07 Dec Happiness, religion and friends
As important as your religious beliefs may be to you, they don’t necessarily make you happier, a new study in the American Sociological Review finds. What does make you more satisfied with your life, the study finds, is having friends at your congregation and a strong religious identity.
“Those are the people who give you the sense of belonging,” said lead study author Chaeyoon Lim, of the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Lim conducted the study with Robert Putnam, author of “Bowling Alone” and “American Grace.”
Many other studies have argued that the happiness gleaned from being religious is about spirituality and theology – for example, your belief in a higher power and your engagement in the rituals of your tradition. But in this study, factors such as prayer, holding religious services at home, and strength of faith do not appear to be related to life satisfaction.
Lim and Putnam looked at a nationally representative sample of almost 2,000 people in the United States. The majority of the participants in the study were Protestant and Catholic; Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians were a smaller portion.
They conducted interviews with the same participants twice: Once in 2006 and once in 2007. Those who gained friends in their congregations during the course of the year also reported a greater sense of life satisfaction. This was also true for those who said they were attending their place of worship more in 2007.
But people who go to a place of worship and have few close friends there are not any happier than people who never go to services, the study authors found…
…want to read more about religion, happiness and friends? JUST CLICK HERE for the original and full article