Blessed Silence

If it is true that attending religious services lowers human mortality rates, then I do not find that either unusual or surprising. The reason why it might be so does not have anything to do with the existence or nonexistence of God or gods. There is good scientific evidence that various sorts of mindfulness meditation practices are particularly effective in reducing human stress, and that anything that reduces stress, is also medically efficacious in lowering blood pressure. Most religious services involve periods of prayer, music and various activities that are the sort that would promote contemplation and healthy social interaction. Any such activity removes one from the normal stresses and strains of ordinary life, and would, I believe, make for a period of stress reduction. Quaker religious services often involve extended periods of total silence and, as such, probably contribute to the fact that Quakers are noted for their longevity.

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