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Discussion 2024: Are the Religious Healthier?

With Dr. David Speed

Religion and spirituality are consistently associated with beneficial effects. Religious attendance, prayer, and religiosity have been found to predict better health and wellness.

Each year, hundreds of articles are published describing the health benefits of religion and spirituality, and the public health benefit of having a religious population. However, there are unusual gaps in the scholarship surrounding religion, spirituality, and health, and the conclusion that religion provides health benefits is rife with inaccuracies.

Specifically, there is little confirmatory evidence that having no religion is unhealthy and, when comparing atheists to religious groups, there is little evidence that non-believers fare worse than believers. In short, the status quo of the religion and spirituality health field does not accurately capture the nuance of the observed findings, and a growing body of research is undermining the notion that religion and spirituality is healthy. Dr. David Speed will discuss his secularism research, his critique of the religion and spirituality health field, and will describe the challenges in conducting research on the growing nonreligious population.

This online webinar is free and open to the public but registration is required.

About Dr. David Speed

Dr. David Speed (BA, Brock University, 2008; MASP, MUN, 2011; PhD, MUN, 2015) is an Associate Professor at the University of New Brunswick in the Department of Psychology. David’s specialization is in the topic of atheism and nonreligion and how they relate to health and wellbeing.

To date, David has authored over a dozen studies addressing nonreligion, which included the largest study of Canadian atheists in the literature. He is a co-editor of Secularism & Nonreligion, which is an academic journal dedicated to advancing knowledge of secularism.

If you aren’t able to join us live, be sure to check our YouTube channel for the recording in the days following the event.

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