Saturday, March 04, 2006

Does being Devout make you feel Happy?

Here's a very interesting link that discusses the results of an Opinion Poll on the levels of Happiness among Americans.

One of the results is particularly startling -

People who worship frequently are happier than those who don't.

One would definitely not expect this to be the case in India, where the poor and the lower middle classes are far more pious than the well-to-do. Given the positive correlation that exists between affluence and happiness, it can be categorically stated that in India, the unbelievers are far happier than the devoutly religious.

What could possibly account for this discrepancy? Could it be because of the nature of the respective religions in these countries? Protestant Christianity, with its moral certitude and simplistic teachings, probably offers greater solace to Americans, than does Hinduism, a religion (if you can call it that) that revels in ambiguity and philosophical speculation, to Indians!

The finding is certainly disturbing from an American perspective, as becoming an agnostic/atheist would imply being less happy!!
Thankfully, Indians don't seem to be facing such a predicament.


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