7 gym open – literally – 24 hours a day! Likewise, Americans are more conscious of nutrition; the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists is dedicated to providing public education about health and nutrition. Yet there is a steady rise in the number of people accessing rehabilitation centers and detox programmes. With these statistics in mind, it is clear to see that having faith is an essential ingredient to leading a fulfilling life and that faith can help us all through the most difficult times in our lives.

Using Faith as a Coping Mechanism
People who have faith are often more empathetic towards other human beings. They are usually more confident in their everyday life and also have a ready made support network to turn to in times of stress and turbulence. People who believe in God tend to gravitate towards a more healthy lifestyle, with Health Care Coach.org endorsing the notion that a healthy spiritual mind-set leads to a healthy body. People with faith tend to show a natural ability to think about life in abstract terms and are therefore better equipped to view human suffering in light of a more holistic picture – a broader view which encompasses the past, present, future and other unseen dimensions. With current events depicting a depressing state of affairs the world over, having faith is the one thing that can help all of us if we, too, are capable of maintaining an open min

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