September 5, 2008

Asian Americans Find Religion Depressing

I just saw this while playing around with Google. The beauty of the web--it's an Asian American website, which links to Richard Dawkins's site, which links to the original article.

According to the article:
Previous research has shown that teens who are active in religious services are depressed less often because it provides these adolescents with social support and a sense of belonging.

But new research has found that this does not hold true for all adolescents, particularly for minorities and some females. The study found that white and African-American adolescents generally had fewer symptoms of depressive at high levels of religious participation. But for some Latino and Asian-American adolescents, attending church more often was actually affecting their mood in a negative way.

Asian-American adolescents who reported high levels of participation in their church had the highest number of depressive symptoms among teens of their race.
Further down, it says:
Among adolescents who never attended church, Asian-American adolescents reported 4 percent fewer symptoms of depression in the preceding week than did their African-American peers.

In comparison, Asian-American youth who attended church at least once a week reported 20 to 27 percent more symptoms of depression than their white and African-American peers who attended at the same level.
I don't doubt that this is the case. Though I'm not a fan of David Henry Hwang, I think he described Christianity among Asians best by saying something like, "Confucianism disguised as Christianity." I think most Asian Americans have a fear-based version of Christianity which destroys, rather than lifts up, the lives of participants. While I have good friends who are Christian, Christianity has also destroyed many Asian American lives. Most Asian American atheists I know are much happier than most Asian American Christians.

So rather than Asian American atheists inviting Christ to be one's personal Savior, I personally think we need more Asian American Christians to invite themselves to become free from Christ.

(Disclaimer: If Christianity suits you, just keep on doing what you're doing. But don't believe the myth that it represents salvation for everyone.)

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