Is Religion Good or Bad For You?
Obviously, religion is a hot-button topic for many people. Many discussions of religion, perhaps even most, revolve around the topic of whether or not organized religion is good for society. Left-wingers usually say no, right-wingers usually say yes, though there are exceptions to both of these rules. There are even some pro-religion atheists(!) like Stefan Molyneux and others who believe religion is a good thing for society even though it’s bullshit, because it “keeps the lower IQ people in line,” or something like that.
As regular readers know, I don’t give a shit about society, so the topic of whether or not religion is good for society is of zero interest to me. I know it drives right-wingers crazy when I say this, but it’s way too late for Western civilization by now, and it’s headed for collapse whether it embraces Christianity at this point or not. If this was 1974, then I agree that would be a valid discussion, but today, it’s way too late, as I’ve shown in great detail with facts and figures at my other blog.
However, the topic of whether or not religion is a good thing for you is indeed something we should talk about, as religion can have a direct affect on your Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle.
Before we get into that, I need to clarify two things.
First, I’m talking about organized religion here. I am not talking about spirituality. Spirituality is very important for your long-term happiness, particularly as you get over age 50 when most of your empire-building is done. I don’t think there is any debate about whether or not spirituality is good for you; it is, unless you spend way too much time on it when you should be addressing other important areas of your life.
I’m talking about religion here, which means you belong to a group of fellow believers and follow a set of religious dogma from an actual religion. I don’t care which religion. It could be Christianity (any of the types), Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. I’m not making the distinction of which religion today, just religion in general.
Second, I should make my own opinions and biases clear. As I’ve said before, I was raised Catholic as a child, but today I belong to no religion, by choice, as I think all religion is just another form of false Societal Programming designed by the elites to keep you docile and obedient.
However, I am also not an atheist, and I find that a decent percentage of atheists are as dogmatic, angry, and irrational as religionists, and treat their atheism as a secular religion (similar to some vegans, some socialists, and so on; anything can be a “religion”).
When I say I’m “not an atheist,” I mean that I truly believe in a power or powers far beyond what our five senses and current level of scientific advancement can detect or verify. I also lean at least 80% in the direction of intelligent design, as I talked about here. I also have very strong spiritual beliefs and practice spirituality when I can. So while I don’t belong to a religion, I am not anywhere near an atheist either. I usually self-identify as an agnostic (though even that term may not apply 100% to me).
Good vs. Rational
We need to separate the concept of “good” vs. “rational” before we get into whether or not religion is “good” for you.
If you truly believe that a guy named Jonah literally lived inside a whale’s stomach for three days, drinking no water, eating no food, and being immersed in stomach acids that whole time, and then just got vomited out on the beach three days later and was perfectly fine, then you are being irrational.
Wait! I didn’t say that was good or bad! At least not yet. I’m just saying you’re being irrational, because you are. You believe something that is the equivalent of a fairy tale with zero facts and/or zero solid evidence to back up your belief. That is pretty much the definition of irrationality. It’s the same if you think almighty God/Yahweh/Allah takes a break from monitoring the entire universe and gets upset when you say “God dammit!” (or something like that) and marks you down on some kind of clipboard because you used his name in vain. You’re perfectly welcome to believe fairy tale bullshit like this, but you can’t tell me you’re being rational. You’re not.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. I’ve mentioned before that I have some irrationally subjective beliefs about reality myself. I believe that when I look out on a beautiful night cityscape, or crashing ocean waves, or a majestic mountain range, I believe that entire vista was designed for me. Not for you, not for humanity, not for nature, but for me, and just me, specifically. It’s a totally irrational belief and I admit that… but it’s not bad, because it A) makes me happy and B) doesn’t cause me to take any negative actions in my life.
If you hold an irrational belief that A) makes you less happy or B) causes you to take negative actions in your life, then that irrational belief is not only irrational, but bad as well.
This is why irrationality is usually bad. Almost always, in fact. It’s the great problem with our society right now; too many people being irrational. But there are some unusual, rare times where a little irrationality can be good, or at least neutral.
So Is Religion Good or Bad For You?
Sometimes I get emails from guys asking if Alpha Male 2.0s can be religious.
The answer is simple: religion is good for you, and thus acceptable, if it makes you happy. If it makes you less happy, then it is bad for you, and it is not acceptable.
As I describe in great detail in The Unchained Man, your highest life priority is long-term consistent happiness. If belonging to a religion increases your overall happiness in life, even if the things you believe are fundamentally irrational (which they are, if you’re part of a religion), then it’s okay. If being in the religion makes you angry, fearful, judgmental, or pissed off about culture or politics, then it’s not okay and you should abandon that religion as fast as humanly possible.
I know people who are very religious who are some of the nicest, kindest, happiest people I’ve ever met. For them, religion is a good thing. It makes them happier.
I also know religious people who are quite the opposite. They’re angry about all kinds of things, almost all the time. They watch the news, read stuff on the internet, or talk to their friends, and seethe with anger about how immoral everyone is being. It makes them less happy, thus, having a religion is a huge mistake for those people.
I have also known people, and I’m sure you have too, who were perfectly fine before joining a religion. But once they found Jesus or gave their life to Allah or whatever, they became frowning, argumentative dickheads, and their overall level of life happiness decreased. Not good. I’ve also had some crazy, angry psychos on my blogs screaming their heads off about Jesus or the Lord or whatever, screaming about immorality or the end of the world; these are clearly not happy people.
So the issue isn’t religion or even which religion, so much as it is how being in a religion will affect you.
This leads to the question, “Is being in a religion more or less likely to make me happy?”
That’s a very good question and I don’t have the answer. I can only relate to you what I’ve seen anecdotally in my own life of 46 years, knowing lots of people (more than the typical person). Take it with a grain of salt.
Based on what I’ve seen, having religion make you happier seems to be more likely if A) you’ve had that same religion most or all of your life and B) you don’t take it 100% seriously; perhaps 70-90% seriously. Under those two conditions, religion does seem to make most people (“most” as in more than 50% in this category) happier.
However, if you convert to a new religion or find a new religion later in life, like over the age of 25, then religion seems to make people less happy. The angry religious nutjobs tend to be in this category. Religion also seems to make people less happy when they take it 100% seriously, like those angry Christians who literally think you’re going to literally burn in hell for eternity if you have consensual, premarital sex, even one time.
You might make the argument that people who find religions like this were unhappy people to begin with; that’s why they were seeking a religion in the first place. That’s entirely possible.
So that’s the bottom line. If you are religious, and your religion makes you a happier person, that’s fine. But if you’re religious, and find yourself often lecturing people, arguing with people (in real life or the internet), and getting upset that society has “abandoned God” or whatever, then this is not a good thing, and you need to seriously re-think your membership in a dogmatic concept that damages your long-term happiness.