Yet another study has found significant mental health benefits related to a close relationship with God. This time, the research shows that the same benefits can apply even to agnostics regardless of their level of belief.
Over the past ten years of study, what has become most clear to researchers is that, for the individual in question, a perceived relationship with God positively influences mental health. This benefit is not dependent on the level of belief (as in, agnostic to true believer), but rather, whether or not the person feels an attachment or relationship to God.
A research paradigm known as “attachment theory” was applied to 30 years of data. The conclusion was unmistakable: People who had a close relationship with God had improved mental health, Medium reported.
Attachment theory began with the studying of attachment relationships between infants and caregivers.
A simplified version is that there are three basic types. (1) Avoidantly attached, where infants don’t have much need for their caregivers. (2) Anxiously attached, where infants need constant reassurance. (3) Securely attached, which is essentially a happy medium between the two.
The same theory can be applied to those with a relationship with God. Research revealed that those holding a “secure attachment” to God experienced significant benefits over those with other types of attachments. Those who were securely attached to God had less alcohol and drug abuse, for example. They suffered less depression and loneliness. They had less problematic Internet use. Overall, they proclaimed greater satisfaction in life.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
For some people, whether they are believers or not, they can gain much encouragement through the Scriptures. In many ways, some words of Scripture are not unlike other philosophy teachings and that of self-help books. There are many uplifting words of encouragement to be found in the Bible that help people with issues such as confidence, courage, hope, strength, love, health, sickness and more.
Agnostics, by definition, do not believe or disbelieve God exists. In other words, they don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other.
Yet, in certain instances when it comes to mental health, an attachment to God plays a role for agnostics. These agnostics may attach to God, and when they do, they gained mental health benefits as a result.
The researchers believe that – even when not accompanied by a strong belief in God – when agnostics simply cultivate a relationship with God, it tends to offer surprising mental health benefits.