Not that you needed any non-election-related proof to show that the reasoning faculties of some Americans are, er, wanting, we present you with an amazing poll conducted by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair. Surveying 1,025 adults nationwide, the poll asked Americans a myriad of questions about gratitude. While the responses to some of the questions are interesting, one stands far and above the rest:
The question — at least as it’s presented in the graphic — automatically assumes the respondents have “good health.” Further, the responses only add up to 98% because “low-percentage answer choices have been omitted.”
Examining these results, a plethora of questions arise. For one thing, if 56% of Americans credit god for their well-being, who do they “credit” — or more accurately, blame — for those who are not in good health? Latent in the belief that god is to thank for a healthy life is the idea that an unhealthy life is the result of either god’s neglect or his malice. And this being case, by what criteria does god decide to intervene for better or worse, or not intervene at all for that matter?
In addition to these unanswerable theological questions (aren’t they all?), more practical and more troubling implications come to the fore. If god is to thank for good health, the importance of diet and exercise becomes relegated to a matter of lesser significance than divine blessing, which presumably is contingent upon things like belief, prayer, or morality, and not say, doing cardio four times a week and eating lean protein and spinach. And while correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, it’s entirely fair to ask whether the high rates of religiosity and obesity in certain states may be a natural result of this outlook. And I am not being the least bit facetious when I wonder how much of the hysterical pushback by (religious) conservatives against Michelle Obama’s harmless anti-obesity campaign is grounded in a belief that such concerns are god’s department.
Quite naturally, genetics (24%) are a factor in health as well. How much is a matter of debate. Although some people are able to live to 105 on a steady diet of bacon with little or no exercise, this is generally not advisable. Also, I hear doctors (4%) may know a couple of things about the human body and mind, though this appears to be little more than an unsubstantiated rumor at this point.