Are secularists happier?

Chet at Science Musings:

… but as a reasonably joyful secularist I’d have to say that I haven’t noticed secularists are generally any happier than religious believers. If the goal of life is to be joyful, then religious people might even have an edge. At least they can anticipate future happiness to make up for present woes.

No, my reason for being secular is purely intellectual: In 75 years of reading and reflection I haven’t found a shred of evidence to convince me that all that stuff I was taught as a child is true. The vast majority of religious people believe in the truth of the religion into which they were born, which should give any such person pause for thought. Rather, I find far more compelling the painstaking development of empirical science as a guide to reality, especially as supplemented by the principle of parsimony. I’m a secularist because my head tells me to be that way, not because I want to be happy.

Head trumps heart.

Still, like anyone else, I’d rather be joyful than sad.

Read the entire post; nice one.

However, the conclusion of Chet that having a religion that gives meaning to life will make one happier need not always be true; there could also be religions that tell you stories which does not really make life meaningful; or, worse still, will tell you stories that might give a meaning for your life but which does not make you any joyful knowing the meaning.


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