"Our study offers compelling evidence that it is the social aspects of religion rather than theology or spirituality that leads to life satisfaction," ... friendships built in religious congregations are the secret ingredient in religion that makes people happier."This sounds reasonable but I think you need to compare results with non-religious people who also have a structure of close friendships somehow comparable to those existing among members of religious congregations. I'm skeptical that religious belief itself has no major effect. We know the power of things such as placebos. It seems likely that strong faith, regardless of its validity, might also have effects on a person which could be positive.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Religious Belief Doesn't Actually Make You Happier
That's the essential claim of a new study just published in American Sociological Review. According to the research, which covers main Christian groups, the beneficial effects of religion are actually based on its social club aspect, rather than religious belief itself.