The Real Reason Religious People Are Happier
It's not because of God...
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 10:50 AM CST
These people are probably happy because they have friends.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – It's relationships with people—not God—that make religious people happy, a new study suggests. While several studies have shown that when it comes to life satisfaction, the devout are more satisfied than nonbelievers, the latest findings show that's because of the social network they build at church. "We think it has something to do with the fact that you meet a group of close friends on a regular basis, together as a group, and participate in certain activities that are meaningful to the group," a researcher tells LiveScience.

Researchers questioned American adults in 2006 and again in 2007; about 28% of those who attended religious services weekly described themselves as "extremely satisfied" with their lives, while only 19.6% of those who didn't attend services gave the same answer. But what the satisfaction was tied to was telling: Church-goers with more than 10 church friends were nearly twice as satisfied as those with no friends in their congregation. And while secular people with a higher number of friendships were also happier, those friendships didn't boost life satisfaction as much as religious friendships.