This is a bit of an opinion piece really, but I aim to explore whether people are happier generally if they have religion in their life. Many experts say that the spiritual side of a person is of vital importance for their mental and even physical health, so I want to know if this is true, as much as it can be known.
Does a person need religion to be happy, or is it just a myth? What about society as a whole, would it operate less smoothly without religion, causing unhappiness in the process?
I think it was Karl Marx who said that religion is the opiate of the masses, but whatever it is, it certainly seems to be an important aspect of human civilization.
According to Wikipedia, there are about seven billion people in the world, and about two billion of them are Christian, or at least identify as being Christian.
About 1.5 billion are Muslim, and the next group is irreligion, which means both athiests and agnostics, at about 1.5 billion as well. I have a feeling that there are actually more people without religion than that, but lets have a look at one country in particular to try to work that out.
Denmark is apparently the happiest country in the world, according to the Oprah show, or based on some sort of random survey of a small group of people in each country in the world.
Based on a quick search on religion in Denmark, 31% of Danish citizens said they believe there is a God, 49% said they believe in some sort of higher power, or life force, and 19% said they don't believe in any sort of God or higher power of any kind. I don't know what the other 1% said, but I can guess.
The same Wikipedia page says that 80% of Danes belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which doesn't sound exactly right does it? According to the Oprah show, almost nobody is Christian in Denmark, it's just a tradition.
The country is a socialist country, where many people pay 50% of their wages on tax, which go towards the best schools, hospitals, child care, and employment programs that money can buy.
Socialism is a combination of communism and capitalism, but if you go by a pure definition of those words, every country in the world has a government with a combination of those two systems, with the exception of fuedalism.
Anyway, according to this study, Denmark is the happiest country, Zimbabwe is the least happiest, and according to the Wikipedia entry on the religion of Zimbabwe, they are probably more Christian than the Danish.
Does Religion Make You Happy?
I personally think that happiness comes from having a solid understanding of life, and how to live it, but also just having a good time, being nice to each other. That's all that religion really needs to do for me.
Sometimes you see Christians or Buddhists walking around with big smiles on their faces, but perhaps that's just because they made a conscious attempt to try to live right, and be happy.
Does a person need religion to be happy? No, there are many happy atheists, or people who aren't religious, it's more about the sort of life they live, a sense of community, family, and purpose, which doesn't necessarily require a religion.