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How Religion Promotes Happiness

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Individuals that strive to engage and adhere to religious seminars are more inclined towards maintaining a quality state of wellbeing. Occupying similar outlooks usually allows individuals to associate with one another and hence form communities hence, promoting social development. Religions provide guidelines and a framework for people to contribute towards moral actions, which in turn, may stimulate the establishment of a charity based event as the community bonds together. The principles that religions carry out are still prevalent in today’s society and has also promoted the initiation of global corporations. The notions that religion results in happiness are reflected in Pew’s research which examined the welfare of several individuals from various countries and concluded that those who carried a religious belief to some extent, were generally more contented opposed to those who were unaffiliated.

Pew Research Centre is a “nonprofit” and nonpartisan” research facility that aims at exploring the controversies or beliefs that alter our interactions and perceptions of one another. Within the research, they categorised people into “Actively Religious” individuals who attended any seminars at least once a month, “Inactively Religious” individuals who recognise themselves as carrying religious faith, however, attends assemblies less frequently and “Unaffiliated Religious” individuals who don’t carry religious incentives.

Religion is often recognised as a set of beliefs tethered together to form a structure that followers can look up and act. These precepts often encourage an individual to act virtuously when in interactions with others which can assist their social development. Buddhism, for example, encourages its devotees to be “ strong in their faith and to speak the truth”. Its Eightfold path to Nirvana, also inclines its followers to abstain speaking falsely or abusively, instead, with equanimity and composure. Christianity also carries resembling principles as seen in Hebrews 13:1-5 which states that our community must “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters” and to demonstrate “hospitality to strangers”. This behaviour often allows Buddhists and Christians to form greater relationships with one another and develop socially whilst maintaining a tranquil mindset. A study carried by Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at the Harvard medical school, delved into the lives of 724 men of varying status to identify factors that influenced their state of happiness for 74 years. Their results concluded that “people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to the community are happier. They’re physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected.”. This indicates that the guidance provided by Buddhism regarding social development ensures that an individual has a quality state of wellbeing as they sustain powerful, positive relationships. Christian Today’s statement is validated through the research demonstrating how religions ethics promotes happiness.

Socialisation between those who carry similar outlooks also allows for the establishment of communities which can expand and encourage engagement of its members. Communities are evidently based around religions such as Christianity and Buddhism where those occupying synonymous perspectives can form relationships. These communities allow people to all act in conjunction and partake in activities such as meditation or study. The study taken by Pew found that within the US, there was a correlation between individuals belonging to a community/ organisation and their state of happiness. Those who interacted more with their peers or were open-minded tended to occupy a quality state of wellbeing which is reflected in Pews Research as countries in which religious individuals contributed to seminars tended to be happier.

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Several religions usually consist of ethics in which the followers are encouraged to adhere to as it allows the individual to act virtuously whilst possessing composure. Common ethical teachings within the Old Testament in Christianity is the Ten Commandments which provide an insight into the framework of life by dictating the actions that an individual must adhere to in order to live out a reposeful life. Commandments 1-4 refers to how a follower must “Love your God with your whole heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:36-40) whereas the remaining refer to what actions one must abstain from. The Beatitudes also provides resembling ideas on how strengthening relationships with God assures salvation for an individual. A similar approach is also employed throughout Buddhism through the application of the Five Precepts which aims at encouraging a positive demeanour and avoiding the “three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance”. The Eightfold Path to reach Nirvana allows devotees to seek wisdom and mental discipline allowing them to perceive their surroundings with greater insight. When conformed to, both Christianities and Bhuddisms ethics, an individual would develop self-independence and management over their life as they are encouraged to act morally. Christian Today’s outlook is, therefore, reinforced as those who require assistance would be able to follow the guidelines of religion and benefit mentally as well as develop social relationships, thus, improving their wellbeing.

Health is a major, contributing factor to the quality state of wellbeing within an individual and religion may play a vital role in maintaining it. Several religions condemn the act of smoking or drinking as they perceive it as an act of escape from reality, it may disrupt their relationship with God as they forget prayer and it may distort one’s intellect resulting in a depleting state of wellbeing. Christianity encourages its followers to abstain from any sinful behaviour regarding intoxication as “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. The bible also states that “it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble” indicating that any action which may distort relationships, such as intoxication, should be restrained. Buddhism occupies a similar outlook as Precept Five and the Eightfold path mentions that one must abstain from intoxicants and drugs that distort the mind. Pews research has concluded that religion may be a vital role in the behaviour of individuals. Within Australia, 96% of citizens were found to be “Actively Religious” and not partake in smoking compared to the 83% who didn’t affiliate with religion and avoids substance abuse. Statistics regarding drinking provided similar conclusions as 96% of religious individuals abstained from drinking compared to the 87% non-religious people. A study carried out by the Oxford Academic Nicotine and Tobacco Research examined 236 individuals on their journey to resolve issues concerning tobacco abuse and those who succeeded were found to possess a quality state of wellbeing in comparison to those who continued. Chrisitan Today’s statement is supported as when steered by religion, individuals are often directed to a path that abstains from any action that may harm their cognitive or physical health resulting in a greater condition of happiness.

Religion has stimulated the gesture of giving through its guidelines and ethics that functions as a framework that individuals are encouraged to apply to stimulate happiness. The establishment of several charities has been heavily dependant on the virtues proposed by major religions such as Christianity. The Bible affirms that one must “feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your (their) light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you (them) will be as bright as noon.” Isaiah 58:10 indicating that an individual would develop mentally as they give. Buddhism approaches charity with a similar attitude, as it promotes social interaction with love and compassion with Dana, a concept where one voluntarily gives wisdom or materials for those in need. Several charities that have been erected as a result of ethical notions work towards sheltering and providing aid in any form as “whoever in your kingdom is poor, to him let some help be given.” Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta. The foundations of charities such as St Vincent De Paul are heavily dependant on Catholicism as aspires to serve the helpless individuals through provisions of love, respect and hope. Regarding Buddhism, the Karuna Trust is another operating charity within India that aims at encouraging the development of skills and confidence for those confronted with extreme poverty. Thousands of these organisations have been initiated such as World Vision, Tzu Chi Foundation, Salvation Army, Australian Buddhist Foundation, and several others. A study carried by the Harvard Business school, “Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior”, concluded that those who were stimulated to donate more were often confronted to an increased feeling of “altruism and feelings of competence”. As a result, an individuals state of wellbeing is improved when contributing to a charity which reinforces Christian Today’s statement. Charities prospering nowadays are heavily dependant on religious principles and the happiness of communities and individuals can be sparked when engagement is made.

Religion has benefitted those who adhere to its ethics than those who are unaffliated through several factors such as the encouragement of social interactions with positive behaviours or the establishment of charitable events. Religion plays an essential role in promoting the wellbeing of individuals and communities as demonstrated by Catholic Today’s statement which is aided by research within scientific and religious fields.

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How Religion Promotes Happiness. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
“How Religion Promotes Happiness.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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How Religion Promotes Happiness [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Mar 22]. Available from:
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