December 14, 2010

Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality

Gallup Polls in the U.S. published in October and December of 2010 present statistical data showing people who are considered “highly religious” are happier, mentally more stable, and less prone to serious depression. People were considered highly religious if they attended religious meetings one or more times a week and practiced their spirituality in some way, shape or form at least once a day:

Religious Americans Enjoy Higher Wellbeing – Gallup Poll, October 28, 2010

Also in the news, the American Atheists posted a critique of Christianity on a huge billboard on the outskirts of New York City reading “You know it's a myth.” Well, actually, if you do some research you will see that the person of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was not an arbitrary creation. There are hundreds of very specific prophecies available in the scriptures that were written hundreds and thousands of years before Christ was born. If you are an atheist and have never looked into these, I challenge you to do so.

Next, the atheist billboard says “This season celebrate reason.” You mean, become depressed and increase your chances for mentally instability, right? Isn't that what the actual statistical data shows? Like many prominent atheists, the American Atheists make an appeal to the glories of reason, while, for all practical purposes, the reasoning atheists usually offer is not very philosophically convincing or even very logical for that matter.

Take a quote from Austin Cline, the leading expert on atheism at

“Atheism doesn't need to be illogical and, if it is, that doesn't matter.” -- Austin Cline 
(Note: Since the writing of this article, Cline has deleted the previous sentence.)

Cline proposes that logic ultimately “doesn't matter” in the justification of one's beliefs. He is affirming philosophical relativism, the belief that there is ultimately no truth to base one's opinion on. OK, well, affirming relativism -isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? While he proposes logic is unnecessary, he is using logic to make his point. This brings to mind the famous definition of the relativistic fallacy. On it's most basic level, the reasoning of relativistic atheism is self contradictory and it's not hard to see how this can subconsciously lead to mental instability and depression, as the studies confirm.

What people call “common sense” is the notion that the basic laws of logic are true and intuitive. We operate with the assumption that classic logic, truth and validity do exist and are important. Today we have a unique form of logic called quantum logic based on the mysterious truths of quantum physics. At an atomic level, everything in the universe seems to be somehow connected. Because of this phenomenon it is possible to communicate faster than the speed of light. Prototypes of quantum computers have been developed and a quantum Internet is planned. In any event, quantum logic seems to blow apart the classic Aristotelian logic that states something can only exist in one place at one time. To give Cline and other atheists some credit, the relativist perspective does in this light seem possible, though it makes for a non-nonsensical universe.

Cosmology and Christianity

Consider for a moment that cosmologists are correct that the universe had a beginning and the beginning of the universe marked the beginning of time. The chemical makeup of the Earth confirms that there was intense light at the beginning and this heat wave continues to expand along with the expanding universe. Most cosmologists agree that we cannot really know scientifically what reality was like before the universe existed. One choice upon this understanding would be to reconsider what the Bible says. In the beginning of time God created the universe and intense light was involved.

The person of God is characterized in scriptures by light, intelligence, love, truth, mercy and majesty, and we find His fingerprints throughout creation. Though we live in a limited time-space continuum where physical systems, properties and even logic are specialized and relative to each other, there is an ultimate reality and truth in the person of God represented in the person of Jesus Christ who is the word, or logos (logic) made flesh. According to scripture, absolute truth exists based on God's existence, who is prime reality, the first cause. God didn't need a physical cause because God is spiritual and is not relegated to physical laws. While atheist scientists may try to propose a “theory of everything,” without an underlying basis and reference point of truth it will never be logically cohesive.

Absolute Truth

When you consider non-transcendental atheistic philosophies, you can see there is ultimately a sense of futility and hopelessness because there is no real basis for absolute truth or objective truth. Quantum physics has shown it's impossible to “objectify” any physical object and to develop a truly objective philosophy. The universe is interconnected at a sub-atomic level by energy. The Bible states the universe consists by God, that God holds all things together, and the Bible is not in conflict with discoveries in quantum physics, which Einstein called “spooky" physics. Christianity is one of the few religions which describes a God who is both imminent and transcendent, both active among us and perfect in truth and holiness outside of relativistic time and space. Professor and author Thomas Morris wrote The Logic of God Incarnate (1986) and explained how Jesus' nature, as fully man and fully God, may be metaphysically understood.

The Purpose of LifeUltimate truth implies an ultimate purpose, and a rational one is knowing God. While atheists propose that sin does not exist and we simply make mistakes, the Bible shows that sin is deadly, it wounds the soul and gradually deadens the conscience. Sin isn't a psychological guilt complex but a spiritual condition that needs to be dealt with. The Bible says Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin." The ultimate problem of sin is that it separates us from God, the source of life and true happiness. The ultimate purpose of life is to be in fellowship with God and to glorify Him. This fellowship with God is made possible by Christ's redemptive act on the cross. The crucifixion of Jesus was both a physical and spiritual act of propitiation and justification. All we need to do to receive this redemption is to believe he died for us and receive His gift of salvation. It's logical, it's simple, and it works.

Christianity, in its essence, is suggested in the nature of our existence. Consider the concept of justification. Aristotle's laws of logic are based on physical qualities of existence, for example, the law of non-contradiction and the law of the excluded middle. Philosophical logic requires that a proposition include both true statements and a valid form in order to be sound. What does all this imply? That the concepts of truth and validity are intrinsic to existence. Take it a step further and you will see that the concept of validity relates to the concept of justification. Justification is intrinsic to the nature of existence even as the justify-er, Jesus Christ, is. In order for justification to have any real and ultimate meaning, there has to be an ultimate reference point for truth. This is necessary for a holistic explanation of logic, and the universe. The necessary piece of the puzzle for logically explaining the meaning of existence can be summed up in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Supremacy of Love and Faith

For atheists who believe the sentient mind is a result of evolution, human etymological logic seems to present  an unresolvable paradox in that logic is used only in minds but is based on fixed, universal and unchanging laws. Many atheist philosophers want to try and prove that logic is merely a subjective construct. But in realizing there is indeed absolute truth in the eternal God, there is no philosophical conflict between the subjective and objective aspects of logic. There is no need to create a false dualism between the primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness, as atheist philosophers would like to, because God is eternally existent and eternally conscious outside of space and time.

Faith in God is not less than human reason, it is the acknowledgment that there is more than human reason. Faith is the acknowledgment that we have both a limited perspective and a limited capacity in our human understanding. I can celebrate reason but reason is not my god. And the main reason I celebrate the living God is due to His love. Faith is the key to experiencing God's love.

In addition to theoretical validation for Christianity, I have first-hand validation. I have experienced God's love and presence personally and because of this further evidence I would trade nothing in this world for the practical experience of knowing Jesus Christ. People get caught up in all kinds of addictions to drugs, alcohol and pornography because people basically want to feel good. These types of addictions are substitutes for the ultimate and true pleasure of knowing God's love. If you have never experienced it, I would highly recommend trying God's love. The first step is to repent. King David wrote "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." There's deep joy in repenting and knowing God, deeper than the circumstantial trials of life.

I had the privilege of giving a sermon at the Community Bible Church in Sag Harbor, N.Y. and invited my brother who was interested in coming but not quite sure about who or what God may be. Towards the end of the service I felt God's presence very strongly and asked my brother “Do you feel God's presence?” and he answered “I feel something.” If you have not yet received the logic, love and joy of knowing Jesus as your personal and ultimate justify-er and the lover of your soul, why not take a sincere step of faith and give God a try? If you want to have a sincere debate with me online, post a comment.

If you have some free time, why not review a video of a debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox before Dawkins began rejecting debating offers by creationists and I.D. scientists. The full unedited debate is recommended at this link: "The God Delusion Debate (Dawkins-Lennox)."

Note: Some people have mentioned the poor staistics for "moderately religious" people and I wanted to address this. Many 'moderate' Christians, a large percent of Americans, could never be considered 'born-again Christians' as described in John 3.3. Jesus said a person "must be" born again and he was referring to a life transformed by the Holy Spirit. Believing that "God exists" or going to church on Christmas and Easter may make one a moderately religious person, but it does not transform a person's life. These things do not count as true spiritual salvation according to the Bible.

When a person repents and has his or her sins forgiven, the guilt of sin is removed and the effects of this on a person's life are dramatic. When a person abides in God's presence, in God's peace, love and joy, the health benefits are dramatic. You might want to try it sometime.

(Article revised February 5, 2012)


The Health and Logic of a Thankful Lifestyle
Christmas: The Beauty and Challenge of Forgiveness

How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence


  1. The claim that "atheism -> depression therefore is false." is wrong on a few points.

    While fundamentalism of the Biblical literal variety is the least depressed religious group, the second place goes to atheists. The liberal, weak, and non-practicing Christians are the most depressed group. Those who don't wrestle with their faith, or need to fight to keep themselves believing, are the less depressed of the population.

    As a group, atheists do better in terms of happiness than the general population. If you look at the Gallop poll, you'll properly see that the data here backs this up (as do many other studies). The middle half-hearted Christians and moderates are the most depressed. The gallop poll doesn't include Biblical Fundamentalists and atheists but the extremes are even more pronounced.

  2. Tatarize,

    You made emphatic comments but didn't back them up with numbers.

    You wrote “As a group, atheists do better in terms of happiness than the general population.” I'm not sure how you arrived at your theory. In the poll on depression, the non-religious made up 29.7% of the population, moderately religious, 26.6% and very religious 43.7% of a random sample of 554,066 adults from all over the US. With a margin of error of ±0.5 percentage point for each group.

    The highly religious group is 3.1% happier than the non-religious one (18.7 – 15.6 = 3.1) and the highly religious group is 1.5 times larger than the non-religious group (43.7 / 29.7). The non-religious group is only 1.1 times larger than the moderately religious group, not much of a difference.

    Gallup Describes their interpretation:

    “The best explanation for the observed relationship between religion and more positive states of emotional health may be the most straightforward -- that being religious in fact produces a salutary effect on one's mental health.”

    The second Gallup poll on "well-being" offers that the highly religious have a 4.5% better mental health condition than the non-religious, while the moderately religious and non-religious are tied at 64.2.

  3. Fundamentalists do best on such measures, followed by atheists. If you look at the poll here and other places it has been done you find that at the extremes you get the best results. The non-religious are not to be confused as wholesale equivalency with atheism.

    The Gallop poll here is no different the group that does the worst is the moderately religious. It fits a curve with the moderates at the center doing the worst.

    My claim was never that the highly religious didn't do the best. By most statistics on such things they do. The more fundamentalist they are the better they do. But also the more atheistic, the better they do. It's that moderate group in the center that does poorly.

  4. "It's that moderate group in the center that does poorly."

    Uncommitted compromisers and apathetic people tend to make others depressed also, if not sick:

    "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." - Jesus

  5. You can cite the Bible if you want, but the research is there. You can become an atheist and be happier. Therefore your original note is completely wrong.

  6. Hello Tatarize.

    Gallup Polls shows "Very Religious Americans Report Less Depression, Worry" and "Very Religious Americans Report Less Depression, Worry" as outlined in my article: "Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality"

    When a person repents and has his or her sins forgiven, the guilt of sin is removed and the effects of this on a person's life are dramatic. When a person abides in God's presence, in God's peace, love and joy, the health benefits are dramatic. You might want to try it sometime.

    The world generally offers quick and easy kinds of happiness that can may make you feel good for a little while, but are actually detrimental to the soul and body in the long run: materialism and money, the idolization of pleasure and sexual promiscuity, power and the manipulation of others, not to mention the various substances people lean on to try and get through a normal day.

    Christianity doesn't promise a bed of roses. Actually, it promises persecution. But despite circumstantial trials, believers have a deep and abiding joy in knowing Christ.




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