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1.04.2007

Education Linked to Longer Life

Some thoughts in progress . . . (i.e., rather rough and sketchy):

While there are any number of factors which impact the duration of a person's life and there are at least as many theories as to why this is so, one factor that keeps turning up at the top is education. The more education an individual has, the longer their life expectancy. According to a New York Times article published yesterday, Dr. Adriana Lleras-Muney was the first researcher to explore this link directly -to strip away all the extraneous variables (e.g., do more educated people simply seek out better health care or do they simply have more access to healthcare or ???) - and look directly at how the number of years of education directly impacts the length of a person's life.

While I do find this to be interesting, I continue to be fascinated by our fascination with living long lives. If we spent as much time (and money) exploring the ways to have a good life as opposed to just having a long life, I wonder how our world might be changed. To be sure, education is a part of having a good life - nearly half of my 37 years have been spent attending school full time and those have been good years, by and large. So, I am definitely not knocking the importance of education.

Perhaps our fascination with longevity is related to our fear of dying. Dying is no longer viewed by most as "normal." But, dying is as normal as living and as normal as breathing. Even those whom God considered righteous died (cf. Genesis 6:9, 9:29; Hebrews 11:4).

Why Religion Matters. In its introduction Smith talks about the rampant materialism of our time and argues that this pop-science view of the world is responsible for the loss of faith or the embarrassment of faith. I suspect this same materialistic understanding is what has us so fearful of death as in dying we are clearly taken over the abyss of the material to the realm of the spiritual - the speculative? -and this is a realm that is not considered to be as "real" as the stuff of our material world. So we are right back to our earliest fears --- the fear of the unknown.

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

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