Gallup: Religious Americans Have Higher Wellbeing

A new Gallup poll finds that religious Americans have a statistically significantly higher level of wellbeing than nonreligious Americans:

They break it down, too:

So what’s the explanation? There’s no set answer, but a few possible reasons come to mind:

Religious service attendance promotes social interaction and friendship with others, and Gallup analysis has clearly shown that time spent socially and social networks themselves are positively associated with wellbeing. Religion generally involves more meditative states and faith in a higher power, both of which have been widely used as methods to lower stress, reduce depression, and promote happiness. Religion provides mechanisms for coping with setbacks and life’s problems, which in turn may reduce stress, worry, and anger. Many religions, including Christianity, which is by far the dominant religion in the U.S., embody tenets of positive relationships with one’s neighbors and charitable acts, which may lead to a more positive mental outlook.

No doubt that strong relationships make for a happier life. But I wonder how many of those “strong bonds” involve discrimination against gay people and verbal attacks on atheism.

I would guess that, if asked, the wellbeing of gay people wouldn’t be as high as that of Christians… and the Christians are to blame for much of that.

It should be noted that just because religion “feels nice,” that doesn’t mean religious beliefs are true.

Atheists are interested in the truth, even if those truths are uncomfortable. We don’t hide behind mythology and place our hope in non-existent gods to make ourselves feel better.

  • Tim

    Proof positive that ignorance is bliss.

  • Jagyr

    My thoughts exactly. I don’t doubt that religious persecution is a not insignificant part of why the wellbeing of the non-religious is lower.

  • Todd

    There’s only one reason to believe something, and that would be “it’s true”. If there are other benefits, fine, but they’re secondary.

  • http://followmsleading.blogspot.com MsLeading

    I suspect that if atheists lived in a society that is tailor-made to suit our worldview and in which we were the majority in every sense, we’d have a higher sense of wellbeing too. My opinion has always been that if you are not thoroughly angry and dissatisfied with the current state of things in our world, you are not paying close enough attention; so if we must choose between living with painful awareness and integrity, and living in blissful religious blindness, I know which one I’d pick.

  • http://humanistexploration.wordpress.com chris

    Well, I also think there’s a difference between “non-religious” and “secular humanist” or atheist. Those of us that have thought about it would probably score higher on the poll, unfortunately we’ve been lumped in with the everyday person that doesn’t feel attached to a church and hasn’t thought about it very much one way or the other.

  • Hitch

    This isn’t really new, but yeah it’s there. It’s also another example how one specific interpretation is being picked, that usually favors religions.

    For example there is the stigmatized group problem. Now happy are you going to be if people at school tell you, you go to hell and you are satan.

    Suicide rates among stigmatized groups is higher. We could say that it’s just bad for you to be gay, but I don’t think that really covers it. In the same sense suicide rates among atheists is higher. That may have to do with the higher chance of existential crisis, or it may have to do with hostile environments. To actually show which one it is, there’d need to be tighter controls on this kind of stuff.

    To show that this is indeed the issue, compare to Scandinavia. Very high health and happiness indicies, despite a high disbelieve and low religiosity.

    Then again scandinavia has fairly high suicide rates (most probably thanks to seasonal affective disorder effects).

    There is this running jokes about Icelanders, who self-report as extremely happy, but rank high in suicide rates that the ones that survive are really doing well!

    Then again studies have shown that being a guy and older is a risk to our health and happiness (and correlates with suicide probability). That doesn’t mean that we should stop being guys or aging. Perhaps we should look at the factors that contribute to the unhappiness and well-being indicators directly within the group.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    Maybe they get an ego-boost from being God’s Chosen People – or maybe telling people they are perfectly happy is just part of their evangelizing routine.

    Or maybe they just don’t have to worry about fundamentalists trying to make their lives miserable like the rest of us?

    Interesting how there is virtually no difference between the moderately religious and the non-religious, by the way.

  • NewEnglandBob

    The brain dead are happy with themselves. Not shocking.

  • Holly

    This isn’t really surprising when you think about it. Between the fact that studies have shown that there’s a loose correlation between education and lower religiosity and I seem to think I’ve seen studies that show more educated people are less happy, this just seems to close the triangle.

    Anyone with a better memory who can confirm/deny me on this with links?

  • jolly

    There are a lot of questions to be asked for this poll to have any meaning. What do they mean ‘controlling for region and state of the country’? Do they mean when they call a religious state which may have less ‘wellbeing’ than a less religious state, they only compare those to their own state or region? I would like to see what questions they asked to know what their criteria was for ‘wellbeing’. The conclusions reached are so mushy as to be meaningless.

  • Pickle

    LOL @ Tim!

    In my case the exact opposite is true. Once I gave up silly beliefs and unreasonable hatred of “others”, my life has never been better. I’ve made awesome new friends I wouldn’t have had if I believed gays were the scourge of the earth. I’m more open minded and receptive to new ideas, I’m guilt free, and when I do nice things for other people it’s because I want to because it makes me feel good. There’s no resentment of giving to people because I felt I had to. I make a point to go out and do things I may not have done before. I travel when I can and regularly cross items off of my “bucket list”. If this is the only life I will have, then by golly I’m going to enjoy it! All of this has made me very, very happy. All of this I didn’t do when I belonged to a church. (southern baptist! blech!)

  • http://www.yagottamoo.com Matt

    Since the level of well-being was based on phone interviews, the sense of well-being would be based on self-reporting. How much of the difference is actually due to the religious reporting what they think they SHOULD say, rather than the actual state of their well-being? Also, if you look at the work environment index, how much of that difference is due to nonreligious folks feeling uncomfortable due to the religious attitudes of their co-workers? Lots of variables to consider.

  • Philbert

    Question is, does this apply to just one religion or to all of them? Because in the latter case it’s certainly evidence of a social effect and not the effect of a noodly appendage extended to a particular group of true believers.

  • Aj

    I don’t trust Gallup after Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, which is blatantly dishonest, with findings that are implausible and in conflict with other polls.

    Is attendance to a building really a defining factor of religion let alone frequent attendance? It’s also going to bias towards healthy individuals, more social people, and people who aren’t depressed. It’s not really about being religious though.

    Also the obligatory: correlation doesn’t equal causation, self-reporting, subjective scale.

  • http://thelifeofmanquamanonearth.blogspot.com/ Mark Plus

    But look at the bigger picture: The more religious American states tend to have worse health on average than the less religious states, with some outliers like Utah:

    http://www.americashealthrankings.org/measure/2009/overall.aspx

    Compare to:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx

  • Luther

    Two things:

    1)
    I am Atheist because it is true.

    Even if this survey is correct, it won’t change my rational conclusions. On the other hand if the opposite were true a religious person might well question where God failed them, or just chalk it up to the Devil or an example of God’s mysterious plan.

    2)
    Another theory is that some people claiming they are religious are deluded or really telling the caller what they think is the expected/accepted answer.

    They could also be giving the expected/accepted answer to the other questions as well.

  • Robert W.

    Some evidence against the notion so often stated here that religion or belief in God leads a person to be depressed and guilt ridden.

  • http://thelifeofmanquamanonearth.blogspot.com/ Mark Plus

    In the even bigger picture, the people in less religious countries tend to have longer life expectancies than the people in more religious countries:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    Compare to:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/142727/religiosity-highest-world-poorest-nations.aspx

  • http://www.belovedspear.org Beloved Spear

    @ Philbert: Never underestimate the joy-giving power of His Noodly Appendage.

  • Aaron

    Some evidence against the notion so often stated here that religion or belief in God leads a person to be depressed and guilt ridden.

    Who suggested that? I think we often suggest that religious people are deluded/wrong/crazy/mean/dumb/evil/homophobic/racist/ugly/wear funny hats/etc…, but unhappy?
    I think happiness is the main reason people use religion. Still doesn’t make it true.

  • http://thelifeofmanquamanonearth.blogspot.com/ Mark Plus

    @Luther:

    These kinds of surveys really support a secular outlook. Christianity started out as a doomsday cult, and its early adherents spread the gospel to warn humanity about their god’s horrific judgment of the world which could happen at any moment. That message doesn’t sound so persuasive after 2,000 years, so now the apologetics have changed to make christianity sound like a desirable lifestyle option for comfortable middle class people in developed societies.

  • nakedthoughts

    also, how much more stress (on average) do atheists have? I know someone who is pretty sure he got fired for being an atheist.

    How common is this? People are often afraid of being “outed”? That and knowing that half the country thinks you should burn a pit for all eternity, would, I imagine, lead to health issues.

  • http://www.atheistrex.blogspot.com Rex

    I wonder if it is the standard concept, especially on the more fundie end of the spectrum, that “I have a personal relationship with Jesus, and since he wants me to share the good news, I will demonstrate that my life is in fact, PERFECT!”

    I see this thought process very frequently from current believers as well as confirmation that answers were intentionally tainted this way from former believers. These answers do not mean that they are true, they just mean that believers are consistent in spreading religion supporting propaganda.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TominousTone Tom J. Lawson

    Was this a scientific study with factual evidence or just these people’s opinions of their lives? I think we can agree that the non-religious would answer with more realism and the religious would powder up their lives regardless of how miserable they are.

  • Aaron

    Oh, this reminds me of the book “Stumbling on Happiness”. The author talks about people who have terrible lives and how they claim it makes them happy, such as a pair of conjoined twins (joined at the forehead) who claim to be very happy.
    And since happiness will impact the rest of your health….

  • Ryan

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one”

    -George Bernard Shaw

  • Epistaxis

    This is completely unsurprising. Religion gives people a community and an identity, and for most people (except atheists, who usually miss the point, as shown in the comments above), that’s much more important than what they’re asked to believe about the world.

    We need more and better secular communities to provide an alternative.

  • http://www.meaningwithoutgodproject.blogspot.com Jeffrey A. Myers

    Even if we assume that the results of this survey are somewhat objective, does this really reflect anything more than the fact that Religious types are the stygmatizers rather than the stygmatized? Adherents to Religiosity generally and Christianity specifically control every facet of government, non-theists don’t even have a seat at the table.

    This is about as surprising as finding out that wealthy people have a higher standard of living than everyone else.

  • Randy

    Interesting the flock is happy but the clergy are miserable. Thinking back to a research project mentioned that showed how the “shepards” hated their jobs, had affairs and went through divorces. Kind of a “do as I say, not as I do” thing.

  • Deiloh

    I’m a Foster Mom. The biggest difference I noticed in my outlook on life as I went from religious to not is how I viewed the difficulties many children go through. The world became a little crappier but I also became reenergized in helping minimize the damage.

    So am I less happy then I was? Overall, maybe more frustrated would be accurate. I took the redpill, I’m happy with that, and I have absolutely no desire to take the blue.

  • jose

    Could it be possible that a significant number of atheists were a bit upset or stressed about being surrounded by religious folks who discriminate or react in mean ways against them? I’m thinking about all these letters this site receives about coming out.

  • Unholy Holly

    Hey math teacher — is the difference statistically significant? What is the +/- range?

  • JD

    So it’s a measure of delusion?

  • Robert W.

    Aaron,

    I was referring to the many comments on this blog that stated that people who are Christians must have a terrible self esteem apparently related to concept of sin and need for redemption.

  • http://sacredriver.org Ash

    Some thoughts:

    1) This is Gallup, a company run by a man who’s mission is to make the US a more Christian country. That doesn’t make this survey technically fraudulent, but it does mean that their methodology should be put into question.

    2) Since we are talking about people with a less faithful relationship with reality, I wonder how many “very religious” people were honestly reporting. In other words, is this poll less a measure of well-being and more a poll of reliable self-report? Did the poll include any kind of validity measure? I assume it didn’t.

    3) For the sake of argument, let’s say this poll accurately reflects reality. Then it is important information. It says that religion is correlated with higher levels of reported happiness in America, opening up a lot of avenues for scientific exploration. For example, it would be interesting if a similar poll included a variable of regular community/group activity. Or a control for being a member of the majority vs minority. Or how about looking at loss; I wonder how many “non-religious” people had lost their faith because of personal tragedy and the realization that the existence of evil eliminates the possibility of a loving creator?

    4) We know that belief in the supernatural is also correlated with seeking relief from the feeling of lacking control. I wonder what the poll would look like if it only included a sample of people who had a stable family life, regular income, and supportive community.

    5) Finally, it underscores the importance of building secular institutions that support well-being. Clearly there is a need.

  • Heidi

    Of course they’re happier. It’s the Charlie Gordon Effect (Flowers for Algernon).

  • http://www.godtalkradio.com Jason

    Atheists are interested in the truth, even if those truths are uncomfortable.

    I’m not sure I agree with that statement. I think atheists are interested in certain truths, but not all truth.

    Jason

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Robert,

    I was referring to the many comments on this blog that stated that people who are Christians must have a terrible self esteem apparently related to concept of sin and need for redemption.

    Yes, I’ve said that it makes me wonder about their self esteem. I don’t think those people would describe it as such, but they do believe they are inherently unworthy, inferior, weak, broken, sinful, etc. They have no problem saying so, and yet they deny that they have low self esteem. It makes no sense to me. They’ve been indoctrinated to believe that they are wretched human beings in need of redemption. I don’t see how that could be anything other than terrible self esteem.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    1) This is Gallup, a company run by a man who’s mission is to make the US a more Christian country. That doesn’t make this survey technically fraudulent, but it does mean that their methodology should be put into question.

    Are you sure you’re thinking of the right person? George Gallup is dead. George Barna, on the other hand, does conduct opinion polls from an evangelical perspective.

  • Rob

    This sounds like in-group/out-group dynamic. And naturally when you are in the in-group majority your going to have a nice coating of self satisfaction to bathe in. Also, people who choose to be non-religious will most liekely be deeper thinkers and in that case they will think more deeply about every aspect of their lives and the world has a lot to be upset by right now, so that could be part of it.

  • Sean

    This is sort of old news; other polls have found similar results.

    Given that it’s always the extra-religious that poll high (and never the irreligious that poll low), I’d bet that it has something to do with the church environment. Being weekly (sometimes daily) affirmed and validated in one’s ultimate beliefs, and having a support network built into a religion are probably pretty helpful.

    And while the sin/guilt thing would seem to work against the religious, I think it’s only certain personality types that are really likely to maintain that attitude all the time, regardless of metaphysical beliefs. Religious rituals (formal, like confession, or informal, like private prayer) offer a form of cleansing that makes for a very effective disposal of guilt; that guilt can be a problem, but it’s likely to be a very temporary and soluble problem for the naturally upbeat, not comparable to the loneliness or sense of isolation they might feel after quitting church.

    It may also be that the personality types most likely to stick with religion are the ones that are most likely to stretch the truth in a poll. I’m not just thinking that they are fooling themselves; people who have been raised in an honor culture (like in parts of the Deep South), who have greater respect for authority, and/or have great in-group loyalty, I believe are more likely to be religious. Such people also tend to be treat reputations (which are closely linked to the idea of honor) with more respect, which may lead to defensively saying that everything is just fine, thank you in a poll.

  • Silent Service

    I find it interesting that they highlight the general feeling of wellbeing by Fundamentalists and point out that it’s higher than that of atheists. But they don’t point out that atheists have and relatively equal ratings compared to moderately religious people. All this poll does is prove that fundamentalists are deluded and living in their own little worlds when compared to everybody else.

  • http://sacredriver.org Ash

    @Anna

    “Are you sure you’re thinking of the right person?”

    Yes. The Gallup corporation is run by George Gallup Jr, and he openly describes his work with Gallup as evangelical. Here is one story on him: http://bit.ly/8zpoc8

  • Richard L

    I think you miss the point.

    If this poll is actually true (as in nonreligious==atheists, and not just something like “agnostic” or “spiritual”), the response shouldn’t be “ah, but we’re right” – we are, and we know that there are no natural or rational reasons to believe in god – but “how do we fix it?”

    Anyway, maybe if the secular chaplain-program could spread outside of University programs, we could fix the social issue? (I actually have no idea how to fix it, but it is an issue I think atheists need to be aware of so that one day we might come up with some solution)

  • Dan W

    I’d rather have reality over the warm fuzzies of religion.

  • http://facebook.com/tony.alires Tony A

    Although the raw scores show a 4.5 point difference between Religious and Nonreligious ratings of well-being, is that difference statistically significant? These ratings are very subjective, so who knows if those 4.5 points reflect actual differences in well-being or if they are merely a result of self-report error. Besides, if Religion did play a significant role, wouldn’t we expect the scores of the moderately religious to be somewhat higher than those for Nonreligious? The fact that their score is identical to nonreligious leads me to believe there is so much variance in the data that you cannot make a conclusion that religion has a significant effect on one’s well-being. And shame on people for trying to pass it off as such.

  • cat

    @Ash and Hitch, both of you are dead on. But, one other important factor that I noticed they did not control for was sexuality or disability. Both of these groups flee religion in high numbers and face a lot of social stigma and barriers. Also, considering that this controls for economic class, and, in the US, poor people are generally far more religious than the wealthy, even if the results are accurate, they are only accurate for upperclass religious folks, not the country in general. It also controls for race, which, considering that blacks and latinos are underrepresented as atheists, where as east asians are hugely overrepresented, that makes a big diffrence. First, it is quite possible that non-western religions are overrepresented (and christians are taking results about happy Budhists as being about them). Second, it is also quite possible that Koreans, the most religous group of east asians within the US (and worldwide) and who are usually Christians receive social benefit from having a religion that makes them more acceptable to whites.

  • Robert W.

    Anna,

    Yes, I’ve said that it makes me wonder about their self esteem. I don’t think those people would describe it as such, but they do believe they are inherently unworthy, inferior, weak, broken, sinful, etc. They have no problem saying so, and yet they deny that they have low self esteem. It makes no sense to me. They’ve been indoctrinated to believe that they are wretched human beings in need of redemption. I don’t see how that could be anything other than terrible self esteem.

    I believe that your confusion comes from only getting half of the story. If you stopped at we are all terrible creatures with no hope then of course that would effect your self esteem. But when you add in the love and grace of Christ and the notion that he accepts you just how you are and all that he did for you then you will have a better understanding of how truly remarkable you are. You are free from any guilt that you have, you are released from any self doubt and you recognize that you are a heir to his kingdom. That is why people of faith can understand that we are all sinners yet have a great self esteem.

  • muggle

    How about we also (good luck with this) control for the religious affecting the irreligious health’s adversely? At 50, the child abuse and childhood malnutrition I suffered as a direct result of religion at the hands of my fundie nutjob spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child mother who had 8 kids in 10 years time even though she couldn’t afford to feed that many because she trusted birth control to god is severely impacting my health.

    Fuck god. I’m in poor health but it’s because of my mother’s belief, not my disbelief. I’m no health nut but have probably taken better care of my health because of my disbelief. (Let’s start with not staying with a husband who beat me and not giving birth 8 times in 10 years.) I’m probably 100 times happier and healthier mentally since leaving religion. I know I stopped being suicidal like I was when I was a Christian teen who felt constantly judged by gawd.

    I’m healthier and my daughter is healthier due to my disbelief. And probably my grandson too.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Ash,

    Yes. The Gallup corporation is run by George Gallup Jr, and he openly describes his work with Gallup as evangelical.

    Thanks for the info! I had no idea that anyone involved with the Gallup oranization might have ulterior motives. Certainly something to keep in mind when looking at how they word their questions, etc. Even a slight bias either way could have an effect on poll results.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Robert,

    I believe that your confusion comes from only getting half of the story. If you stopped at we are all terrible creatures with no hope then of course that would effect your self esteem. But when you add in the love and grace of Christ and the notion that he accepts you just how you are and all that he did for you then you will have a better understanding of how truly remarkable you are. You are free from any guilt that you have, you are released from any self doubt and you recognize that you are a heir to his kingdom. That is why people of faith can understand that we are all sinners yet have a great self esteem.

    I do get the whole story. It doesn’t make it any better. In your worldview, people are absolutely worthless without Jesus. On their own, they’re broken, weak, sinful, etc. Just listen to the lyrics of Amazing Grace. “A wretch like me,” indeed.

    I understand that you believe Jesus absolves you of your terrible (IMO, non-existent) sinful nature, but that doesn’t cancel out the fact that you feel humans are horrible creatures. You don’t hold yourself in high esteem. You only esteem your deity. It’s only through your deity that you have a sense of self worth. Without the “grace” of Jesus, you believe you are wretched, disgusting and vile. That’s what I mean by terrible self esteem.

  • fastthumbs

    Assuming the poll is accurate in it’s measure of reality (at least it’s NOT an internet poll…), maybe it’s due to the fact that it’s a lot “safer” for atheists to come out then it was 25 years ago. So there is less “malcontents” among those left who identify as religious?

  • http://politicsandpucks.blogspot.com Mike Brownstein

    I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m sure some social scientist will find a study that says the exact opposite!

  • Mr Z

    These kind of things reinforce my understanding that religion works on the human brain like a drug, in the same way that love scores: people deeply in love score higher on such as this than those not in love. Just this week a study was released saying that the chemistry set between your ears acts on the same areas of the brain as pain killers when you are in love. Religion, I’m certain has the same effects. Religion is a drug and theists are addicts. They don’t have to face the raw dirty facts of life in this universe because they are high!

  • Kayla
  • Stan

    Atheists believe in what is true? I have still not been able to find out what atheists believe other than Christians hate them which is the cause of their lack of well-being.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they ae endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”

    Do atheists believe this?

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Stan, are you actually legitimately curious about atheists, or are you just here to make comments about us? You’ve posted several times now, but your remarks all seem to a show a similar lack of understanding. If you’re really, truly, honestly curious, then I’m more than happy to engage in discussion with you.

    Atheists believe in what is true? I have still not been able to find out what atheists believe

    It’s very simple: atheists lack belief in deities. That’s all. Anything else is up for debate. Our common lack of belief is pretty much the only thing that unites us.

    Other than Christians hate them which is the cause of their lack of well-being.

    See, this is what makes me think you’re not sincere. We don’t all think that Christians hate us. Maybe some do, but I’m sure that most don’t. However, in the United States there is a tremendous bias against atheism. This may not be true in other countries, but many American atheists report unpleasant experiences and encounters with some Christians. It’s not all Christians, of course. I know tons of liberal and progressive Christians who are totally fine with the fact that I don’t believe in a god.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they ae endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” Do atheists believe this?

    We don’t believe in a supernatural creator, Stan. Otherwise, there’s nothing in that statement that I have a problem with. I can’t speak for other atheists, of course, but I doubt you will find too many Americans who disagree with the Declaration of Independence.

  • sailor

    “Well, I also think there’s a difference between “non-religious” and “secular humanist” or atheist. Those of us that have thought about it would probably score higher on the poll, unfortunately we’ve been lumped in with the everyday person that doesn’t feel attached to a church and hasn’t thought about it very much one way or the other.”

    I agree. This study is faulty and has little to do with religion, but more to to with people who belong to groups and have some kind of interactions with people.
    Did you know 7th day Adventists live longer than the rest of us? Why, well they don’t drink and they don’t eat junk food. Just excluding alcoholics and junk-foodphiles could account for those results. It does not mean they are going to live longer than you.
    In this case the non religious groups includes those who are so dysfunctional that they cannot maintain relationships or even manage to get to church.
    Non religious here does not mean believing God, it is also based on church attendance etc.
    Atheists are just included in a negative sample here. This study’s definitions were chosen to make sure the religious came out on top.
    Note the non-religious group were about 30% of the group. We know that self-admitted atheists would be less than half that.
    There are lies dammed lies and statistics. But at least if you know the basics on statistics you can tell some of them.

  • Suedomsa

    Reality can sometimes be a bummer.

  • Kimpatsu

    I’m suspicious of polls like this one, not least because Christopher Hitchens recounts the tale of a Muslim who suffered a nervous breakdown because he had killed a jackal and was convinced his thoughtless act had condemned him to hell. Has Gallup looked into that?

  • Suedomsa

    @Kimpatsu

    Exactly. Polls are only as accurate as the demographic.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    The Gallup Organization was bought in 1988 by Donald and Jim Clifton of Selection Research Inc (SRI).

    Every year there is a competition for the Don Clifton Strengths Excellence Award, given to an institution of higher education. In 2009 it was awarded to Lee University, which describes itself as “Christ centered”. The president of Lee University, Paul Conn, has written 3 books on the Amway corporation, each of which is in essence a book length infomercial for Amway.

    Another finalist for the 2009 Don Clifton Strengths Excellence Award was Azusa Pacific University, an institution that proudly proclaims on their website: “As an evangelical community of disciples and scholars who embrace the historic Christian understanding of Scripture, Azusa Pacific University holds … that the full behavioral expression of sexuality is to take place within the context of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman.”

    Read more here: Push Polling for Jesus

  • muggle

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with have certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    As I’ve amended it, Stan, yes, I do. Not that it really matters. This is not the government’s charter that we live under. That would be the Constitution which contains no such reference. The Declaration of Independence was just the written declaration to break free of England to form their own nation — pretty much the declaration of war against England. The Constitution — which is void of any reference to any deity — is the governing document.

  • Pete

    Ryan Says:October 29th, 2010 at 11:21 am
    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one”

    -George Bernard Shaw

    Many folk who are intellectually disabled seem most often to be extremely happy about everything, and lots of the time almost live life without seeming to have so much as a care in the world either too, as if tomorrow isnt really any need to be worried about.

    Why wouldnt we expect much the same type thinking of many faithful folk who think maybe some fellow named Jesus will return just in the nick of time, and help create a new planet if really need be.

    And like many here also already pointed out atheists are hated and often dont even have the freedom to be honest about their disbelief without possibly being shunned and disowned by their own family and friends.

    This poll shows up the intellectually disabled delusion that exists within faith that lulls the believer into a stupor and a false sense of security.

    It shouldnt be something the faithful think they have any real good reason to be proud of.

  • Pete

    Jim Jones members most likely had what could be classed as healthy living behaviours too while they were still able to be breathing oxygen.Work environment seemed profitable,emotional health was such that even being in the face of death nothing much worried them .They might have scored high on this poll.

    But that doesnt do much to prove it was all so very sensible.

  • Liz

    Actually the “Very Religious” they are talking about is SPECIFICALLY the Jews ONLY and not Catholics Christians etc. as seen in this article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/08/gallup-jews-score-highest_n_806247.html. They are happy because they are faced with “comforting” belief that there is an imaginary omnipotent being looking into their lives and brains 24/7. They form communities based on “comforting” dogmas. Us atheists on the other hand rather get up and face the truth even though it’s a sad world out there. We rather face the cold hard truth rather than a lie. The brainwashed zombies are happy being zombies I agree.

  • zack

    You all do realize this is where negative atheist stereotypes pop up right? “Hurr durr those Christians only think they’re happier, they’re just dumb and I’m smart, so smart I’m miserable. But wait, the poll is wrong, the Christians are really miserable too.” Maybe they talk to you like they think you’re garbage because you talk to them like you think they’re garbage.
    You offer nothing positive to the world, this ‘cold, hard reality’ is that way because you choose to perpetuate it by being douchebags. Certainly the majority of comments in this section would support that conclusion.
    And if I were to take this as an accurate cross section of the atheist population I’d go ranting and raving how they’re all really terrible, prejudiced, judgmental people who think they’re a lot smarter than they really are. Just like when I have ultra-fundies breathing down my neck telling me I’m going to Hell because I don’t believe their speaking in ‘ancient lost languages’ when they flail everywhere if I were to just lump all Christians together I’d say they were all awful people.
    Maybe, just maybe you might want to try evaluating the worth of a human being by actually knowing them first. Everyone can be happy and everyone can be miserable. They’re equally capable. Just like everyone can be a good person or a horrible person, it’s their choice.
    It makes me sad to see so many of you playing the ‘they were mean to me, so I’ll be mean back’ like the vindictive sense of accomplishment it gives you proves something. How has that made your day at all better? Because, if it has you are absolutely sick in the head. Believer or not, everyone picks on someone for something and if you think it makes you one bit more worthwhile as a human being you are mistaken.
    Go volunteer at a soup kitchen or something if you really want to prove you’re the bigger person. It’ll probably help you feel good too.


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