By Lonna Murphy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology,
Passaic County Community College
I was a secular humanist for years before I was a psychologist. That’s why when I was in college and graduate school my ears perked up the few times that religion, or lack thereof, came up in academic discussions about various psychological phenomena.
The two findings that always stuck in my mind are that people who have strong religious beliefs are also more psychologically healthy, and that having strong religious beliefs is the second highest predictor of death among older adults (physical health is the number one predictor).
As someone with no religious beliefs, I took this quite personally. No one wants to hear in a classroom or read in a textbook that they are at risk for mental illness or an early death. Thank goodness that a large part of training in the psychological sciences involves (more…)