More Than Sunshine Makes Me Happy

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…” I’ve had that chorus from a John Denver song stuck in my head since yesterday. This particular tune floated into my mind after I read a study that studied the effects of various things of people’s long-term happiness.   

The results: religious people are the happiest people.


The study was done by researchers from the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The article ran in The Washington Post on August 14. 


Working with charities, learning new things, and being involved in politics were all well and good, but religion had the most lasting effect. I thought it was an interesting study and one that proved something I have felt for a long time—God fills in the blanks in our lives like nothing else can.


At the same time, I can hear the arguments from the other side. It’s part of my nature to question and, unfortunately, one of my biggest faults is that I generally feel that what I believe isn’t good enough so I am always ready for a fight. I can hear objections like, “Religious people are simple, not scientific, that’s why they are happy,” or “Religious people use God as a crutch, that’s why they are happy,” or “Religious people are fanatics and they get wrapped up in their fanaticism so that’s why their happy.” 


 And maybe some people are. But I’d say it is a small minority. There is a quote in the Bible from the book of James, and it says, “”What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. …”


I think that religion is so powerful and makes people happy because it’s not just a “sometimes” thing, but it encompasses every part of your life and how you view life. It even affects how you view charity, learning and politics. It’s everything. 


What do you think of the study? Please share—and be respectful in your answers. I know this is a hot topic. 


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