Many of us are born into religious traditions. Some carry these traditions into adulthood while others walk away, convinced that their faith is nothing more than a set of outdated beliefs based on old books.
Faith is a personal journey, and it’s not for anyone to convince you of the truth or untruth of any particular belief system. But religion doesn’t have to be only a bunch of musty old books that have no relevance in the modern world. If we allow it to be something more, that is.
Whatever belief system you were born into, and whatever your beliefs today, consider these six real-life benefits of belonging to a vibrant faith community right now.
- It May Be Good for Your Mental Health
A persuasive study out of Duke University suggests that faith might be good for our collective mental health. People who regularly attend worship or consider themselves to be active members of a faith tradition tend to have better self-reported emotional health, with significant benefits for their overall well-being.
- It’s a Great Way to Give Back to the Less Fortunate
Membership in a faith tradition isn’t a requirement for those who wish to give back, but it doesn’t hurt. Just witness V1 Church’s unique campaign to help homeless shelters in New York City for proof positive that many believers really do adhere to the whole “do unto others” bit.
- It Appears to Make People Better at Dealing With Adversity
Beyond emotional health, faith appears to equip believers with better strategies to push through adversity. Because we all face adversity sooner or later, this is a benefit that everyone will eventually share, and one we should eagerly (if somberly) embrace when the time comes.
- It Fosters Strong, Lasting Social Connections
Community is a vital aspect of many faith traditions, and in some cases the most important one of all. Whether in worship or fellowship or simply in the shared sense of belonging, strong belief systems have a way of fostering lasting social connections that benefit us all.
- It Gives Us Purpose in Life
Believers have an easier time seeking and extracting purpose from life. Whatever “purpose” means to you, you’re more likely to achieve it when you’re part of an inquisitive, supportive community that believes in a greater truth.
- It Teaches Us Lessons We Might Not Learn Elsewhere
We can learn a lot from those old books — and from the people who turn to them to help make sense of the world. Whatever your faith, don’t be afraid to listen.
Find Faith, Make the World a Better Place
You don’t have to have faith to make a positive contribution to the world. Humanity is better off for the contributions of countless atheists and agnostics who never allowed their beliefs or non-beliefs to get in the way of their love for others.
On the other hand, the benefits of having faith are clear. If you’ve been searching for purpose in life, or for a community that believes as strongly in the power of good works as you do, perhaps you know where to find it after all.