December 25, 2007


Christmas brings joy � if you don�t buy into it: Study shows religion not shopping makes you happy as gift-giving declines amongst friends (Jenifer Johnston and Mona McAlinden, 07 December 2003, Sunday Herald)

A new academic study has found that those who celebrate the Christian trappings of Christmas feel far better than those who worship at the altar of crass materialism.

�Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier,� says Dr Stephen Joseph of the University of Warwick, who carried out the survey.

Joseph marked his interviewees on what made them optimistic, unhappy and stressed. �We used a general sample of people � some were rich, some poor, some religious, some not. People who strive for materialistic things at the expense of other intrinsic things such as friends or family were the unhappiest. Christmas straddles both sides of the problem � you are buying a lot of material things and overlooking the Christian message.�

On the streets yesterday there was little sign that shoppers would take that message to their hearts. After a reportedly slow start, the build up to Christmas seems to be gathering steam.

Yes, well, the cost of being happy is far higher than the cost of stuff, isn't it? You have to believe in that purpose higher than yourself.

(Originally posted: 12/07/03)

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2007 12:00 AM

Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier, says Dr Stephen Joseph of the University of Warwick, who carried out the survey."

Wow! This is so exciting. A university, a Ph.d, a survey, a control group, statistics, etc. This, friends, is the voice of SCIENCE, and it has just proven religious people have a sense of purpose. Wait 'til I tell Mom!

Posted by: Peter B at December 7, 2003 2:18 PM

Mr. Judd;

As Peter points out, the basic thesis here is not what one would call surprising. On the other hand, one should be careful to distinguish cause and effect. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with giving gifts at Christmas. It's when that is an end and not a means that you have a problem.

Or could it be even simpler, that those who buy gifts to make the recipients happy are happier than those who buy gifts to make themselves happy? But, of course, the former are people who believe in a purpose higher than themselves.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 7, 2003 2:42 PM

Another one of those false dichotomies. You can have friends and cool stuff at the same time. Besides, what do you think is keeping this economy alive? As productivity increases by leaps and bounds, we gotta keep buying more stuff just to keep people employed. Don't think that you are doing anyone a favor by not spending money.

I'm just glad that Christians are such a minority in this country. Just imagine what would happen if they became, like, 80% of the population. All that delf-denying virtue would kill our economy.

Wait.. scratch that last sentence.

Posted by: Robert D at December 7, 2003 10:23 PM