Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Heaven knows why we are all miserable now, say the Christian MPs

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The primary cause of unhappiness in Britain is not lack of material wealth but a loss of faith in God and religion, a group of MPs says today. In a new report on wellbeing, a crossparty group of Christian MPs echoes concerns raised by the Conservative leader, David Cameron, who has emphasised repeatedly the importance of action to improve society’s sense of “wellbeing”. They say that the Christian voice is not being respected properly because it comes across too often as “negative”.

Steve Webb, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “Over the years, many of us who are MPs rooted in the Christian community have been concerned that our voice in the public square can come across as being too negative.

“We are easily identified by what we are against, but less clear what we are for.” He said that, despite material wealth, society lacked a sense of wellbeing. He argued that this had been caused by the erosion of religious values.

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Free time outranks wealth in happiness survey

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Wealth may be playing less of a role in Americans’ pursuit of happiness, according to results from a Pew Research Center survey.

Thirteen percent of 2,413 respondents in a survey earlier this year said being wealthy was “very important” to them, according to a survey posted Wednesday on the Pew Research Center’s Web site. Other opinion choices were “somewhat important” or “not very important.” It ranked last among seven statements of priority such as living a religious life, doing volunteer work, donating to charity or being married.

Nearly 70% of respondents said “hav[ing] enough free time to do things you want to do” was very important, the Web site said. This received the largest amount of very important votes. Having children and being successful in a career ranked second with 61% of respondents saying these were very important to them.

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The politics of happiness

Thursday, May 1st, 2008


Last week I posted on the happiness difference between conservatives and liberals. Non-partisan survey data clearly show a large, persistent “happiness gap” favoring the political right.

Lots of readers weighed in, offering explanations for these data patterns. Here were their most frequent explanations:

1. Conservatives and liberals have different lifestyles, particularly regarding religion and marriage, which explains why conservatives are happier.

2. Conservatives have a world-view that — right or wrong — lends itself to greater happiness.

3. Brooks is an untrustworthy fool.

While #3 might be meritorious, let’s leave it aside and just focus on explanation #1 here and #2 in the next post.

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Religious Americans and Older Americans Are Happier

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

[...] People who describe themselves as “very religious” are among the happiest of people. Those who say they are “very religious” come in ten points higher than America as a whole on the Happiness Index (45% compared to 35% are considered “very happy”). In contrast, just over one-quarter (28%) of people who describe themselves as “not religious” were measured at that level of happiness.

A similar difference is noted among people who say they “pray or study religion at home” on a daily basis compared to less often. Over four in ten people (43%) who engage in “daily” prayer or religious study are very happy. In comparison, just over one-quarter (28%) of people who “never” pray or study religion at home have a comparable happiness level.

[...] Ethics also appears to affect happiness levels. Just under four in ten people (37%) who are “never or rarely pressured to act unethically” are very happy according to the Index. Only about one-quarter (26%) who are pressured to act unethically “all the time” or “often” are very happy according to the Index.

[...] Older people tend to be happier according to the Happiness Index. Less than one in three (29%) in the 18 to 24 age bracket are very happy according to the survey, compared to almost one-half (47%) of people age 65 and older. The survey results also show a clear trend in increasing happiness between those two age groups.[...]

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Don’t Worry, Be Moderately Happy, Research Suggests

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Could the pursuit of happiness go too far?  Most self-help books on the subject offer tips on how to maximize one’s bliss, but a new study suggests that moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation.

The researchers, from the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, looked at data from the World Values Survey, a large-scale analysis of economic, social, political and religious influences around the world. They also analyzed the behaviors and attitudes of 193 undergraduate students at Illinois.

Their findings challenge the common assumption that all measures of well-being go up as happiness increases. While many indicators of success and well-being do correspond to higher levels of happiness, the researchers report, those at the uppermost end of the happiness scale (people who report that they are 10s on a 10-point life satisfaction score) are in some measures worse off than their slightly less elated counterparts.

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Hint for happiness: stop complaining. :)

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Will Bowen takes “uncomplaining” to an extreme. Bowen doesn’t gripe about anything, ever. A reporter asks, “How are you doing?” “Great!” he answers. “Can’t complain.” Really? You can’t complain? What do you do when your car breaks down? “I call the mechanic and ask him to fix my car.” How about when something terrible and unfair happens for no reason? Everything happens for a reason, Bowen responds. “Absolutely. In my theology, that’s what I believe.” When he climbs into the pulpit of his church in Kansas City, Mo., each Sunday, he shouts, “God is good!” and the congregation shouts back, “All the time!”

Complaining has become such an automatic response to life’s little setbacks that people don’t even realize they’re doing it, Bowen says…

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