Ignorance is Bliss: Why Religious People Seem Happier Than the 'Nones'”.

“Highly Religious Volunteer More, Lie Less, and Claim to Be Happier”

Houston Chronicle; 

“Strongly Religious People are Happier than Non-Religious”  

~ Christian Daily.

"The study determined that 40 percent of highly religious adults—defined as those who “pray every day and attend religious services each week”—consider themselves to be “very happy,” compared with 29 percent of less religious adults."

I read these kinds of studies all the time and find significant methodological flaws repeated. I agree with Maggie Ardiente. Studies of this nature come from a bias.  

"This study shows the same methodological flaw seen time and time again: measuring religiosity in large part by how often people attend religious services. This creates a comparison that doesn’t measure the differences between the religious and the nonreligious, but instead measures the difference between those that have strong community connections and those that do not. “Community” has positive outcomes, not religion."


"Ignorance is Bliss: Why Religious People Seem Happier Than the 'Non...

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I will agree that they consider themselves happier but I don't believe for a moment that they are. Community is important. If that's what they are being judged by you could asked people at a country club or whatever club and they would probably say they are happier.
One thing I know for certain. What religious people lay claim to and what they actually feel are almost always two totally different things. I've have several religious family members divorce. And found out others were on the verge of divorce. But I only learn of it through the family grapevine. I have an uncle who preaches at a church leave his wife of thirty years for a member of his congregation. They later reconciled but only because the other woman threw him out. And I guarantee you that couple would claim to be happy. Then and now.
As for volunteering it always has something to do with their own church. Does that even count?

Kathy, I agree.  I like your examples.

I suspect some are happier, but on average, no.

One way to find people with nontheistic but similar "strong community connections" would be to look at members of communities like Sunday Assemblies and (the not-so-recent at 140 years old) Ethical Culture.

(Also at Humanistic Jews and others who've removed theism from their practice.)

Grinning Cat, those are excellent ideas. Unfortunately they don't apply to most of us who live in rural areas. There's only one Catholics church in this county. The other three hundred ( maybe a slight exaggeration) are different types​ of evangelicals.

   You know, this community support is really very basic human thing to do and have. There are many articles about the studies of Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Gorillas living in communities and do well. Where as if any member is ostracized, she or he will or must find another community. Remember when National Geographic did several articles about Jane Goodall and her works with Chimpanzees? I clearly remember some chimpanzees were ostracized and later became depressed and some died.

  These Christians clearly tried to hijack into a religious dogma what is already naturally occurring in the human species.....and their one more step into their pseudo scientific studies is just an advancement into their stupidity.

Why only 40% of highly religious are happy?  Why not 90%? 

Vs.  29% of less religious?  Why not 10%?  Or none?

Doesn't make sense.  60% of highly religious people are not that happy.  Why arent they in a state of bliss?

I wonder if depression has anything to do with religious people being not happy? Several family members hold religious positions and adhere closely to the rules/laws and they demonstrate characteristics of depression.  

The formula for being depressed is out of control of one's life and unable to predict the future. 

For example, a client is married to a fundamentalist preacher, they raised their kid to be christian, and the only thing she writes complaining about is her constant headaches, lethargy, and anxiety. She asks for my advice. Ah! Ha! Anxiety, another symptom of depression. She asks, and I offer some remedy for these symptoms.  She often responds, "I tried and it didn't work," or "I can't," or "I won't," or the "should'a,  oughta, gotta" that is so often the language of religious women. They have the rules to follow that are not the kinds of rules one establishes for an adult, but for a child. The women often report feeling like a second class citizen. These are the old bromides that religious women often use.

Religious men often come to me with feelings of being out of control of their wives and children, they follow all the rules but do not feel respected, they are supposed to be the head of the family but don't feel they are.

"According to Bem, the original form contained sixty empirically defined personality characteristics. Twenty of these characteristics are stereotypically feminine (e.g., affectionate, gentle, understanding), and twenty are stereotypically masculine (e.g., ambitious, self-reliant, assertive) along with twenty "filler" items that are considered to be gender neutral (e.g., truthful, happy, conceited). These characteristics were chosen from a list of 200 personality characteristics that appeared to the author and several of her students as positive in value and either feminine or masculine in tone. 

"Twenty of these characteristics are stereotypically feminine (e.g., affectionate, gentle, understanding).

"Twenty is stereotypically masculine (e.g., ambitious, self-reliant, assertive).

"items that are considered to be gender neutral (e.g., truthful, happy, conceited).

"These characteristics were chosen from a list of 200 personality characteristics that appeared to the author and several of her students as positive in value and either feminine or masculine in tone. 

Guess what! I think women's and men's religious beliefs get in the way of mentally healthy, mature, adults thinking and behavior. 


~ Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155-162.

~ Bem, S. L. (1975). Sex role adaptability: One consequence of psychological androgyny. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 634-643.

~ Bem, S. L., & Lenney, E. (1976). Sex typing and the avoidance of cross-sex behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33, 48-54.

~ Bem, S. L., Martyna, W., & Watson, C. (1976). Sex typing and androgyny: Further explorations of the expressive domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 1016-1023. 

~ Bem, S. L. (1981). Bem Sex Role Inventory: Professional manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Bem, S. & L. (1981) "Bem Sex-Role Inventory" Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print

~ Broverman, I. K., Broverman, D. M., Clarkson, F. E., Rosenkrantz, P. S., & Vogel, S. R. (1970). Sex-role stereotypes and clinical judgments of mental health. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 34(1), 1-7. 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0028797Cited by 2473;

Broverman, I. K., Vogel, S. R., Broverman, D. M., Clarkson, F. E. and Rosenkrantz, P. S. (1972), Sex-Role Stereotypes: A Current Appraisal1. Journal of Social Issues, 28: 59–78. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1972.tb00018.x

~ Gilligan, Carol (1977). In a Different Voice: Women's Conceptions of Self and of Morality. Harvard Educational Review: December 1977, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp.

I think people that are suffering often turn to religion to create hope that things will improve.

John, wouldn't that be true only if they were raised religious?

   I think that is what it is, Kathy.  People raised religious comes to a point that they are depressed and their religion does not addressed the problem. When they leave their religion, their depression becomes worse. It is not worse because they left religion but because they suddenly lost their community of support. It is being stuck between the "religion that causes depression" and " life without peer support" is like being in no persons land. They have no idea that there are other kinds of community supports that can fulfill a persons need but either fear or ignorance keeps them from exploring other options. So they opt to go back to religion and they feel better, but that doesn't last too long. It is just that I have seen this all too often and it happened to me too, only that I left for good. I didn't have community support from my family's church anyways so maybe that what made my transition out of religious crap bearable.

I agree Thomas.

Religion had me brainwashed, but it didn't make me happy.  Just the opposite.  It made me fearful and depressed that I couldn't live the many impossible commandments.




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