Dr. Josh Packard, executive director of Springtide Research Institute, told CBN’s Faithwire about his extensive research into 13-to-25-year-olds, noting studies have long found “religion is good for you.”
God is real and He is concerned about His Cosmos particularly those in it that He made in His image to be in a relationship with Him so it is natural that He responds to those that sincerely call on Him in prayer.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7
“Faith and spirituality are good for you,” Packard said. “If you’re a person who believes in some kind of higher power and has a connection to that higher power, you’re generally flourishing more than your peers.”
He continued, “Those who pray more tend to be flourishing more in all areas, including their mental health.”
Packard’s comments are particularly stunning when America faces an “epidemic of mental health [crises] among young people.” Meanwhile, there’s also a massive rise in the proportion of “nones” who no longer affiliate with a specific faith or religion.
Data pointing to increased wellness among the faithful is particularly pertinent in the midst of these dynamics, pointing to a potential solution to cultural conundrums.
Packard said there are lessons in Springtide Research Institute’s findings that can inform the culture and churches alike, especially in an era in which faith is being downplayed or diminished.
“Young people would be … better off if more of them had a connection to something bigger than themselves,” he said. “But also, I think a lot of religious institutions and leaders would do well to take mental health into account, so that like faith and belief could be appropriately part of somebody’s overall approach to health.”
While young people might not be aligning with Christianity at rates they once were, Packard said many still see themselves as spiritual, and more than half pray.
While the separation from biblical truth is undoubtedly troubling for Christians, these realities show at least openness to a higher power. And that intrigue could lead to receptive Gospel introductions.
“We see lots of desire from Gen Z to embark on these conversations and explorations of meaning and purpose and, ‘Why am I here on this Earth?’” he said. “So, the desire hasn’t gone away. The exploration hasn’t gone away.”
As Faithwire has extensively reported, countless surveys and studies show the benefits of faith.
Human beings were created to live in fellowship with God. We know from God’s Word that the two people God created, in the beginning, disobeyed God and the consequence of that disobedience was separation and subsequent death.
We also know from God’s Word that God created angelic spiritual beings prior to making mankind and that rebellion by one supreme angelic being named Lucifer, now renamed Satan convinced one-third of God’s angelic beings to rebel with him. Moreover, it was Satan that tempted Eve who then enticed Adam into disobeying God. Satan is now the prince of this world and our prime battle is against him and his demons.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13
God has provided all we need to overcome Satan and his demons. God sent Jesus, His Son to pay the price for our rebellion against Him. Once we repent of our rebellion and accept Jesus’ offer of Salvation and submit to Him as Lord then God the Father sends the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to indwell our spirit and enable us to live the Christian life as our counsellor, comforter, and teacher. Moreover, He teaches us how to pray and will even intercede for us when we do not know how to pray.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28
God has also told us the end of His Story. Satan is defeated and Jesus is made king and will rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years.
“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:9-11
“They (resurrected Saints) came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5-6