I find it interesting that the countries that rate highest on the World Happiness Report ( Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland, Canada ) are the least religious. Conversely, those that rate the lowest ( Afghanistan, Togo, Syria, Burundi are the most religious ). Tell a Baptist preacher that you are an atheist, though, and he will ask you what went wrong in your life.

I suppose people that are suffering are more likely to turn to a deity thus seeking better times, now or after death. Of course that goes against free will and non intervention. What is the point of praying, or saying God bless America, when the bible states God will not intervene ? Religion is full of irony, contradictions and irrational thinking.

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 As a former "super Christian" as I was called by my friends much to my dismay. I can say that I am happier than I have ever been now with the realization there is no God. I wanted to be the best Christian I could. Really. It was loaded with guilt. Why were my prayers not answered? I made a point of unselfish prayers. Limited to let me know your will etc.  I never got an answer. I knew my sin,even unknown sin and lack of faith was my fault.....the guilt was unbearable.... eventually I became pessimistic and skeptical.  If God did not care why should I? Thank you pessimism and skepticism. I am now not feeling guilty for being a human that makes mistakes nor do I look to an imaginary friend that does not exist for help and guidance. I am free and empowered to make my own decisions! Interestingly this makes me feel MORE responsible for my actions...I am accountable for all that I do. It makes me feel much more responsible and accountable for my actions as there is no fairy to " forgive" me. Your observation is of no surprise to me. Thank you for sharing and echoing my thoughts.

I like that many of those top countries are about education and alternative means of transportation, Netherlands and Denmark are two countries where the bicycle counts as a way to move about!

I would tell a pastor that I finally read the Bible using logic and reasoning and found the myths and contradictions appalling at first and now find them hilarious.

That is what makes Thomas Jefferson's bible so interesting. He edited out all of the supernatural parts and translated it into 3 different languages. The founding fathers were not religious as many people claim.

There are some debatable correlations with religiousity and health and happiness.

Psychology Today. 

"• If you are having serious cardiac surgery and receive strength and comfort from your religious faith, you’ll be almost 3 times more likely to be alive 6 months later.
• 47 percent of people who report attending religious services several times a week describe themselves as “very happy,” versus 28 percent of those who attend less than once a month."

more Psychology Today.

"religious people (at least in the United States and other religious countries) are happier on average than non-religious people. But, the key variable does not appear to be religion itself. Instead, it is the social connections that religious life facilitates that make people happy."

Some guy with a PhD

"In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness."

ScienceDirect.com.    "The current study instead explored how political orientation and religiosity interact in establishing levels of happiness. Data from both the 2012 General Social Survey and the 2005 World Values Survey were used. Results from both data sets support prior research by showing a positive association between happiness and both political conservatism and religiosity. Importantly, it was found that political conservatism and religiosity interact in predicting happiness levels. Specifically, the current results suggest that religiosity has a greater effect on happiness for more politically conservative individuals compared to more politically liberal individuals'

It has been stated that, only in religious countries,are religious people happier. That could be - an atheist, surrounded by religious people in a religious community, can feel very put upon, isolated, persecuted, judged, and alone.  For good reason - religious people can be horrible when it comes to how they treat others.

As you stated, there is a report that of the happiest countries, "three of the top five are the least religious countries in the world".   Utne Reader. 

So it's not simple.   I've had happy times, and unhappy times, all while being a rock solid atheist. 

Daniel,

I concur with most of what you have given, yet here is another study that gives one counter argument: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?mcubz=1

Gary, I don't want people praying for me, either!

My stepfather fell on Fathers Day and broke his hip. This happened because he is stubborn and insisted on living alone when he could barely walk in the first place. Someone told me "we will pray for him." WHY? Is god going to take away his dementia and give him back an ability that he lacked before his hip surgery? Please provide evidence for any person this has happened to. You can't do it. There is none.

I think the World Happiness Index is compelling: http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2016/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/03/rep...

It is difficult to dispute that correlation. I do think there is a placebo effect with religion though. Many successful boxers and mma fighters are highly religious. I'm sure placebo type results can occur with medical, faith and some shamanic healing. In such cases you would likely get the same result if you believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I think much of my life might have been happier if it was spent in nonreligious places.

John, I think you have summed it all up very nicely. The problem is that it's hard to get a religious person to see this.

I was most unhappy in a Baptist family.

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