Sunday Sermon: Trends with benefits

One of the bogus arguments offered in favor of religion is the old “if it makes people happy …” line. They cite studies showing that religious people are happier or more content or find life more fulfilling or some such thing, and then suggest that this is somehow an argument in favor of the truth of the religious proposition, rather than merely a benefit of believing something that may very well be false.

But a new study by some folks at my alma mater suggests that even the psychological benefits of religion may just be the same as the benefits of any sort of group affiliation. The study finds that “it is the social aspects of religion rather than theology or spirituality that leads to life satisfaction.” So maybe it’s not about feeling plugged in to some higher power, or perceiving life to have some special purpose, or even just having something to believe in, but rather, it’s just about having other people to believe it with.

I can’t help but think of this Onion article from years back: “Recently Born-Again Christian Finally Has Social Life”.

(pic captured from Atheist Empire)

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by agnosticpastor on January 16, 2012 at 8:01 am

    You know, that makes a lot of sense. People do have this innate desire to belong and religion offers that. But, the experience I’ve had is that to be a part of the ‘church group’, you have to jump through a lot of hoops and perform the way the religion dictates. Too many strings attached for me! I’m still in church and in ministry, but I’m hoping to be able to walk away soon! I’m a part of a group now called The Clergy Project. I’ve found real community through this group without all the religious crap attached.
    One other note, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts!



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