People raised to be devout Catholics, Christians, or members of other religions are often made aware from a young age that the teachings bestowed on them are very important to their development and growth because they will ultimately lead to the happiness everyone seeks in life. It was long-believed that an association with religion would lead to a more fulfilling existence than living as an atheist or agnostic. However, a recent study and article came out with data suggesting that a devout attachment to any belief (religious, atheistic, or otherwise) resulted in higher satisfaction than just a loose practice of some form of religion.
Patrick Madrid spoke on the article, saying that polls don’t prove very much one way or the other. Studies stating that Christians are happier than atheists don’t mean anything and vice versa. He encouraged his listeners to interpret these studies as they are: polls that survey the personal interpretation of satisfaction.
“If you’re ‘happier’ and you don’t believe in God, alright. That’s great. Good for you. But what does that prove? It doesn’t prove anything. Other than maybe, for a given person or a given group of people in a given country, conditions [may] prevail more in the direction of being happier if you are part of the bigger herd of people who believe in God,” said Patrick in response to the fact that Americans typically score higher because of the historically large religious population.
“Or maybe you live in an atheistic country where the majority of people don’t believe in God, so if you fit in better because you don’t believe in God, ok. But ultimately, it doesn’t really prove anything. It certainly doesn’t prove that God exists or doesn’t exist. Far from it.” The article had resulted in the hasty response from some of its atheist readers who felt validated that their religious choice was just as fulfilling. But Patrick wanted to make it clear that this was far from assurance that neither atheism nor Christianity was bolstered by such data. Instead, it was more indicative of what type of society you were living in and what you deemed to consider “happiness”.
It is impossible to consider everybody’s personal interpretation of “happiness” or “satisfaction,” so we should find it very difficult to rely on statistics that make such bold statements. While some may be “satisfied” with wayward or misguided choices, decisions, or priorities, St. Augustine tells us: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
Listen to the full talk below:
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays from 8am – 11am CT only on Relevant Radio.