It’s not uncommon to hear people claim religion is bad for society. Of course, we disagree for all kinds of reasons. But one of those reasons might surprise you.
Earlier this week, The Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion published the results of a study of the economic impact of religion on America—which is the first of its kind. The findings are fascinating.
The study, "The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis"—which you can read here— analyzed the “economic impact of 344,000 religious congregations around the country, in addition to quantifying the economic impact of religious institutions and religion-related businesses,” according to a press release. They valued the "total economic contribution of religion in America" at almost $1.2 trillion.
Here a little perspective on what that means: Religion in America, according to this study, produces an economic value equal to the world's 15th largest economy. That’s more than Apple, Google and Amazon—combined.
In an age where there's a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion. Every single day individuals and organizations of faith quietly serve their communities as part of religious congregations, faith-based charities, and businesses inspired by religion.
The study evaluated church social programs, religion “based or inspire” business and religious educational institutions.
Here's a video put out by the study's sponsor, Faith Counts, of Grim breaking down the study: