Monday, March 17, 2008


... or just get a good bottle of scotch

Andrew Clark and Orsolya Lelkes have presented a paper before the Royal Economic Society that purportedly shows that people with religious beliefs are likely to be happier than atheists or agnostics.

Research suggests religion can act as an "insurance policy" against the adversities of life.

Regular churchgoers also appear to cope better with events such as divorce or unemployment and may even be happier. ...

The study concluded that the "stress-buffering" effect varies according to the life event and religious denomination, but "churchgoing and prayer are also associated with greater satisfaction".
On the other hand, spreading happiness might not be part of the package. Supposedly, the religious were less supportive of unemployment benefits.

I suspect it has less to do with the religion itself and more that a church provides various resources to help people cope, one of them being simple camaraderie with other like-minded people. They'll also have specific belief-mechanisms in place for dealing with unexpected misfortune as well as a built-in support group.

However, that says more about the lack of such resources for non-believers than it does about "religion making people happy."
That's probably a big part of it. So, don't get a good bottle of scotch ... join a club of scotch aficionados!
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