Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Are Christians Happier Than Athiests?


I thought this was interesting:

A study reported in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science indicates Christians may very well be happier than athiests.  What researchers at the University of Illinois did was they performed a computer analysis of nearly 2 million Twitter posts from about 16,000 followers of prominent Christian and athiest personalities.  What they found was that Christians used more positive words than athiests, and talked more about their social relationships.

It seems to support previous studies that show a correlation between all religions and a sense of well-being.  One theory is that athiests tend to to be more analytical in their thinking--and at extremes this thinking style can make people feel less content and happy.  Christians on the other hand are more creative in their thinking style, and this can make them feel more content and happy.

Another difference between the two groups, is that Christians also enjoy more social interaction and support from their churches and social groups.  Other studies have shown a connection between social connectedness and well-being.  Social connections, especially with people that share your beliefs and values, make people feel happier.

I thought the study was interesting, but what I thought was really interesting was what I didn't find in the article--that maybe it had something to do with what Christians believe and not just how the think and interact socially.

Isn't is at all possible that Christians are more content because of the things they believe?  Isn't it possible that having a better understanding of your nature, and a code of ethics and morals might lead Christians to be more content?  Perhaps they are more content because they believe they are part of some much larger unseen plan?  Perhaps it's because Christians understand gratitude, and they know the importance of giving thanks for what they've been given, and, therefore, are more content with and appreciative of what they have.

Interesting that a study about the differences between Christians and athiests focused on thinking styles and social interaction and never considered the cause of this feeling of well being could be from the one thing that makes the two groups so different to begin with--the belief in God.

~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel expected to be released in 2014. All of Todd E. Creason's books are sold at major online booksellers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and are available for both Nook and Kindle.

3 comments:

  1. Several scientific studies have shown the benefits of religious belief and lifestyle.

    It would be interesting to see a study that controls for other factors, and focuses solely on acceptance of a Higher Power, to see if that single factor will lead to increased happiness, decreased stress, happier, longer lasting marriages, and happier, emotionally healthier children.

    I contend that all of those benefits are natural consequences of a G-d centered life - if one is doing it right.

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  2. One doesn't need to believe in a higher power to live a happy, long life, to be compassionate, or to know 'right' from 'wrong'. Religion creates much stress and emotional trauma for many people. Indoctrinating children into a system that teaches them they are unworthy sinners who must appease a vengeful being that cannot be known seems like emotional abuse to me.

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