Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Drunks are happier too

Kirsti was watching Oprah just now, and the guest was Montel Williams. I was reading comics, but I did overhear much of it. For the most part, it was pretty interesting, as he was talking about dealing with M.S.

One thing struck me though was his comments on how this has changed him spiritually. He pointed out how psychology has proven that generally speaking, people with a spiritual side tend to be happier than those who don't have one, and a spiritual side is essential when dealing with this sort of a thing.

Well, he is basically right. However, this isn't to say that there aren't any faithless people who are also happy. Also, there are plenty of miserable people who are believers. Still, his point is the same.

These kinds of things make me think though. First of all, even if this is true, it still doesn't have any bearing on the veracity of spiritual and religious claims. Second of all, what exactly should a person like me do if I ever find myself with a debilitating illness? How do I just make myself believe? How do I believe in something that I don't actually believe? Is it possible to engage in cognitive dissonance when you know what cognitive dissonance is? Especially when you already learned to conquer it?

Oh well, if it works for some people, then more power to them, I guess. I just wish that humanity could work on happiness without the delusions.


Matthew said...

I'm not convinced that religious people are more happy than atheists, given that atheists and agnostics combined make up about 2% of the US population. Granted, it's not my field, but I've never seen a good study on this. There may be a correlation between how active a person is in a church and their relative happiness, but that's something else entirely.

Secondly, my skin crawls when people say somehting like, "science has proven" because it's usually followed by a false statement. In this case, if he actually said the word, "essential" then that has real meaning, and I highly doubt that faith is essential for surviving a debilitating disease.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

It's probably not the exact quote, but I'm confident that I got the gist right.

Ingrid said...

What is spiritual anyway? I also don't think that people who believe are happier. I even think that some people who claim to be believers are unhappy or disappointed because they are waiting for Jesus to come, and he is taking his time. All in all, there are not too many truly happy people around one way or the other. Some are just better at pretending.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

What is spiritual? That's a good question, as I sort of wonder it myself.

And yeah, Jesus is taking his time. 2000 years and people think it'll happen any minute now. I wonder if they'll still think that in another 1000 years.