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Want to Get Happy? Go to Church

Such is the conclusion of a report in this month's American Sociological Review.

C. S. Lewis said that Christianity was about achieving perfection in God, not happiness. Even so, a survey in this month's American Sociological Review (ASR) suggests that a "high rate of life satisfaction" is at least a byproduct of the Christian life.

Researchers Chaeyoon Lim, sociologist at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, and Robert Putnam, author most recently of American Grace and most famously of Bowling Alone, found that people who frequently attend church and other places of worship are happier than those who attend less frequently. Lim and Putman say respondents' happiness comes from building friendships in a close-knit social circle around common religious beliefs — not necessarily from the content of said beliefs. "Our evidence shows that it is not really going to church and listening to sermons or praying that makes people happier, but making church-based friends and building social networks there," Lim said.

Lim and Putnam surveyed some 3,000 Americans from 2006 to 2007. ...

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