Higher purpose: Study finds belief in God linked to having sense of purpose in life

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    I am a gay person who was driven away from the Mormon Church because of the way they believe about me and the way in which we are treated. I find that most, if not all Mormons choose not to talk to me about God and basically treat me as if I am already lost and outcast. They don't consider my beliefs at all! I have never stopped believing that my life and the lives of others have meaning. As a matter of fact, being gay has only amplified that feeling because I know that being gay has its purpose. I can feel that and it doesn't change because the Church believes otherwise! What you should study is how the beliefs of groups of people effect us!. What has been extremely hard for me is not being a part of the larger group( Mormons) I use to get so much strength being around others and talking about God and our mission on Earth. When we are alone, it is much harder to go through life! I believe our purpose includes learning from each other how to love and share.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 26, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    Considering your owner, a bit self serving, this article seems DN.

    There are a lot of associations, affiliations,and activities that can give a person "as sense of purpose". God and religion may do for some, but for others, political involvement, service to the public, the arts and creativity, are also valid in providing a framework for a meaningful purpose filled life.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 10:58 p.m.

    I believe your sense of purpose can be enabled by feeling your actions are enabled by righteousness that you get to define.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    @Shimlau: Is it really arrogant to question the life experiences of other people? How far do you really want to take this position? After all, there are people who believe all kinds of crazy things. Let's take an extreme example. What if you had a brother or sister who joined a cult that taught all members should disown their family, give away all the possessions to the cult leader and prepare for the end of the world, which they claim will happen on November 23, 2013? Would if this family member interpreted his new cult beliefs as a transformative life experience. Is it really arrogant to disagree and perhaps even argue with your family member in effort to persuade him to leave the cult? I think it shows care and concern.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    Don't you just love how believers disagree and argue with nonbelievers over the interpretations and meanings of their own life experiences?

    How arrogant is that?

    Don't you just love how non-believers disagree and argue with believers over the interpretations and meanings of their own life experiences?

    How arrogant is that?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 24, 2013 9:19 p.m.

    Up till now, the past is determined, the future is uncertain, the present is what you've got. Einstein has a quotable quote I like. Live your life for life to have a life to live for. No one can do it all on there own we all need a support system, even if that support is supernatural.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    There is nothing more freeing than to be able to do good without worrying about "brownie points" in heaven. There is nothing as sweet as loving your granddaughter just because she is special and not even thinking about how this will help her to become someone you can be proud of.

    Try living in the moment. It makes one more sincere, more loving, and helps you to accept yourself and love yourself. Happiness flows when those two truths are abundant in your life.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 23, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    RE: Tyler D, What if the purpose of life?

    WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM:Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

    Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee. Saint Augustine

    I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden. Saint Augustine ,

    For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts 17:28)Creation is dependent on God for it’s very existence.

    John 3:36(LB) And all who trust him—God’s Son—to save them have eternal life; those who don’t believe and obey him shall never see heaven, but the wrath of God remains upon them.”

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    Worshiping a golden calf does nothing for you. Worshiping the true God does everything for you. Thousands of false Gods and only ONE true Godhead. The truth about God is not a matter of opinion and opinion has no power over truth. The true God is an absolute truth and can change ones life while the thousands of false gods bring emptiness. People are free to believe what they want but only a belief in truth can benefit you.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 22, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    @UtahBruin – “If you can't take somebody at their word, what can you take them at?”

    I don’t quite understand your confrontational tone… please explain what you found so offensive in my first comment.

    And when did I ever say (overtly or implied) the things you said in your 3rd comment – that I described a life without emotion or happiness, or that the 9-11 hijackers were in any way justified? Again, I think you’re doing some big time projection here…

    Your point about people not believing in an afterlife having anxiety about death is true (and I would say is the #1 reason religion even exists), but it’s not necessarily true. Buddhists & Taoists for example don’t believe in personal gods or in an afterlife – at least one where we as individuals still exist – and yet are some of the happiest people on the planet.

    And many non-believers I know have little or no anxiety about death… I don’t.

    But if your point is that believing in God/afterlife can also reduce anxiety about death, yes I agree (again it’s the main reason for religion to exist).

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 3:08 p.m.


    "All I can say about your 3rd comment is you are reading way more into me (and my comments) than is justified or true."

    If you can't take somebody at their word, what can you take them at?

    As for my description on and or the way you put it as a "cosmic purpose." Whether it be a broad definition, or a grand plan, it is still holds purpose does it not?

    As for any anxiety that is generated from someone focusing on an afterlife. I would think also that anyone who sees an absolute end of this lifetime at the point of death could experience that same anxiety you speak of.

    My point with all of this, is you can refute anything. All you need is the desire to want to. Which again gives purpose. "Cosmic" or not.

    I believe those who argue against it spend more time thinking about it rather than someone saying they know the eternal purpose exist. I would think, those lives experience more angst as they not only defend themselves and their views, but spend more time thinking about an end and how it will be, to them its a mystery.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 22, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    @UtahBruin – “Everything you described that didn't, does have purpose.”

    Well sure, but I was using the term in the same way the survey was – purpose meaning some grand plan behind it all.

    By your much broader definition everything has a purpose, but I think it’s more accurate to say (when speak this broadly) that every effect has a cause.

    So I think my point still holds – namely, that we can live our lives without a “cosmic purpose” and not only NOT be depressed about it, but actually be very happy (which may have something to do with living in the moment).

    And the point I made about religion cutting both ways relates to this too – focusing our mental energies always on the future (especially an afterlife) can bring as much anxiety as solace, perhaps more so.

    @UtahBruin – “Your description of life sounds as if it is to go through life without emotion, and or without purpose.”

    All I can say about your 3rd comment is you are reading way more into me (and my comments) than is justified or true.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    Whether you put your faith in a big explosion creating everything and gravity organizing it OR God organizing it, both gravity and God are mysterious. However, the fundamental difference between gravity and God is gravity through an unbroken chain of cause and effect appears purposeless and God through a designed plan appears purposeful.

    This isn't news. It has been debated for centuries: Are we predetermined dust in motion or are we dust with agency? Was my writing this comment predetermined by the big bang and gravity or was my writing this comment an act of my agency (ability to be a uncaused cause, so to speak)? My guess is the debate will continue for a season.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    Don't you just love how believers disagree and argue with nonbelievers over the interpretations and meanings of their own life experiences?

    How arrogant is that?

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 11:57 a.m.


    To argue on your sense that maybe religion is ridiculous and made up and that God is as well. Which I do not agree, but playing on your side for a moment. Your description of life sounds as if it is to go through life without emotion, and or without purpose. I on the other hand that regardless of our beliefs our lives should be lived to the fullest and be as happy as we can make them, and whether you believe in a God or not. Are you saying with your 9-11 example that it was OK for these individuals to do what they did because they believe in a supreme being who may grant them those "carnal" desires and rewards. I don't think so.

    Sorry my friend, everything has purpose. How you choose to liken it is up to you. But there is purpose in all things. All things.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 11:56 a.m.


    With regards to your 9-11 Hijackers. Bad example by the way I think. But as you describe, that is an incident that had purpose for those individuals because of what you describe as a plan that works in their favor. Not only do you contradict your own thoughts of things not having purpose, but you then say that these individuals did this because of their own purpose or plan. Yes, they have a description of what awaits them, just as you have a description of what awaits you after falling in love, playing with your kids, appreciating art, etc.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 11:48 a.m.


    I would disagree that the happiest moments in your life you describe were "completely devoid" of purpose. Falling in love - You may see it as a purposeless activity in your life, if you didn't have knowledge of what love was, then it would be purposeless, but because you may have been raised around it, understand it, etc. It is no longer purposeless but an activity if you will that you are drawn to do because of your knowledge, thus giving it purpose. Being with friends - It was not purposeless, there was something that brought you together, being school, birthday party, etc. that gave it purpose. Playing with your kids - For the purpose of bringing your kids laughter, love or joy, gives that purpose. I would hate to be known as the parent who plays with my kids with no purpose. I would like to be seen as a father who cares, enjoys being around, involves my self in there life and interest, etc. with my kids. Appreciating Art - Obviously something you enjoy, there is a purpose to appreciating art when it is something you enjoy. Everything you described that didn't, does have purpose.

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 22, 2013 10:49 a.m.

    "We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands." Carl Sagan

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Extremely biased article, based on manipulated evidence. When you start out with the assumptions; "non-believers are bad, immoral, purposeless people" you reach the conclusions you intended. Not having a sense of "certainty" is NOT the same as being troubled. Science, common sense, and intelligence demands questioning of everything in our lives. Stop trying to justify "faith" by false witness.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 22, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    I’m not sure why agreeing with the statement - “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose” – would be depressing.

    Why does everything have to have a purpose or be part of some cosmic plan? What if the purpose of life is just to be alive (like the purpose of love is just to love)? Some of the happiest moments in my life were completely devoid of any purpose – falling in love, being with friends, walking in nature, playing with my kids, appreciating art, etc…

    That said, it makes sense that those who believe in a cosmic plan would have a sense of purpose related to it, and perhaps a higher degree of motivation if that plan was said to work in their favor – I’m sure the 9-11 hijackers had a strong sense of purpose and no doubt the “carnal” descriptions of paradise that await them would be highly motivating to young men.

    Whether or not this sense of purpose actually makes people happy is the real question, and kudos to this article for pointing out that the associations to religion can cut both ways.