Live Long and Prosper: Going to Church Increases Lifespan


by James C. Patterson II, MD, PhD

My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Proverbs 3:1–2 (NLT)

OK, I know there must be some Star Trek fans out there among the Today’s New Reason to Believe readers. Come on, admit it. Unless you’ve undergone self-imposed isolation from the world for the last 45 years, you have likely seen Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, giving the Vulcan salute and saying, “Live long and prosper.” (I am pretty sure I mastered the Vulcan salute as a child). And chances are if you remember watching the original Star Trek series in the 1960s, then you’ve probably given some thought to things you can do to live a longer and happier life.

Healthy eating habits and regular exercise rank among the top life-prolonging activities. But there is one activity with potentially life-prolonging benefits that you may not have considered: going to church. That’s right—studies show that attending a religious service more than once a week has the potential to help you live longer.


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