Surprisingly about 10 days ago LiveScience.com had a post entitled: 8 Ways Religion Impacts You Life. (Link.) It starts out at # 8 with
- Helps You Resist Junk Food
- ...But could make you fat.
- Put a smile on your face
- Raise your self-esteem if you live in the right place
- Soothes anxiety
- Protects against depressive symptoms
- Motivates Doctor visits
- Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Naturally, a science site wouldn't be able to point to the non-scientific ideas, like connecting us with a "Higher Power", being part of something meaningful and hopeful, or motivating us to help others and give back to our communities and world. Those would be harder to prove scientifically, BUT, they could also accomplish the positive "symptoms" listed above.
Religion as such, I don't believe, gives us those things. Nor does being non-religious keep us from those things. We are talking deeper, more profound than junk food and healthy blood pressure. We're talking about living a meaning filled life.
That is hard to place on a scientific scale.