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Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Religious people are happier, studies show’

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Published: Thursday, March 8 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

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Full-on double rainbow
Bluffdale, UT

I feel that I am just as happy now as a non-believer as I was when I did believe. The big difference now is that I don't have to attend a lot of boring meetings. So I guess I give the happiness edge to the non-belief lifestyle.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Did they study Mormons in Happy Valley? The highest level of anti-depressant use in the country would seem to indicate otherwise.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

team Obama is working to stop this....

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

My greatest joys in this life are all due to my faith. I'm far from perfect. I make mistakes. I have miserable days. But I am certainly very happy and love my life and the people in it. I've never taken an anti-depressant either. I haven't lived in "Happy Valley" either, but my time spent there has been some of the best times of my life, surrounded by the most helpful, kind, and charitable people I have ever known.

:)

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

"Secularizing writers often like to imagine how much better the world would be without religion. They should pray that they don't get their wish."

Great commentary!

JoeBlow
Miami Area, Fl

Studies also show that people with pets are also happier and healthier and live longer.

Those Religious pet owners must be ecstatic.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

Not just happier, but also more -

* charitable

* compassionate

* law abiding

The devout are far better assets to society.

Joggle
Clearfield, UT

A link between happiness and religion is meaningless. Non-believers can't just turn on a faith in order to be happy. If you find religious claims incredible, then you won't believe them, whatever the supposed rewards in terms of personal fulfillment. In the end, it comes down to the individual and, to an extent, their genetic predispositions.

Dig a little, and the picture is more complicated, Mr Peterson. Because it turns out that religion only improves well-being in tough societies - places like Mississippi or Alabama in the USA, or Egypt and Bangladesh in a global scale. The non-religious actually have fewer negative emotions than the religious! In worse nations, the non-religious have more negative emotions. It also matters whether you live in a religious country. In highly religious countries, the non-religious tend to be unhappy. But in least religious countries, the non-religious actually have fewer negative emotions than the religious!

So, to sum all this up. Religion doesn't necessarily lead to happiness. In countries where there are relatively few religious people, and in which living conditions are generally good, religion doesn't improve well being and religious people may actually be less happy.

pmccombs
Orem, UT

It does not surprise me that people who view themselves, their lives, and everything in the context of a powerful and desirable narrative will feel more happiness than those who do not.

This, however, has nothing at all to do with how well the narrative actually matches what might be called objective reality. Thus, wildly divergent religious narratives can predictably produce happier people who all experience similar kinds of spiritual fulfillment (e.g. spiritual witness, awareness of miracles, gratitude, etc.) regardless of the particular and often competing claims of their different religions.

There is something that convinces the believer of the validity and truth of these hopeful stories upon which the belief has been focused through desire. The story, understood as truth, facilitates happiness.

Verdad
Orem, UT

It seems to me that Joggle, above, has refuted Dr. Brooks and all his academic studies, and has done it without citing a single piece of data

Very impressive.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: Data from 1998 reveal that people who were certain that God exists were a third more likely to describe themselves as "very happy" than those who denied his existence.
Common grace,A good example of common grace leading to effectual saving grace is the Gentile man Cornelius who feared God, gave alms generously and prayed regularly, but was never saved until the apostle Peter shared with him the good news of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus (Acts 10:1-48). It was common grace that led Cornelius to be devout, but he still needed efficacious saving grace. He responded to the light he had received through common grace, and God brought him to the greater light of the good news of Jesus Christ whereby he could believe and be saved. God the Holy Spirit moved him beyond common grace which does not save, to the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@lds4gaymarriage
"law abiding"

That's not true. The three states with the highest percentage of atheists are New hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, the three states with the lowest crime rates and some of the lowest rates of christians actually being active in their churches. If you look at all 50 states there's no correlation between religion/lack thereof and crime.

"charitable"

I'll give you blood donations but any study that includes tithing needs an asterisk designating that some donations were given under the belief that the person had to in order to get to heaven.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

"law abiding"

atl134
That's not true. The three states with the highest percentage of atheists are New hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, the three states with the lowest crime rates and some of the lowest rates of christians actually being active in their churches. If you look at all 50 states there's no correlation between religion/lack thereof and crime.

LDS4
Apples/Oranges. We aren't talking about atheists vs. believers, but the devout vs. the non. The devout have an added incentive to be law abiding that the non do not share. Common sense says that 2 groups of people, demographically identical other than being devout vs. non, the devout group will be more law abiding due to that added incentive.

"charitable"

atl134
I'll give you blood donations but any study that includes tithing needs an asterisk designating that some donations were given under the belief that the person had to in order to get to heaven.

LDS4
Go to the Familyfacts website's Community Involvement section. It shows that the devout give more time and money, even to non-religious charities. Put the words: religiosity charity volunteering into their search window for details.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@lds4gaymarriage
"Common sense says that 2 groups of people, demographically identical other than being devout vs. non, the devout group will be more law abiding due to that added incentive. "

The stats don't back you up. Besides many of those devout have less incentive to be good because many of them believe that you can say a few prayers for forgiveness and have all your sins washed away.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

It's so funny and sad the way the non believers here always try to jump in, justify themselves and protest about how happy they are without faith. You're not fooling anyone.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

@lds4gaymarriage
"Common sense says that 2 groups of people, demographically identical other than being devout vs. non, the devout group will be more law abiding due to that added incentive. "

atl134
The stats don't back you up. Besides many of those devout have less incentive to be good because many of them believe that you can say a few prayers for forgiveness and have all your sins washed away.

LDS$4
Even the Once Saved/Always Saved types still want to please God and eschew sin despite having a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card. Also, if your grandma's car broke down in a bad part of town and a group of young men approached her, wouldn't she breathe a bit easier if she knew that they were coming from a Bible study vs a random group of young men from the area?

Joggle
Clearfield, UT

@Verdad

Are you insinuating that I have no sources and I'm making my statements up out of thin air? Look it up! I already did. While your at it....you're welcome to refute my statements, but instead you attack me for presenting an opinion that disagrees with Mr. Petersons. Why is that? Tell me why my statements are untrue! There's more to this subject than what Mr. Peterson presents. There is information out there that tells a different story.

Joggle
Clearfield, UT

@Cats

And just how do you actually know that atheists are unhappy without faith when that is not something you can possibly know for sure and especially if you don't know any atheists? Assuming isn't the same as knowing. Just because "faith" makes you happy doesn't mean it's something that will make everyone happy. ItÂs important to be clear that the well-being associated with religion only occurs when people are able to exercise control and choice over their beliefs and practices. When people practice religion as a result of external pressures, and not internal beliefs, their well-being may actually be negatively affected. Would you be happy practicing atheism when you actually have religious beliefs? No, right? So....why would you think an atheist could become happy embracing faith when he/she doesn't believe it? It probably could be true that those with religious faith are more happy than non-believers, but at what cost? Most of the faithless people I know are very happy and content.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Brooks research regarding charitable giving was flawed because it didn't take into account cost of living.
When Boston University evaluated charitable giving, taking into account cost of living, the results were very different from Brooks (Utah scored higher on BU's study than on Brook's).

DN seems to primarily carry articles which promote the conservative viewpoint. It would be nice to read different viewpoints

Stay the Course
Salt Lake City, utah

Joggle
I have read many of your posts. Not once do you come across as happy only one that attack all religion. To me your posts prove the point of this article

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