Reading through Truemors (one of my favourite interesting news aggregator sites) this afternoon I came across a headline for a a BBC news report which claims that religious people lead happier lives. As a therefore "desperately unhappy atheist :D" I decided to check it out.

Believing in God Makes You Happier

Are you happy? If so, the chances are you probably believe in God. New research is now proving what many have known for centuries and that is, belief in God, leads to a more contented life. Believers have a sense of meaningful purpose in their lives, which allows them to go through difficult times with ease. However, believing in God is one thing and experiencing God is another. Then again, there are those who think that organized religion damages people, after all remember religion is man made, but God isn’t.

And my quickie response:

The fact that religion has a consoling effect on people still does nothing to prove whether it’s true or not. A more interesting question to explore should be: what is is about the human mind that requires the belief in myths or holding faith without evidence to be happy? Is there a psychological reason? Is it just pack mentality and a sense of belonging? I don’t think any of us fully know the answer yet.

For what it’s worth: people who drink excessively and smoke marijuana report greater happiness during their binges… does that therefore make them healthy and their activities should therefore be emulated? Are non drinkers and non smokers therefore less happy?

My 2 cents.

I just genuinely feel concern when I see people attempting to justify an activity on the basis that it makes people feel good. It's unethical and the potential for it to be used against innocent people is too high.

Another example of this would be in a hospital setting: would you want your doctor to lie about a potentially life threatening condition on the basis that it would make you feel better? Is the fact that it's untrue less of a concern then?

Pretty scary stuff. I'm off for a coffee.