Are religious people happier? Studies have shown that God-fearing folks tend to have higher self-esteem than nonbelievers, but new research published in the January issue of Psychological Science adds some nuance. It shows that religious belief is linked to high self-esteem only in countries that emphasize religious belief.
Researchers at three European universities looked at the religious beliefs and self-esteem of users of an online dating service across 11 countries, from the devoutly Catholic Poland to the world’s least religious country, Sweden.
The analysis showed that in religious countries, self-esteem was higher among believers than nonbelievers. That was consistent with previous research. But in countries where religion is not central to the culture, the self-esteem of religious people was lower than that of nonbelievers.
The researchers offered a possible explanation for their finding: Religious people feel better about themselves in religious countries not because they’re religious, but simply because they fit in with the crowd.
Read the whole story: Huffington Post