Thursday, December 9, 2010

Religious Happiness Comes from Community Feeling

Here's a church, just in case you've never
seen one before. From the National Center.
Such a busy week! I've barely had time to think, let alone read the news. All right, let me check my calendar. Any more screenings? No. Any big Hollywood meetings? No. Ho hum, I guess it's just a regular old day then. Good! I needed one of those.

Okay, let's see if I still remember how to do the news:  the USA Today reports on a new study that links religious happiness to feelings of community. Researchers have long known that religious people tend to be happier, but whether that happiness comes from the sense of community that places of worship encourage or from the spiritual experience itself was a mystery. This study seems to point to the first option.

Chaeyoon Lim of the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied data taken from the 2006-2007 Faith Matters Study. When comparing people who attend church at similar intervals, yet have different levels of friendship within the church, he found that people with more friends have almost double the happiness as those without any friends within the church. In face, "90% of the correlation between church attendance and life satisfaction can be explained if you have these close interactions," says Lim.

You can read the article for a breakdown of the different friendship groups and their happiness levels. This study gathered data from all major Christian and Jewish denominations, but not other religions because of a small sample size.


  1. Bahaha, well you have to remember that America has a Puritanical feeling about it, so anything emotions relating to church may be exaggerated for a lot of people. That, plus a lot of these happiness studies do seem pretty obvious, but the results DO often go against common sense, so it's still worthwhile to look at, just to be sure!