Happy Atheists! Survey Finds We're As Happy As Nuns

funny-pictures-cat-is-so-happyI have all this information to share with you, but I haven't had a chance to organize it properly. So I've decided to kind of throw it out to you with a few notes and let you process it at your leisure, instead of wait any longer. Last month the results of a survey were released. The survey was all about the godless and it was done by Professor Luke Galen.

Luke Galen does a podcast called Reasonable Doubts with two other awesome guys, Jeremy Beahan and David Fletcher. I love this podcast and have been listening to all the past episodes to try to catch up. Just recently I listened to episode 32, Profiles of the Godless where Dr. Galen addressed CFI Michigan with his results. This was recorded back in January of this year, before his paper was published. I highly recommend listening to the podcast as it makes the data come together to make sense.

Along with the podcast, you can look at Luke Galen's pdf presentation that he used for the talk. Note: He has zero sense of color or graphic design. The charts are pretty painful to look at. But if you follow along with them while you listen to the podcast it really helps. Use eyedrops to keep your eyes from bleeding. lol

Another take on the data is presented by the Center for Inquiry. They did a press release last month and summed it up briefly. And here is a 5 page pdf of the results that won't make your eyes bleed. It's mostly text as opposed to charts.

LukeThis study was really awesome. First, it looked at nonbelievers in all their different aspects and iterations. How many of us still claim to be spiritual, etc? And the chart I found most awesome was how atheists find themselves to be relatively happy (life satisfaction, page 16 of the pdf). The interesting bit there is that people who are comfortable and rather set in their belief or nonbelief are much happier than people who doubt, like agnostics. In other words, being certain in your belief or nonbelief of god(s) helps with emotional stability.

I did come to the conclusion that I'm a bit of a statistical anomoly, though. Most atheists tend to be white men who have higher education and make good money. The only thing I have in common with them is that they have fewer children (Oh, I'm white, too. LOL) So yeah, I'm a white woman with only a bit of college, mostly self-educated, I'm not spiritual in the least (whereas most female atheists also claim to be spiritual), I'm a housewife, and I have no kids. So I guess I'm not your typical atheist.

Dr. Galen also looks into the issue of labels, which I find interesting. We have friends that call themselves Brights and avoid the A word. And I would never call myself a Bright and am proud to be called Atheist. Some people like to be called Humanist or spiritual. So he looks into that. When forced to pick just one label, a lot of people chose atheist which was interesting.

I'd love to see this go further, to ask even more questions of atheists. Maybe then it wouldn't be so hard for us to come together, to unite for common causes.

What do you think? Your thoughts are welcome, as usual. :)


  1. Very interesting results, thanks for sharing :)

    I'm just wondering about the agnostic part: I'm agnostic, but still settled in my "belief" - that there is no way to verify or disprove the existence of one/several gods/angels/life force/whatsoever... I'm sure of that and therefore just a pragmatic athiest "as the chances are higher that there is no such thing". definitely above average happiness though :D

    Another interesting thought would be a study on the amount of time people spent/spend on pondering these questions and finding their belief and the relation of that to happiness ;)

    Keep it up!


  2. Hi K, Well, I think the agnostic part is more about people who are doubting and worrying over things. It sounds like while you feel you can never know for sure, you're pretty confident in where you stand on the scale of belief/unbelief.

    Yes, there are many future surveys and studies I'd like to see as well. :)

  3. Hey Johnny, I have never thought of it that way, but you're right. It is a difference in terms. That makes me an agnostic atheist too, then. Thanks for clearing that up!

  4. Yeah, I'll jump on that agnostic atheist definition too!

  5. In relation...

    I consider myself an "gnostic atheist" - because given the term of a deity, I have concluded that no such beings could exist.

    You can in fact disprove things based upon what they are claimed to be. For example, if I claimed:
    a) god is emotionless.
    b) god hated Jacob today.
    Both of these parameters cannot both exist. Furthermore, I have concluded that omniabilities cannot exist as well... and so forth and so on.

  6. Hey guys!

    Well, thanks for the clarification, since posting the above I had an interesting discussion clarifying the point that my "pragmatic atheist" is a bit of a misnomer due to a translation: The German "Atheist" refers to the English "narrow Atheist" (person that believes there is no god) while the normal use of the english atheist includes the one who believes there is no god AND the position of simply rejecting theism (with the option of including the possibilities of a god but simply not believing it due to facts)

    thus, in english terms I am too an "agnostic atheist" although I prefer "teapot atheist" as that's a much more interesting version! (Russel's teapot argument: I state that there is a teapot circling Jupiter, which is undetectable for every human instrument, thus we cannot prove it exists but I can also not disprove it. Now, it is more likely that this teapot does not exist, I cannot prove it's nonexistence but nonetheless it is more rational to not believe it does not exist.
    If you got a believer to agree with you so far it is easy to replace "teapot" with "god" to instantly get a good argument for not believing in god.

  7. I'm familiar with Russel's Teapot argument, but had never heard/seen "teapot atheist." I like it! LOL!

  8. I've heard of Russell's Teapot, but I've never heard of being a teapot atheist before! I'm a teapot atheist too! WOOT! :D

  9. awesome, lol, now we're two! Maybe we should found a church...

  10. I didn't even know it was still possible to be a housewife and not a stay-at-home-mother. *jealous!*

    :p Love you. Going to listen to the podcast while I clean up after the rugrat now.

  11. don't know if there really is a church, but you can buy the t-shirt.


  12. Absolutely, Angie. LOL. I don't envy you cleaning up after the kids. :P
    I hope you enjoyed the podcast!