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

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Maybe religious people are more likely to be deluded or dishonest in their reporting of happiness.
Even though the article focuses on the psychological rewards of altruism, I think that religious people may report being happier because of their involvement in a consistent, popular social network. Many religious people I know speak of their church like a favorite club or other activity. Personally, I think book clubs would have the same effect if they were more popular.
I would say that religion provides comfort, not happiness. The religious that usually do these polls have no comparison to go by. They compare their current state of faith with an assumed state of non-faith. The thought of having an almighty buddy makes them (and me, formerly) comfortable. People are generally happy, there are many exceptions, but they attribute it to their faith. I feel happier now knowing the truth. Happier knowing that I dont have to keep my thoughts in check. Happier knowing this life isn't some prerequisite to another dimension or just a test. Sure, I no longer get to be immortal (never did) and when I am alone, I am absolutely alone. So perhaps I am less comfortable, more so because a life in the bible belt in America surrounds you with Christians. I come here to fellowship with like minded people.

In conclusion... They don't know. They assume the answer. I am happier.
Happiness is like beauty; it is all about the beholder.

I cast serious doubt on anyone who claims that religious faith statistically makes happier people. You can't measure happiness and statistics are meaningless without using every possible sample. Statistics involving people's opinions are like astrological claims of divination. That being said, it is probably true that the faithful (ignorant) are happier (subjectively) than the faithless (informed). I say probably because 'ignorance is bliss' is commonly held wisdom. I am constantly aware of the number, proportion and magnitude of tragic events occurring across the globe thanks to modern technology. I have the intelligence and maturity to have empathy for my fellow human beings. With all that in mind it would be reasonable to assume that happiness would be a hard thing for me to hold on to in the face of so much tragedy. However, I know I'm not alone. I know that there are other intelligent, empathic and sympathetic people the world over. I know that those others like me are on top of things when and where they can and they attend to tragic things the same as me.

I think the faithful don't even think about it. Of course they are happy! Isn't that the point of religion in the first place? It is supposed to ultimately make you feel better. They know that. Hell, I know that too and I've never had faith in religious bullshit. That doesn't mean that you can't be happy without religion but that you are going to be happier with it. Isn't that a commonly held belief amongst everyone? Religious folks think that they are automatically happier with their lord by their side because that is what they are told. That is what they tell non-believers.
I think that ethic is about to come back.

So they are finally canceling Jerry Springer?
From the article, it doesn't seem religion has much to do with happiness. It looks like social circles, marriage, and volunteer work contribute to happiness. I'd want to see non-church going religious persons compared to church going.
Retarded people tend to be happier than brilliant people. Children happier than adults. Animals happier than humans. I think, if they are truly happier, it's more an iq thing than anything else.

Atheists are TRUE adults, who choose to deal with reality. Religious folks are life long children to imaginary, magical parents.
Atheists are TRUE adults, who choose to deal with reality. Religious folks are life long children to imaginary, magical parents.

Good analogy!! I like it.
Maybe the religious claim they are happier than the non religious because, somewhere along the line, they feel that there is an implicit obligation on them to be "happy". They've made the right choice, chosen their god, have an insight to something that the profane are unaware off. As such, they have to be happy.

How can they claim not to be happy when they have their god on their side? If they did claim to be as unhappy as anyone else, then what point their religion?
I didn't read the article, much less his research. That being said, I suspect his research is largely invalid. In my opinion attempting to compare the quantity of happy between 2 individuals is not a sufficient test, if it's even possible. It would be more appropriate to test the happiness of an individual under both situations, with faith and without. Those of us who have never experienced both cannot really say that they are happier than they would be with the other.

I have experienced both and I can say with no reservation that I was much less happy with faith than I am without it. Fear, guilt, and pressure to perform are not conducive to happiness in my experience.
Ignorance is bliss.




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