People with religious faith tend to be happier than those without?

Although I have deepest respect to Jonathan Haidt and his work, there is something that he claims I cannot quite figure out. How can something that brings guilt, terror, humiliation and fear of eternal punishment make someone feel happy? Not just happy, but happier then those without it? Haidt, being an atheist himself, doesn't explain the phenomenon, he just states this fact. The research he talks about in his book seems to be legitimate though

Views: 653

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It wasn't Wesleyan was it?
I still feel special--for seeing through all the bullshit!
1. Self-induced euphoria or self-hypnosis leading to release of endorphins

From what I've read of the brain, it is an endorphin junkie, part of the problem with the constant need for "instant gratification"; so I think this one nails it for the larger portion of the masses.

One of the major issues for those who gain no euphoria/endorphin dump from religiosity, is we all still suffer from the need of gratification; fortunately/unfortunately, however it is viewed, those of us lacking these behaviors feel compelled to face stark reality, head on. It would seem likely, barring substitute behaviors/stimuli, we would be less "happy", in the euphoric seen.

Actuality, dealing with what is, as it is, can be a real brainfuck. I wonder if E.A. Poe was an atheist ... hmmm.
John, did I get your point right - religious people have low expectations because they have high expectations of the afterlife?
Why don't atheists self-report happiness too?
Why don't atheists self-report happiness too?

I am an atheist and I am very happy (there you go self-reporting in action). In fact... I cannot think of a time in my adult life when I have been happier in general terms. My life on the outside to others possibly doesn't look good as it has been in the past, I have had better jobs, made more money, had maybe the life I thought I wanted, but I wasn't happy.

It is probably more down to my attitude towards life. I approach my problems realistically, and I get real joy when I crack the nut of one of those problems. I stopped trying to fix myself (I am not broken, I am human) and instead got on with evolving (thank you HowardD I told you I would steal that line) and improving what I like about myself. I haven't set my expectations low (which is a common accusation I have had leveled at me recently), I have set them to realistic. I work on solving those problems which are in my control and I have stopped worrying about things in which I have no control over at all.

I basically decided to just get on with the business of living, after all this is the moment in time when I exist, I don't get another go, so why waste it.
I'm a atheist too and happy too:) No, I don't mean that atheists don't report being happy, what I meant is that statistically we report it less then those who are religious. Aaron just made a point, I wonder how it can be tested.
fMRI can be used; pleasure centers of the brain, in reaction to unbiased inquiry, would give a picture.

There certainly are empirical means of determining the factual nature of "happiness"; the only caveat being there is so much discrepancy between individuals in how "happiness" is defined, as you stated previously.

There has to be a "happiness algorithm" somewhere out there ...
I got a nice little smile at the "Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" ad on the side of this page. Does that make me happy? I'm a comedian (improv/stand-up/acting) currently in rehearsals for a dream role. Does that mean I'm happy? I've been married to a wonderful woman for 23 years, I'm debt-free, have a good job, and have a plan to do something soon that's outrageous and hopefully entertaining enough to make me marginally famous. Happy yet?

I can't say that I feel happy. Maybe we aren't meant to be happy. I get to do stuff I enjoy, I'm comfortable, I have a few friends. But I can see the reality in the world, and it isn't a happy place. I'm guaranteed "the pursuit of happiness;" I'll take it. That's all you get. Happiness is something I don't quite understand, I suppose.

Help me out here. What IS "happiness?"
Definition would be - state of mind or emotion described as satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. Positive psychology guys (Haidt among them) describe happiness as positive emotions and positive activities and allocate three kinds of happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.
In that case, I'm all about the engagement thing. If I have something to do, I'm happy!
Ignorance = Bliss
Maybe the issue isn't so much with the religious being happier as it is with the unreligious being unhappier. There's a much greater proportion, I should think, of non-believers that have no social outlets since they live in religious areas, and being told by most people you know that you're incapable of morality and deserving of eternal torture probably doesn't help much with the happiness thing, either.

Does the same phenomenon occur with blacks vs whites, or homosexuals vs heterosexuals? I also wonder if atheists in more liberal areas tend to express greater happiness compared to their surrounding populations compared to atheists in conservative areas.


© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service