Monday, March 24, 2008

Who's Happier - Believers or Atheists?

I remember one day I was teaching in a high school here in the Czech Republic and I spoke to the students about priorities. I thought it would be good for them to evaluate the priorities in their lives and provide an opportunity for me to share what my priorities are. I remember that one girl said that her "highest priority is to be happy...whatever it takes to be happy." I was stunned.

After growing up in the church I never had even thought of having such a priority. But it was a real eye-opener for me to see how atheists think. After all, if there is no God, if there is nothing after this life, then you should pursue happiness in this life with everything you've got! Because as this one girl stated, "when you die it is the end of this happy life."

The British newspaper the Telegraph recently published an article "Believers are happier than Atheists." A couple researchers did some sort of a study and found that religious people are happier than atheists. The report stated that "religious people were better able to cope with disappointments such as unemployment or divorce than non-believers." And they said that the more people pray and go to church the happier they are!

Atheists, people who make it their aim to be happy, are not the happiest. This comes to me as no surprise. If the source of our joy comes from within ourselves, others, or anything in this world, then our happiness will only be temporary. But if the source of our joy is in God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then our fountain of joy will never run dry. Jesus tells us how to be happy in His "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 5:1-12. The God who created us knows what it takes to make us happy, and it isn't what this world has to offer. The happiness this world offers is only temporary.

If you are searching for happiness, begin with God! He will not disappoint.! He is our source of truth and our never ending source of joy!

Psalm 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever.