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Gallup Poll of 676,000 shows the most religious Americans have highest well-being

In “Religious Americans Enjoy Higher Wellbeing” (Gallup Wellbeing, February 16, 2012), Frank Newport, Dan Witters, and Sangeeta Agrawal report “Relationship holds when controlling for key demographics”,

PRINCETON, NJ — An analysis of more than 676,000 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index interviews conducted in 2011 and 2010 finds that Americans who are the most religious have the highest levels of wellbeing. The statistically significant relationship between religiousness and wellbeing holds up after controlling for numerous demographic variables.

Of course, the religious Americans could all be lying, some have suggested.

The problem with this view is, most religious Americans are Christians and most Christians need not pretend to be happy. A “successful” Christian accepts suffering, is sorry for his sins, and is concerned for others. The Catholic Church, which formally declares a few Christians to be saints every so often, provides a snapshot of this fact.

So Something Else must be making them happy.
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5 Responses to Gallup Poll of 676,000 shows the most religious Americans have highest well-being

  1. My life has been indescribably and profoundly enriched since my conversion from atheism to Christianity in 1994, and certainly not because my faith makes me “feel good” or promotes self-esteem. In fact, it often does the exact opposite. In our church the emphasis is placed on walking out one’s faith (which I often fail to do!), and disciplining oneself to act contrary to one’s fallen nature (which I certainly have!). But the weekly admonishment, and encouragement, at least helps me keep on track and improve incrementally.

    Accountability to, and fellowship with, other Christians has produced many rewards. Serving in the music worship and apologetics ministries has been very enriching. Church for me is AA for a sinner, and I certainly qualify in that category!

    In addition, my mind has been freed to explore possibilities that were excluded from consideration by my previously-held atheistic/materialistic worldview, with which I was indoctrinated from childhood.

    Design in living systems and the universe is so obvious to me that I can’t begin to comprehend how anyone with reasonable intelligence can deny its existence.

  2. Richard Dawkins claims that infants are atheists by definition.

    So how about all the dead infants who are unable to incrementally develop their beliefs?

    Here is a relevant quote from the bible:

    “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-3)”

    So its quite the opposite of Dawkins. This implies infants are by definition Gods children before they or society consider them “theists” or “atheists” or whatever.

  3. Gil,

    Can I ask in what year you first heard about ‘intelligent design’?

    Iow, was “design in living systems and the universe” obvious to you before 1994?

    Thanks,
    Gregory

  4. Let me suggest that this statistic is fairly useless. Never mind whether the Christians are lying; let’s assume they’re telling the truth. Even so, how can I use this information?

    1. If I want to know whether organized religion(s) are true or made-up, this statistic doesn’t help me to find out. People might be happier just because they think they know a lot about why humanity exists, but they could still be mistaken.

    2. If I want to be happier, this statistic doesn’t help me, because I won’t likely get the benefit unless I really believe that the religion I’m joining, and as noted in paragraph 1, the statistic does nothing to convince me that any major religion is true (not to mention tell me which one).

    So what can I do with this statistic to improve my life? How can I make use of this information? I can’t.

  5. @DarelRex -

    Your right, this statistic is probably will not help you. This is just my opinion, but judging from the phrasing of your comment, you sound like you have a closed mind. ( I may be wrong, but it certainly sounds like that ). Additional arguments do not help people who have closed minds.

    OTOH, this is an extremely useful statistic for those who reject Christianity because they think they will be happier continuing in their sin.

    Many of these people just need a simple statement like this to wake them up that the path of sin is making them miserable. This can become a latch point for them to enter into the truth.

    Sorry that it is of no use to you.

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