[Edit: The number of search results have changed as this blog and the comments are now indexed in google]
I saw a blog a minute ago which uttered a common sentiment – that the writer was happier as an atheist than they ever were as a believer. Now I know everyone is different, one man’s heaven is another’s hell etc and I’m sure there are people who are miserable as non-believers (at least for a time) and people who are miserable with their faith, and everything in between. But I was tempted to do a little google experiment and the results surprised me.
I googled “I am happier as an atheist” in quotes, and got:
About 530 results (0.24 seconds)
And then “I am happier as a christian”:
“I am happier as a muslim”
“I am happier as a buddhist”
“I am happier as a theist”
“I am happier believing in god”
2 results (0.20 seconds)
I googled “I am less happy as an atheist” and the only hit I got was someone whose religious family made them hide their beliefs, thus making them miserable.
There are roughly 37 times as many people in america who self-identify as christians in america as there are who self-identify as atheists, but there were 88.3 times as many atheists expressing that they were happier after losing faith than there were people saying they were happier after becoming christian. That is a pretty astonishing thing.
And it’s even more interesting when you actually read the results. Most of the “I am happier as a christian” comments are not even talking about conversion. Of the 6 results, 3 are talking about conversion to christianity, two are a duplicate of someone saying they’re happier as a christian than they were growing up in a jewish family, and the last is someone saying “I am happier as a Christian than I could ever be anything else.” Whereas in the atheist results every one is expounding upon reasons why they are happier to be a non-believer.
I honestly had no idea what the results would be. Conventional wisdom tells us that believers are happier than non-believers, and when polled believers often say they are happier and fewer say they are depressed. But polls often don’t tell the whole story, and maybe this conventional wisdom isn’t true.
Either way this isn’t an attack on believers, I was just amazed by my accidental findings and thought it noteworthy.
Rec’ if you found it interesting too. And tell us, if you are a former atheist, theist, satan worshipper, whatever – are you happier now than you were then? Don’t just give lip service, be honest!