Does religion make you happier? It may depend on your wealth

religion and happiness by wealth

If you live in a poor country, it’s likely that being religious will give you a boost in your happiness. If you live in a wealthy country, it’s likely that your happiness will not be affected by religion, but if anything you may more depressed/sad if you are religious. Also of note (in retrospect quite obvious) is the fact that secular people in wealthy nations report being significantly more happy than religious people in impoverished nations.

Gallup polls asked respondents from each of the world’s 32 poorest countries and 31 richest countries “did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday” and sorted responses into groups based on subjects religiosity to inquire whether happiness level correlates to religion.

On a related note “Gallup Polls in 143 countries reveal that among countries where average annual incomes are $2,000 or less, 92% of residents say religion is an important part of their daily lives. By contrast, among the richest countries surveyed — those where average annual incomes are $25,000 or more — that figure drops to 44%.”


Why does education tend to make people less religious?

scientists survey

We can certainly agree that there are genuinely thoughtful and brilliant people on every side of this debate, and we are all just trying to figure out the answers together.

Yet, studies have shown that every year of education “reduces the propensity to attend religious services at least once a month by about 14 percentage points.” (1)

So *why* does education tend to make more people less religious?

Is that not counter intuitive? If we can be certain this world was created by God, should not those who study the natural world, or logic/reason, be even more inclined to believe? Yet we see the opposite.


Nations and cultures are more diverse than merely “secular vs religious”

There is a broad spectrum of religious/secular nations and cultures, its impertinent to brush all with the same brush.

• Y-AXIS TOP: (Secular values) less preference on religion and traditional authority, and are more accepting of abortion and divorce.

• Y-AXIS BOTTOM: (Traditional values) religion, traditional family values, parent-child ties, and nationalism. Those with these values tend to reject abortion, gay equality, and divorce.

• X-AXIS LEFT: (Survival values) emphasize economic and physical security and are linked with ethnocentrism and low levels of tolerance for outsiders.

• X-AXIS RIGHT: (Self-expression values) give high priority to growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians, and gender equality.


Americans claim the Bible is Gods word, don’t read it

  • 4 in 5 Americans are Christians and believe that the Bible is Gods word. (1)
  • Yet only 1 in 5 Americans (including Christians AND and people of other faiths/atheists/agnostics) have read the whole Bible. (2)

What a tragic fact, in my opinion, regardless of your religious views, reading through the whole Bible should be a requirement for our society where the vast majority of people claim to have moral values that are founded on the Bible.

In related news, atheists and agnostics tend to know the bible as good as most Christian, and  even better than other groups of Christians. (3)

More religious countries show less innovation

According to a recent Princeton study regarding the number of patents filed per person across the world, there is a strong correlation between religiosity and less innovation. (1)

As studies go, this is a very rigorous correlation study (that controlled for population, education, socio-economic factors, and more alternative reasons) though this does not 100% prove causation.