A new study suggests that people with a religious identity, such as those who are atheist or agnostic, are more likely to have lower life satisfaction than their peers who are not religious.
Al Jazeera English: “I think it’s important to look at the bigger picture and think about what drives these people, and why,” said Richard Wiseman, who led the research and is a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan.
He explained that people who have a religious orientation tend to be highly conscientious, while those who aren’t are more often driven by a sense of self-importance.
“I think the most interesting thing about religion is its influence on people’s beliefs and attitudes, and I think that we can actually see that influence in these data, that people tend to have a much higher level of religiosity than nonreligious people,” he said.
Wiseman’s research, which was published in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, examined whether religiosity and life satisfaction differ among religious people.
The researchers looked at data from a large US survey that asked participants to rate their religious orientation, their level of self confidence, and their level and level of social and political engagement.
The survey also asked participants about their level in terms of how closely they related to religious groups, how much they consider themselves religious, and how they consider religiousness to be important.
Results showed that those with a strong religious orientation were more likely than their nonreligious peers to say they believed in God and to report a greater sense of religiousness, according to the study.
“If you look at this data, it shows that religious people are more highly educated, and that they are more socially engaged, and they have a sense that they’re part of something bigger than themselves,” Wiseman said.
“There are some important questions here.
Do religious people have higher life satisfaction and a higher level than their less religious peers?
And, do they have higher levels of religinity, or a sense?”
There’s also this idea that religiosity is a trait, and you don’t necessarily have to be a religious person to have high levels of it.
“According to the authors, religiosity in a sense reflects an individual’s belief that they belong to a group or have a right to exist in a group, which in turn may be reflected in one’s social and personal lives.”
The more religious people, the less religious they feel, and the more their life is constrained, the more they are not in control of their lives,” Wisemen said.
But Wiseman cautioned that religiousness may be more about a person’s level of attachment to a specific religion than it is about the way that one’s beliefs are expressed.”
It’s also important to remember that people may not be religious just because they have faith, and maybe that’s the case for some people,” Wisemans said.
The research also found that atheists and agnostics were more satisfied than religious people with their lives, but that atheists were less satisfied than non-religious people.”
We find a relationship between religiosity levels and life values, but we also find that atheists have lower levels of life satisfaction,” Wisman said.
Allegations that atheists are “lone wolves”In his book, The Moral Landscape: The Rise and Decline of Religion, sociologist Daniel Hamermesh argued that atheists should be considered a minority group within the broader US population, as they are less likely to identify as Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus.
But he did note that in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2011, one-third of atheists were religious, compared to less than a third of Christians.”
They are a small minority, but they are also a very significant minority, and as a result of that, they are a very, very important group within American society,” Wisema said.
He said the rise of atheism and agnostic groups has coincided with a rise in religiosity, with more Americans identifying as atheists in recent years.”
What we see is that a lot of Americans, when they are younger, they see atheism as an idea,” Wisemi said.
In addition to the rise in atheism, religious people were also found to be more likely and more satisfied with their own lives.
People who identify as agnostic were found to have higher rates of life happiness than other religious groups.”
Agnostics are highly satisfied and they are very concerned about their lives.
They are very proud of their religion, and so they’re very motivated to do well,” Wiseme said.