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Table of Contents:

1.  Article:  "Religion Brings Greater Happiness"  (and my comments on said article)

2.  Article:  "Secret of Finding Happiness Explained"  (and my comments on said article)

3.  Link to the TRUE way to find happiness (at bottom)


Foreword to the article


Foreword to "Religion Brings Greater Happiness"

(by me, Leon)

The Title of the Article misleads the reader and is grossly irresponsible.  It is NOT Religion that brings greater happiness... read on... and find out what it is that brings greater happiness.

Note: the entire article does not appear here, only an excerpt of it.  I would link to the original article (and I did), but it is gone now.  It was published on WebMD's website.


The genuine article


Relgion Brings Greater Happiness

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD
on Thursday, December 11, 2003 

Joseph's study seeks a recipe for happiness, looking beyond religious faith, which other studies have shown is one ingredient. He looks at self-actualization and purpose in life, too. 

His study appears in this month's issue of the journal Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 

Meaning = Happiness 

In it, Joseph publishes information gleaned from 101 undergraduate students between ages 18 and 49. Each completed surveys that measured their attitudes toward Christianity, whether they felt a purpose in life, and if they had made strides toward that goal. 

Those scoring high in religious beliefs -- who went to church regularly, had a strong religious faith, and prayed often -- also scored high in happiness and purpose in life. 

"We're not saying that all religious people are happier than non-religious people," Joseph tells WebMD. "It's just that, on average, religious people tend to be happier because they have a greater sense of purpose in life." 

Actually, a spiritual path outside of organized religion works in the pursuit of happiness, too. "Religion is only one path to sense of purpose," he says. 


SOURCES: Joseph, S. Mental Health, Religion, & Culture; vol 2: pp 117-120. Stephen Joseph, PhD, University of Warwick, England. James H. Bray, PhD, associate professor of family and community medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. 

© 2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.


Commentary (on previous article)


Comments on the above article (by me, Leon)

I used to be in a relgion, went to church every Sunday, had a definite sense of purpose, but was I happy?  NO.  However, had someone outside the religion asked me if I were happy, I'd have answered, "Yes", because we were supposed to be happy.  We were told by our elders that we were happy, because we had a stronger sense of purpose than others.  We were almost brainwashed to believe that we were happy, eventhough we weren't.  That's the problem with research based upon surveys.  People sometimes prevaricate (eventhough there is anonymity, AND although they may not lie intentionally).  I never found true happiness from religion.  I was always waiting for happiness to come, but it never came.

I agree that having a sense of purpose might increase happiness to a certain extent, but it won't bring the true rapture that Christains are waiting for (and many never experience).


Next :  Foreword


Foreword to "Secret of Finding Happiness Explained"

(by Leon)

The Secret of Finding Happiness is no secret.  The ancient sages have already told us how to find happiness.  The problem is few people actually understand the message.  Since very few people understand the message, it seems like a secret.  This article, however, does little to unveil the seemly cryptic way to happiness.  You'll see what I mean... read on.

Note: the entire article does not appear here, only an excerpt of it.  I would link to the original article (and I did), but it is gone now.  It was published on WedMD's website.


The genuine article


Secret of Finding Happiness Explained

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Monday, August 25, 2003 

New research provides evidence to support the old adage, "You can't buy happiness." It suggests that people will find happiness by focusing more on family life and health issues and less on career and financial pursuits. 

Happiness Explained 

Researcher Richard Easterlin, an economist at the University of California, argues that a new approach to finding happiness is needed that combines the two prevailing theories of happiness in psychology and economics.

...the psychological view of happiness:

each individual is born with their own setpoint for happiness that's determined by personality and genetics. Life events, such as marriage, loss of a job, and serious injury or disease, can temporarily raise or lower a person's level of happiness above or below this predetermined level, but they will eventually return to the original level. 

...the economic "more is better" view of happiness:

life circumstances and the growth of income have lasting effects on happiness.

...Easterlin's view of happiness:

a reallocation of time in favor of family life and health would, on average, increase individual happiness.


SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aug. 25, 2003. 

© 2003 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.




Comments on the above article (by me, Leon)

Easterlin (if you read the whole article) does well in explaining why the psychological & economic views don't work.  He does NOT say why his view does work.  This is what I want to know... why does focusing on family and health make one happier, if it does in deed do so?

The problems with research, like the one above, is that there are so many possible interpretations of the research.  There are a plethora of variables which may have contributed to the results of the research.

Maybe, just maybe, finding happiness in family/health came first, by chance, BEFORE the actual focus on such things.  Maybe focusing on family/health matters is secondary to finding happiness.  What I mean is: happiness found them, rather than they finding happiness.  Maybe those people who found more happiness from family/health did so, because they followed the TAO.

I'd bet my last quarter that not all those who focus on family and health matters, find happiness therein (I certainly didn't).  In fact, some people don't want families, because they do not find the notion of having one a happy one.  (I wanted a family so badly it hurt.  Yet, when I finally got one, it turned out to be only painful, and extremely painful at that).

Easterlin is grasping at straws.  He hasn't hit the nail on the head yet.  Happiness is not to be found in any particular exterior thing, because everyone is different, and everyone has different likes, wants, desires.  For one person, chocolate chip ice cream might make him/her happy, and for another cookies 'n cream.  Thus, some people may find happiness in focusing on family and others might not.


Why is it so hard for people to find happiness?

See my essay on "The Road to Happiness

and/or see my "TAO" page (The WAY to happiness)!







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