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The Recondite Religious Life Of Health

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Chapter Summary

Fundamentally, speaking of religion as a non-instrumental kind of consciousness fails to say what religion is. The failure is not that of lacking a definition of religion but that of not having characterizations of it for purposes of establishing how it comes to be liked to health. The very research question of the health consequences in individuals of a social phenomenon such as religion falls within what Georges Gurvitch long ago termed microsociologie - or in English, microsociology. At a first impression, one can distinguish healthy behavior that a religion may encourage from states of mind that have health effects but are themselves effects of religiosity. Thus religions that discourage the abuse of alcohol, the consumption of caffeine, and smoking, or that encourage fasting can be said to have beneficial health effects, but in addition to that there is a whole universe of health outcomes that are related to psychological stress.

Keywords: Georges Gurvitch; health; microsociology; psychological stress; religion; social phenomenon



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