Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why are Religious People Happier?

It's their friends at church, according to the study just published in the American Journal of Sociology and reported here and here . People who report going to church more often also report higher happiness. And it is appears that the number of close friends at church explains this pattern. Moreover, individuals with a larger proportion of close friends at church report higher life satisfaction than those with the same number of close friends but where those friends are not at church. The authors conclude that it is a social mechanism for how religion improves happiness rather than a theological or spiritual one.


  1. I think one factor also is because of the music they sing during church.

  2. Thanks Nicolas. Do you think the music can be tied to the friendships?

  3. Jiyoung Baek 51465092

    Social ties can create an atmosphere of happiness, but other factors do too.
    Churches do offer an aura of ambiance and
    spirituality through music, architecture, and ritual, even though the attendee(s) intrinsically may not have even felt a spiritual awakening or moment. Just being around those who appear to have can influence your perceptions and self-regard. So I wonder how authentic that happiness of those in the reports claim to be. The emotional state of
    belonging can in fact encourage one's positive
    feelings even though nothing associated to
    spirituality has occurred in the church. I do find a potential irony that those church-goers in the reports have not taken a humble approach in admitting their happiness, while the non-church goers, who may actually have a high level of happiness, may choose humbly to express much less than their surveyed church


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