Over the years, I've seen tons of studies that suggest religion is good for your health, that it gives you a sense of balance and that it will keep squirrels out of your birdfeeders.
Well, maybe not the last thing, but the health benefits of religion are widely attested to. (For some discussion of that from a Christian apologetics perspective, click here.)
Now, however, comes a study from Ohio State University that offers something of a counter view. It suggests that young people from racial minority groups who are religiously active may be more susceptible to depression.
I think it's always a good idea not to draw too broad a conclusion from such studies because they may simply be anomalies or they may eventually be tempered by other studies that looked at a broader sample or something.
Still, in this case I can see some basis for the conclusion in that it appears that beliefs being taught by religion are running up against different and contrasting messages from the culture. Because adolescents may not be mature enough yet to know how to process those differences or to discern when the religion is right versus when the culture is right, the result may well be some kind of angst.
What's your experience either as an adolescent or as a parent of one or more when it comes to how to deal with clashes between religious values and the surrounding culture?
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MORE DEFENSE OF ISLAM
When the Times of India sent a reporter to talk with people about a terrorist bombing in New Delhi a few days ago, some of the Muslim people quoted repeated what most American Muslims have been saying since 9/11 -- Islam does not encourage or approve of terrorism. Which, of course, is true, even though some radicals who call themselves Muslims don't believe it.
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P.S.: I mentioned here the other day that a DVD called "Obsession" about radical Islam was distributed as paid advertising by many newspapers around the country. But Editor & Publisher, which covers the newspaper industry, reports that one paper, the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina, refused to distribute the controversial product because the publisher thought it was divisive and "plays on people's fears."
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.