According to a father-daughter research team, the decline of religion in America, as highlighted in a recent Pew Research analysis, will affect not only religious organizations but a person’s health.
In 2016, Dr. Brian Grim, the president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and his daughter, Dr. Melissa Grim, a senior research fellow and project director at the foundation, published a study detailing that religion provides about $1.2 trillion per year to the socio-economic value of the American economy.
As reported by The Christian Post, they published a follow-up study in 2019 in the Journal of Religion and Health. The follow-up study found that the work of nearly 130,000 congregation-based substance abuse recovery support programs in the United States was valued at an estimated $316.6 billion.
“We find that these faith-based volunteer support groups contribute up to $316.6 billion in savings to the U.S. economy every year at no cost to taxpayers,” the researchers wrote in a post published on the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation website on Saturday.
“While negative experiences with religion (e.g., clergy sex abuse and other horrendous examples) have been a contributory factor to substance abuse among some victims, given that more than 84 percent of scientific studies show that faith is a positive factor in addiction prevention or recovery and a risk in less than 2 percent of the studies reviewed, we conclude that the value of faith-oriented approaches to substance abuse prevention and recovery is indisputable,” they wrote.
“And, by extension, we also conclude that the decline in religious affiliation in the USA is not only a concern for religious organizations but constitutes a national health concern.”
The research also highlighted the correlation between declining religion and growing drug-related deaths in the United States. For instance, religious youth are three times less likely to binge drink alcohol and are four times less likely to consume illegal drugs. Additionally, teens with substance use disorder (SUD) say that remaining connected to God was the top reason they remained sober post-rehab.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.