Healthy Fundamentalism


Just a quickie. My wife pointed out this morning, a story on the BBC website about some research at Queens University that suggests that religious denomination can be a factor in health and mortality.
Apparently Catholics had higher death rates. The report claims this is based on a demonstrable link between this and deprivation... nothing to do with a more relaxed attitude within the Catholic community to drinking, smoking etc?
Strangely, Anglicans had the highest risk of dying from heart disease while Methodists have a reduced risk accidental death... In the latter case it is probably because Methodists are totally risk-averse!!! But I don't quite understand the former... Any suggestions?
The most striking statistic, however, is that fundamentalists lived longest and had the lowest risk of dying from lung cancer or alcohol related diseases.
I know now that there are those who will claim that this is a glowing endorsement of the lifestyle advocated by those of a more conservative, fundamentalist bent, and there may well be some truth in it. It certainly points out the fallacy of the old "drink a glass of red wine a day" advice in order to stave off heart disease...
But one of the truths we need to keep reaffirming is that health, and wealth, is not necessarily a sign of God's blessing (no matter what the purveyors of a prosperity gospel and the "Word of Faith" movement would have us believe). Just remember, cockroaches are proven to be the most biologically robust creatures on the face of the earth. They are likely to survive a nuclear holocaust, but you wouldn't want to be one!!!
I suppose that instead of imbibing red wine to stave off the effects of the stresses and strains of the modern world, another approach is to retreat into the black and white certainties of a pre-enlightenment understanding of the world... This would perhaps also go some way to explain the statistic that literalist pentecostal traditions are growing while other, less black and white theological traditions are not... Large numbers don't indicate that God is on our side any more than prosperity does.
But for whatever the reason we have a new beatitude...
Blessed are the fundies, for they will inherit everything by outliving us all...

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