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%.”

Secular teenagers are not ethically inferior to those who grow up in a religious home

Even though it is usually expected that teenagers growing up secular would be ethically inferior to their religious counterparts, numerous sociological studies show this is untrue.

Dr Phil Zuckerman, a prominent sociologist, writes that

1. “When teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study.”

2. “Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.”

3. “Secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers.”

4. Secular people tend to prioritize “rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.”

Furthermore, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology, who has over has overseen the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which has become the largest study of religion and family life conducted across several generational cohorts in the United States, there are “High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation. Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study. The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose. [Emphasizing] rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.” (1)

Atheist are the most hated group in the US

PF_14.07.16_interreligiousRelations_totalRatings1While prejudices exist in all groups, according to one study, the worst kind of prejudice and animosity exists against the non-religious.

If you are religious, and you see two people, an atheist and a member of your religion, doing the same *exact* action, you will always rate the atheist worse.

Philosopher Paul Draper writes: “The most robust prejudice correlated with religiosity is prejudice against atheists. [In a study by Jennifer C. Wright] Christian and atheist actors were portrayed in one condition as performing IDENTICAL immoral actions. Those actors portrayed as atheists were appraised significantly more negatively than those actors portrayed as Christians.

In another condition, atheist actors portrayed as performing supererogatory [morally good] actions were regarded as less praiseworthy than their Christian counterparts performing IDENTICAL actions.”

This is consistent with other ratings given by the US public, as seen in this 2014 Pew survey.


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)