A Foundation of Faith: Religious beliefs foster a greater sense of belonging and happiness

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   Too often, people are caught up in thinking that if only they had more, they could finally be happy. However, no matter how hard one tries, lasting happiness — unlike the fleeting high of a newly bought pair of Nike’s — is not found in tangible things that can be purchased or seen. As much as the material world would like to convince the rest of the universe that shiny things equal happiness, there is little to no correlation.

  According to a study published in the journal American Sociological Review, those with a religious faith gain greater life satisfaction. Furthermore, more recent studies support the idea that true contentment is found not in the accumulation of intellectual or material value but instead in having a religious faith.

  “So many things can happen in life, and I sometimes I think our happiness is based off what is happening in our life,” Chaplain Richard Towers said. “Faith helps us always have joy, and this joy is deep and abiding. It doesn’t go away when tough things are happening to us.”

  Moreover, the role of the specific religion, whether it be Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc., has less to do with happiness than the role of faith itself. Between all religious faiths, there is one common thread of unity: the belief that there exists something beyond all earthy status and that we are not alone in the universe. This belief helps people to understand that there is always someone looking out for them and that they have been given a purpose in life.

  “The person, or thing, at the higher position has a greater goal for me, and so if I fail a test or have a bad day, I know that these things truly don’t matter when it comes to the purpose of my life,” senior Aiza Saeed said.

  When believing and choosing to have faith in something so great yet inexplicable, having faith in yourself, in others and in life becomes a lot easier. Moreover, in the 21st century, it may seem impossible to have faith in something so unexplainable when billions of hours and dollars are spent in pursuit of scientifically explaining every aspect of life. However, faith does not seek a scientific explanation.

  Faith requires trust in the unexplainable. Of the many religions, none ask for proof in exchange for belief.

  Those who choose faith hold a certain mindset. They have the sense that someone is looking out for them and there exists a higher power. This helps to make sense of low points in life and to keep hope.

  “There is a stability that is not going to be destroyed no matter what happens to you,” senior Josie Mauer said when referring to her religious faith in God.

  Furthermore, study after study reveals that faith-based people are less depressed and less anxious than those without faith as well as better able to handle life’s adversities. Even more, according to the Adventist Health Study, “people who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide.”

  Having a religious faith has helped people everywhere find a purpose and belonging in their life. This may be from the support and consistency of their church community or the continual reminder that a higher power has a hand on their future.

  “When you believe in something that is outside of time and unaffected by the things that happen within your world, then you have something unchangeable to depend on,” Mauer said.

  No matter the events in one’s life, a faith in something bigger than yourself becomes a strong rock, acting as a stable ground in which you can build a meaningful and happiness-filled life.

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