Thursday, December 18, 2008

Does Church Make You Feel In Control?

Or does the feeling that you have some control over your life make you more likely to go to church?

The University of Toronto has uncovered a link between religious devotion and the feeling that one has personal control over events in one's life. (Yes, I know that using "one" in that sentence was awkward, but it's tough to convey what they're studying in a simple sentence.)

Do you think you have control over your life? Do you spend much time in church, or observing religious rituals? The UT study expected to find that people who were very involved with religious activities felt as though they had less control. After all, the universe supposed to follow God's plan, right? And who are we to question (or worse yet, influence!) what God does? I think it's fine for people to let the church play an active role in their lives, as long as it's not telling them to do things that are harmful.

The question that it raises for me is which is the cause, and which is the effect. Does going to church help people feel like they are taking more control over the events around them? Or do people go to church because they already think that they can control things in their lives, and they are using prayer to exert that control?

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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