Ignorance is Bliss: Why Religious People Seem Happier Than the “Nones”

A new Pew Research Center study released last week that examines the relationship between religion and everyday activities brought out a number of eye-catching headlines, including “Highly Religious Volunteer More, Lie Less, and Claim to Be Happier” from the Houston Chronicle and “Strongly Religious People are Happier than Non-Religious” by the Christian Daily. The study determined that 40 percent of highly religious adults—defined as those who “pray every day and attend religious services each week”—consider themselves to be “very happy,” compared with 29 percent of less religious adults.

Pew compared other activities such as visiting family members (47 percent of the highly religious do at least once a month compared to 30 percent of the less religious), volunteering (45 percent compared to 28 percent), and donating money or goods to the poor (65 percent compared to 41 percent).

So, are religious people happier than nonreligious people? Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, doesn’t buy it:

This study shows the same methodological flaw seen time and time again: measuring religiosity in large part by how often people attend religious services. This creates a comparison that doesn’t measure the differences between the religious and the nonreligious, but instead measures the difference between those that have strong community connections and those that do not. “Community” has positive outcomes, not religion.

Speckhardt brings up a very valid point. It shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone that one’s happiness generally correlates to how well-connected a person is to other humans and to a greater community, whether it be a religious community or a community centered around likeminded interests. If “highly religious” was redefined to include anyone who regularly attended any type of community gathering—religiously- based or not—the percentages would likely come out a lot closer in number.

Without a religious house of worship, humanists and atheists have their own communities in the form of local chapter groups and meetups. A fairer study would compare the happiness of a religious person who attended church services weekly and the happiness of an active member of such groups like the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, which holds a twice-a-month Sunday lecture in its own community building in Mesa, Arizona, or the Humanists of Houston, which hosts as many as five social and volunteering events every week. Communities can be formed in a variety of ways—neighborhoods, book clubs, athletic teams, online gaming, college alumni groups—the list goes on and on.

There’s also something to be said about a false sense of security and happiness that religion may bring. Speaking to the Huffington Post in 2014, blogger Hidaya Nawee said, “Because I have a sense of community and a sense of whatever happens God has my back, it’s very hard to not be motivated when you have something to fall back on when everything falls apart.” Amherst College psychology professor Catherine Sanderson confirms this in the Washington Post: religious people are happier because beliefs “give people a sense of meaning…a sense of well-being or comfort.”

Recognizing that this is the one life we humans are likely ever to have, humanists and atheists can’t rely on a higher power that will simply take care of everything for us or a heaven where we’ll see our family and friends again. These are concepts that might make some of us feel less happy and secure, sure, but certainly more honest and realistic. Ignorance may be bliss, but for many who came to atheism or humanism after years in a traditional religion, there is often a sense of happiness in the freedom that comes from thinking critically, shedding outdated (and quite often discriminatory) religious beliefs, and embracing truth. This realization forces us to find our own happiness and sense of meaning in the here and now.

As with most studies, it’s important look beyond the headlines and take this one with a grain of salt—it’s not all gloom-and-doom for us nonbelievers. To quote George Bernard Shaw: “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

  • Colorado Native

    I was one of those who left after wasting years in a traditional religion. Once I stopped kidding myself that I was a believer, and actually became a non-believer, a great weight was lifted off me. I really do now feel free to do or think whatever I want, whenever I want. I no longer have to attempt and fail to live up to an impossible ideal. One of my observations is that religious people actually don’t try as hard as they say they do, to solve the world’s problems, because they implicitly rely on a god to rescue them from the awful situation they, and all of us, live in. The sooner all humans on the planet start relying on themselves, and start helping their brothers and sisters, the better off all of us will be…and with no miraculous intervention by a ficticious all-powerful being who, BTW, would be simply too busy to care about us personally, anyway.

    • skeptic15

      I, too, am much happier without the religious contemplation/ confusion of “good” and “evil” and “god’s will” and trying to reconcile religious ideology with logical thought and the observable universe. Religion, to me, really is mental bondage. And the ideals as explained in the Humanist Manifesto are far better, imo, as a “world view” than any religion.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        Part of my happiness comes from pursuing the goal of educating, debating, and persuading religious people that Secular Humanism is the better worldview.

      • Bob

        In case you haven’t read them in a while, good, evil and morality are all mentioned and defined in all of 3 of the Humanist Manifestos. We are better off without god or gods, but certainly not better off if we treat other humans as objects and means to a selfish end.

    • willknutsen

      Stop talking sense!
      Well done!

  • psrieth

    As the Russian philosopher Mikhail Shcherbatov warned of Peter’s reforms, so today it is still true: “Cleaning the mind of the common man of religious superstition might also clear his mind of religious virtue.”

    Another way to put this: we must be careful when assuming that people freed of religion and able to do “whatever they chose” do not chose to do evil.

    Ignorance is indeed bliss because it is social peace which allows for the calm pursuit of science. Knowledge can at times be the opposite of bliss – war and destruction .

    • phatkhat

      People who are steeped in religion also frequently choose to do evil things.

      • skeptic15

        I don’t know about “frequently” – it seems to me the vast majority of religious and non-religious people alike are “good” people just trying to get through life the best they/we can.
        While I am critical of religion, my experience with most “religious” people is positive (hate the beliefs, not the believer). Although, religious politicians are very problematic, imo, for society in general.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Yes, I think it depends on what is meant by “steeped.” I remember that Sam Harris cited a study which showed that the percentage of religious people in prisons was higher than the percentage of religious people in the general population.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      You are speculating. Are there any well-designed studies on this subject? Do true Secular Humanists do evil at a rate higher than, equal to, or lower than true Christians? You’d need to carefully define and measure “Secular Humanist,” “Christian,” and “do evil” ahead of time. The evidence can be properly gathered and analyzed.

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      clear his mind of religious virtue? lets hope so the religious virtue is that of a church lady a busy body noisy show off Christian. May they all loose that religious virtue.

      • psrieth

        Yes, if you define “religious virtue” as an objective vice, and showing off is certainly a vice (Christians call it “pride”) then I agree with you: may we all lose such “religious virtue”. Shcherbatov actually called this vice of “showing off” slastolubiya, a Russian word for a misguided form of self-love. But the Orthodox are rarely the practitioners of this particular vice because the forms of their religious practice preclude it. This vice is more prevelent amongst Catholics: we like to show off our knowledge and rational faculties too much 🙂

  • Pacis Beatus

    It is the sense of community that makes for greater overall happiness and peace of mind. As for the afterlife, we Humanists have options to “live on” and environmentally contribute to a better world even in death. There are those cool mushroom suits, and bod pods that allow for recycling of our bodies. Then we really do live on. I haven’t personally decided which way to recycle my discarded bod, but I also know that I will live on in the memories of my children (and hopefully my future unborn grandchildren). I want to be remembered as one who was kind, generous, and full of love. We do not have to be those who are gloom, doom or even angry. Be Happy Humanists who fearlessly embrace truth, live and love in the present, and who even in death give back for a better world.

    • willknutsen

      The idea of living on”, even in the memory of loved ones, is one of the last hurdles to clear before being free from the illusions caused by religious thinking. No ones lives on, in anything. Life is life, death is not. Just because we mention, say, Shakespeare, does not mean he lives, or that anyone has any inkling whatsoever of who or what the real author (or authors) was. We have no memory of a previous life (the ones of us who are honest about it, that is), so why should we expect others to hold a memory of us more than a generation? If that? And if anyone really thinks recycling your body or body parts means you are “living on”, you really haven’t thought the thing through. EVERY THING is recycled. E=mc squared! But that is in physics, where any bloody thing is, apparently, permissible! Not so in biological life. Look, all living things have “trod upon the stage of life for a brief moment”, including bloody T-Rex, then died. The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago. That is a LOT of “…trodding upon the stage of life”! But no matter how heroically poetic one strives to be about, say fossil records of those past lives, fossils are not “living on”. Once we humans get this “living while alive” fact into our consciousness, we will truly have arrived. However, it is of course quite natural and, in my opinion, honorable, to weep for the death of other living beings. As long as one has a jolly good party afterwards, of course!

      • Gary Whittenberger

        You said “‘The idea of living on’, even in the memory of loved ones, is one of the last hurdles to clear before being free from the illusions caused by religious thinking.”

        I don’t agree with you. It’s not a hurdle to clear. Instead it is a nice way of coping with the inevitability of death.

        You said “We have no memory of a previous life (the ones of us who are honest about it, that is), so why should we expect others to hold a memory of us more than a generation?”

        We should not expect them to hold the memory of us after we’re gone, but they will probably be curious about us. Look at all the interest now in tracing ancestry. I like the idea of every person recording a video retrospective before they die. It would include a bio and some statement of “lessons about life I have learned.” These videos would be digitally stored so that descendants could view them. This would help instill additional meaning for the one who is going to die and the one who is going to follow.

        • willknutsen

          You really want to bore the future to death with everyone living today’s bloody video? With any luck the future will be too busy being alive to sit around indoors watching dead people’s lives. It is enough that we already have documentaries on every thing from history to making donuts. But I of course exaggerate! However, there is not much fun in tracing ancestors since it will not be the person, really. I wrote and published my father’s memories of 35 years in the arctic (Arctic Sun on MY Path. An Explorers Club book; nice front cover blurb by Sir Ran Fiennes); and I am finishing up my own tale of my drop-out and reaching of nirvana (scoff all you want! Har, har.) in the 60’s and 70’s, but in both I put the highlights, the things most would like to read about, it is not a true image since that is impossible. Anyway, I suppose it would not hurt to make DVDs on one’s life. But the library is filled with books on people’s lives, books that were once best sellers, that no one now reads. Still, cant hurt to make the DVD’s. Might try it myself. OH, I just thought I heard my teenage son crying, “Nooooo! For godsake, no!

          • Gary Whittenberger

            There will be people who wish to make these videos and there will be descendants who wish to view them. It’s just another valuable way to help people cope with the prospect of death, much better than religion. It may not be your cup of tea, and that’s ok.

          • tjallen54

            Ancestor worship forms a part of several religions, and an empirical sort of ancestor worship (ancestor knowledge) might count as a kind of religion available to humanists. I’d be remembering where my DNA comes from.

      • Bob

        I think you are the one thinking in terms of religion. “Living on” has nothing to do with continued existence or awareness. When you die, you cease to exist. That does mean that you cease to influence the future. I or you mean very little against the backdrop of the universe, but my main concern is the earth, individual human beings and human history. There is a chain of life for every human being, it has nothing to do with the supernatural it is not about living, consciousness or awareness but is is certainly about influencing the future. If I didn’t exist, my children wouldn’t exist, nor my grandchildren. I have no why “living while alive” has any meaning to you. Why anything at all has any meaning. I choose to follow Neil de Grasse Tyson: “We make our own meanings.” Too bad about you.

        • willknutsen

          Whatever you meant to say was, in large measure, negated by your strange, small attacks on me. But the main problem with your reply was that it was garbled. For example, when you wrote, “When you die, you cease to exist. That does mean that you cease to influence the future.” Did you mean, “That does NOT mean you do not cease to influence the future”? If you meant the latter, then you do think you will “live on”. However, I cannot for the life of me see anything I wrote that would get a person reading it to think I meant by “living while alive” anything but a reference to those who are waiting to die so they can “live in the after-life”. That was the theme of the article on which we were commenting, so I just assumed readers would understand the line, “living while alive”. If anything, you might have said my line was trite. But then I like to keep things light.
          It is rather annoying to have to read comments from people who seemingly cannot do so without trying to “best” someone. But if we ARE to stoop that low, then let me say that your childish, “Too bad about you”, is presumptuous at best (Should we really make final-sounding pronouncements about someone we have never met nor discussed anything with for more than a little blurb on a comments section on the internet?), and combative at worst. Why would anyone who says there is no meaning, and that “We all make our own meaning”, be combative?.So, now that I have returned tit for your tat, can we now discuss other things? Such as, you might do well not to, as you put it, “follow” Neil de Grasse Tyson, as that actually means he is your leader. I know what you meant, but you did not say it well. However, I do not agree with the idea of “We make our own meanings”, and neither do the laws of Nature. One cannot mean, or, to use its synonym, “think” that diesel fuel is going to work in your gasoline combustion engine. It just aintagonna work! Hitler’s meaning was that it would be a dandy thing to exterminate Jews, Gypsies, gays, and anybody who tried to disagree with his meaning, so certainly you can not really be comfortable with a reality in which , “We all have our own meaning”, now, can you? Gravity either works or is does not; and a person’s opinion on that changes nothing about its reality. We are these days dealing with complicated concepts for which we have not yet become adept at discussing. Should we not not just agree that we as individuals do not live on after we die? The species may (or may not!) live on, but to me that is not we are talking about: we are talking about my and your demise..someday. We do not live on in our children, they are another person.

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      you have delusion to “live on”. Deep down inside every Christian they all know or suspect that old story to “live on” is wrong and told to get money from you. All Christians are closet Atheist. Its better to be know as one how is dead, because thats all you will be, just dead. For some, its dead and loving it.

  • Phil Miller

    You know,i sometimes think i would like yo be a humanist, but here’s the thing.I went to a humanist meeting,no one spoke to me, went to a local church and everyone wanted to get to know me .
    ,

    • skeptic15

      Sorry that was your experience. It sounds as though you may be seeking friendship/companionship, not necessarily a “world view.” Did you try to initiate conversation with anyone?
      Does the Humanist Manifesto resonate with you?
      There’s always Unitarian Universalist gatherings to try as well.
      Good luck.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Did you speak to anyone at the humanist meeting? I suggest you try again and not wait on people to speak to you. Take the initiative!

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      they want your money at church. Humanist don’t want anything. But they are actually more friendly than church ladies.

  • advancedatheist

    You could interpret this to mean that socially better adjusted people stay in traditional religions, while the misfits become humanists.

    That would also shed light on why religious people show more successful assortative mating and higher birth rates, while humanism tends to attract loner guys who have trouble finding girlfriends and wives and starting families with them.

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      you are a racist pig. that is if you actually believe what you wrote. was it done with irony?

  • The Gorn

    Huh, so delusional people think they are happy, I don’t see that as news.

  • Andrew

    The myth that religious people are happier and this is somehow objective social science is very dangerous. There’s even an article about it in a US Army journal, the Military Review, suggesting this should guide military policies and funding for religious programs. Search for “Religious Participation: The Missing Link in the Ready and Resilient Campaign.”

  • skeptic15

    A perfect example of a bad “study”
    1) method – survey
    2) no adequate control group
    3) subjective parameters

    This “analysis,” while worth contemplating, has no scientific validity.

    Me and my non-religious friends appear to be just as “happy” as our “religious” friends / family (although, I must say, the “religious” people I know seem to take more “supplements” – ie anti-anxiety/ anti-depression meds – perhaps they should have included proportions of those taking meds for anxiety/depression..??).

    And, I like how the “volunteer” question was worded – it didn’t include volunteering at a hospital, library, school, shelter, etc:

    “How often, if ever, do you volunteer or help out in a church or other religious congregation?

    10 At least once a week
    9 Once or twice a month
    13 Several times a year
    25 Seldom
    42 Never
    * Don’t Know/Refused (VO”

    • ginny11

      YES!

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Religion may be the supplement or the drug.

  • suetiggers

    Happiness is over-rated

    • Gary Whittenberger

      It depends on happiness is defined and measured. For example, those concerned about social justice might have more sadness or frustration than those not concerned and thus might be less “happy” than religious people who think “everything will be corrected in the afterlife.”

      • Dhammarato Atheist

        you define it, you measure it, you develop it and then measure it again for results.

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      that is said by one who has none. its call sour grapes. Well friend Happiness is a skill to be developed.

      • suetiggers

        you know what Dhammarato…you need to grow a sense of humor… my comment was said tongue in cheek…and btw, I happen to be an atheist …but one, hopefully, with a sense of humor… seems like religious fanatics aren’t the only ones who don’t know how to enjoy a laugh

  • Kenneth Pierce

    It’s fun to make broad generalizations that are meaningless.
    The “feeling” of happiness has no connection to the belief or non belief in the contents of the bible.
    Happiness could result from watching a bird or butterfly or waterfall ….

    • Dhammarato Atheist

      birds and butterflies do not cause happiness, it is a skill that can be developed.

  • willknutsen

    Yes, I am sure that all those extremely religious people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and so on are just deliriously happy killing each other, having their kids homeless, and so on.

  • Kenneth Pierce

    Religious people and suicide bombers may be happy about doing things in the name of God.
    Although they are both insane, they can “feel'” happy, because they share their enthusiasm with others who hold on to the same beliefs.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      You raise a great point. One’s own “happiness” could be at the expense of another’s.

  • willknutsen

    The concept of: “… whatever happens God has my back,…”, makes no sense. “God has my back?” I went to a funeral last Saturday for a young man who at age 17 was afflicted with growths in his brain the size of walnuts. After 12 years of suffering he finally died. THAT is “Watching my back”? How many kids go missing every year, never to be heard from again, or are found horribly murdered? Millions of kids every year die from hunger, thirst, disease. They die in pain and often in humiliation. Millions! Priest rape kids. God had their backs? Please! Oh, by the way, these facts do not make me mad at god since there is no god. AND, for some amazing reason, I have always been happy with life.

    • ginny11

      I agree with all of this except the last line. How can you be happy with such a “life”?

      • willknutsen

        ginny11,
        Well, I did stipulate, “amaxingly enough”! But, really, the horrors of life – disease, starvation, wars and such- inflicted upon humans are generally out of my sphere of influence, for one thing. And the horrors of the “animal kingdom”, which happen on a second-by-second constancy, and have done since the beginning of life, are no less savage than what happens to humans, and yet no one really loses any sleep over the slaughter by bacteria or viruses (though technically the latter is not “life”) of trillions of microscopic life-forms…per second. If we did lose sleep over that we would die within a few weeks. You do see my drift, I am sure. What happens on the the microscopic level is just as relevant to our species as what happens on the macro level, as the stomach flu, from which I still have a lingering, sharp tingling in my gut, proves! And, if you will just give a thought to the fact that -if Stephen Pinker is right- there are less deaths per population by war than ever before; that poverty is at an all-time low (again, per population), death by disease is down and so forth, there is abundant reason to be smiling. One cannot, really, in the face of the complicated reality of biological life, to expect perfection, wot?. However, there is another thing to consider, on the happiness thing: in spite of all the horrors of biologic life; and in spite of all the tragedies that humans can experience, most of us are glad to be alive. Or, perhaps BECAUSE of all that horror flashing about, we a glad to be alive! For me the best part is humans’ sense of humor about it all. Have you read Hitchens’ “Mortality”? Makes one proud to be a human.
        Cheers!

      • Bob

        Are you suggesting that we can be happy if only we embrace nonsense? BS is better than truth? Comparing what we see and feel to what we are told, I would rather believe that there is no god, because any god that did exist would be a monster. On a scale of happiness from 1-10, I’m around a 9.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      “God has my back” is a delusion comforting to many people, but there is no sound basis for it.

  • Mickey W

    This study replicates other research and like it or not the non-religious volunteer less and make fewer donations to charity than do religious folk. While Mr. Speckhardt is correct in pointing out that the ‘happiness’ result may be due to greater community involvement, his response begs the question in the sense that the question easily becomes “Why do religious belief and greater community involvement co-vary?” Also, it seems at least a tad disingenuous to dismiss this study by PEW as being flawed in methodology and/or interpretation of the data, if at the same time other surveys done by PEW and other organization that found a decreasing interest in religion in the US are avidly embraced.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      “Less religious” does not equal “nonreligious.” In studies like this the “less religious” are often mixed in with the “nonreligious,” which leads to a problem in interpreting the results. Also, “donations to charity” might include donations to churches, and I’m not convinced those should be included. Methodologically sound studies can be designed and conducted, but few have been.

      Just because something was done by PEW doesn’t mean that it was scientifically sound. The methodology of every study needs to be examined individually and critically.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Again, each study needs to be evaluated on methodology. You just can’t assume “All PEW studies are scientifically sound.”

  • Angela M. Mogin

    John Adams said it best when he said, to paraphrase, Commitment, the only life worth living is one in which one has made a commitment and demands a commitment of others. It really doesn’t matter if one observes whatever religious rituals a faith requires but how connected one feels to one’s society. A life of purpose does make for contentment which is probably one definition of happiness. The imaginary friend in the sky doesn’t seem too good at averting disasters both natural and man made but does provide those suffering from one of them with the comfort that their suffering will eventually be avenged and may even have a higher purpose.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Why would one think that a god who failed to prevent a disaster would be likely to provide compensation in an afterlife? Why the trust? Probably indoctrination, peer pressure, deficits in critical thinking, lazy thinking, and accidental reinforcement.

      • Dhammarato Atheist

        gulibility

  • Toonerific

    How does this study define happiness, I wonder? The appeal of religion is the gifts: the instant community; the relief that comes from “answers” to unanswerable questions; the endless platitudes that serve to ease the fear of the faithful; the comfort that comes from being commanded, relieved of the pressure to decide. All of these things certainly make one feel content. But, none of it lasting. As we progress toward a greater noetic understanding of our existence, the veil is gradually being lifted, the illusion is wearing away and that ‘happiness” that comes from blind faith is becoming more and more tenuous. I believe lasting “happiness” comes from giving of yourself for the sake of humanity.

  • norman

    It is not to be wondered that a religious man is happier than an irreligious man anymore than that a drunk is happier than someone sober. This is paraphrase . I cant remem
    ber original or author

  • norman

    What a dope I am. I posted before I finished reading article.

  • Bob

    Considering the amount of self-loathing it takes to think of one’s self as a “sinner” I would say that only a masochist could be happy under those circumstances.

  • Jim Stovall

    Community is a greatest resource of well-being. Caring and being cared about are among the best forces in the search for human good.
    Caring about issues is also important, issues of justice and peace.
    Mainline churches do a good job of that; I believe humanists do that well as
    well. Some Humanists have developed the skill of singing and teaching, even
    community readings. Unitarian Universalists are good at these things. Having a setting wherein we might gather for the sharing of ideas might help humanists a great deal. There are any resources that forward looking churches use that are now for the sake of indoctrination, but for reflection. Humanists can develop community gathered around free reflection and togetherness. I would like that and I think many others would too. Till then, the UUs are available for free
    thinkers.

  • Unpeasant Motion

    Religion, afterall, is the opiate of the masses. There is, in a sense, a denial of personal responsibility for one’s actions in religous thought. It is not the deities will. It is fatalism with hope, an endless conflict that results in some odd irrational game theory behavior.

  • John Eckhart

    Although I’m not a particular fan of communism, there’s no denying that Karl Marx said it best: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.” Dead on.

  • Dhammarato Atheist

    Happiness is a skill to be developed. Christians and Atheist alike do not know this and unhappy. Atheist have an opportunity to see it as a skill and can develop happiness. Christians are SOL and must rely on God. They have no real happiness, just communal obligations.

  • John D

    I think we should take this survey at face value an stop trying to dissect it. I fully expect that religious people will have higher rates of self reported happiness. This idea lines up perfectly with my personal experiences with religious and non-religious people. If I were to conduct this “study” on my friends and family I think I would get a similar result.

    This doesn’t distress or worry me.

    I also don’t worry that the Danish people have a higher level of self reported happiness than in most other countries.

    These little tidbits of data really have little value. What does this data even mean? It certainly does not necessarily mean that I will be happier if I somehow became religious, any more than my suddenly moving to Denmark would make me happy. I am also not foolish enough to think that we should encourage America to “be more like Denmark.” I am not Danish and I am not religious.

    I guess it is pretty irritating that religious people use this kind of correlation study to claim the religion is what makes people happy. Of course, this is simply not proven (and I suggest it is completely wrong). Even the “community” argument used by Roy is pretty weak sauce.

    I will also point out, as many already have, that self reporting a very general concept such as happiness proves nothing about how people are really “thriving”. No one can really define “happiness” anymore than they can define “love”. It is really quite possible that religious people have a very different definition of happiness than non-religious people.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that correlation studies of self reported emotions are really shitty… and often simply mask the complexities of truth.

  • Kenneth Pierce

    It is bizarre that so many people believe the Bible, which makes God out to be stupid. I rather think of the creator of the universe as amazingly brilliant, not an entity who would drown all life on a planet because they didn’t say or do acceptable things.

  • Jim Donovan

    By way of making me feel better, someone once told me that intelligent people are generally less satisfied/happy because they are unable to subscribe to a unifying cosmology in which they can take comfort and use as a guide to life. I don’t know if that is true, but I am always skeptical of studies that claim benefits to religious belief. I think often of some of my devout co-workers who attend black churches. Or, what I call, “all day church” because that is what it is. As I listen to the stories, what strikes me is that the religious aspect seems to be a somewhat contrived device for what is essentially a social gathering more concerned with having good food, singing, a fashion show, and gossiping. This is the kind of church I could actually get behind. It serves a human purpose. A desire for interaction and communion.