A recent study found that actively religious individuals tend to be happier than those who are not religious.
The study conducted by Pew Research defined actively religious as those who identify with a religious group and attend services at least once a month.
The study found that regular participation in a religious community is “clearly” linked with higher levels of happiness and civic engagement. It found that 36 percent of actively religious U.S. adults describe themselves as “very happy,” compared with only 25 percent of inactive and unaffiliated Americans.
Long Beach State provides opportunities for students of all religions to get involved with over 30 faith-based clubs on campus.
Junior political science major Alex Garcia, who attends church every week, saids his Christian faith gives him “purpose.”
“Whenever I’m struggling with something – school, family, relationships – I don’t put it all on myself,” Garcia said “I turn to God, and that’s how I stay happy.”
Catherine Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College delivered a speech in which she explained this phenomenon. Sanderson saids religious beliefs “give people a sense of meaning,” as well as a sense of “well-being or comfort.”
Senior communication studies major Angela Perez said despite her atheist beliefs, she is still happy and finds her sense of purpose through wanting to “make the world a better place.”
“I don’t believe in God, but of course I have so many unanswered questions about life,” Perez said.
According to the Pew study, 54 percent of U.S. atheists said they feel a “sense of wonder” about the universe as opposed to 45 percent of U.S. Christians.
Senior business major Julian Torres said he feels “much happier” being religious than he felt when he had no religious beliefs.
“I was lost and angry before I found God, so I would say being religious has made me a better person,” Torres said. “I never feel alone anymore.”