RE: HEA report on religion and mental health

Gatherer, D. (
Mon, 18 Oct 1999 09:33:23 +0200

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 09:33:23 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
To: "''" <>

Note the biased wording of the findings: "not everyone has a positive
experience" and
"many people...find practical and emotional help and support from their
faith". To
reverse the wording without alter the accuracy, one could say "many people
have had
negative experiences" and "not everyone finds
practical and emotional help and support from their faith".

This second wording would support the suggestion that religion is bad for
you. Since
relative net is so difficult to judge, one can produce studies to support
any possible
benefit. Objective criteria, however, paint a much different picture of
occult faith,
its relation to reason, and its impact on mental fitness.

I also would call attention to the lack of clearly defined terms in the
study, and
total lack of controls for establishing comparison between faith-based
support systems
and reason-based support systems.

All I presented was the summary. You'll need to contact the HEA for a paper
copy of the whole thing if you want ot see exactly how objective the study
was. It was fairly extensively discussed on the UK media last week, but I
suppose getting tapes of those discussion is a bit more difficult.

I'm therefore left with the impression that this
study is a desperate attempt to advertise faith as still having some kind of
to a population which increasingly rejects assertions that invisible
hobgoblins are a

The HEA aren't in the business of advertising faith. They're just a bunch
of doctors and scientists who work for the UK government trying to sort out
ways of improving public health. What they're saying is that the 'invisible
hobgoblins' are probably, all things considered, good for you, and that the
cumulative weight of evidence points in that direction, despite the
undoubtedly true cases of some people for whom religion has been a 'bad

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