In 2012, obituaries in the Des Moines Register were analyzed for religious affiliation. Out of more than 500 deaths, the people whose obituary listed a religious connection lived an average of 9.45 years longer than those whose obituaries did not include religion. A follow-up study was done covering 42 major U.S. cities. That study showed that religious people lived an average of 5.64 years longer. When adjusted for gender (women live longer) and marital status (the married live longer), the final number was about 4 years longer life for the religious. Even taking into account the positive effects of social interaction and volunteer work, the longer lifespan for the religious could not be explained away.
The reason is fairly obvious. People who live as if there is no God are living in ignorance and darkness. They may think they are happy and peaceful, but they’re heading toward disaster. A person who drives their car and never considers whether it needs maintenance may travel many thousands of miles in peace and happiness. But that car will never last as long as if the person were attentive to the basic maintenance of the car. Our lives and bodies are much the same. “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened” (Proverbs 10:27). Acknowledging your need for God makes life healthier and longer lasting. “A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). Of course, not all religion is equal. Only those who obey Jesus will live forever. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).