Research suggests that Atheists have better mental health than Agnostics.

By |2018-12-12T10:24:23-08:00December 13th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |6 Comments

My position would be that Atheists would likely have the best mental health of all, explanation at the bottom of the page.

Courtesy of Psychology Today:

Much research indicates that religious people as a group tend to have better mental health than the ‘nones’ as a group. This is manifest in various indicators, including lower rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, and substance use among the religious.

The protective mental health effects of religiosity have been attributed to various factors. These include social support in religious congregations, a sense of purpose and meaning offered by religions, and moral codes commanding certain behaviors (e.g. abstinence) within religions. These are discussed in the short video below with Dr. Eric Jarvis, a leading authority on religion, atheism and mental health.

However, the studies leading to these conclusions often collapse a variety of different groups (e.g., agnostics, lapsed, unaffiliated, weak atheists, strong atheists) into a single category of ‘nones,’ comparing these to a single category of ‘religious.’ This binary ‘lumping’ approach loses granular-level information about the many specific sub-groups within the ‘nones.’

New research has set out to examine the broad mental health differences in the sub-categories constituting the ‘nones.’ Interestingly, a growing number of studies suggest that people possessing strong religious beliefs and convinced atheists tend to share similarly positive mental health. The worst mental health is observed in those with more ambiguous, confused and weaker religious or spiritual beliefs.

For example, a just-published study by Dr. Joseph Baker at East Tennessee State University indicates that atheists have the best mental health among the ‘nones,’ similar to that of the highly-religious. In contrast, ‘non-affiliated theists’ had the poorest mental health.

The conclusion by the author of this paper is that the “certainty of belief” rather than the belief itself is what assures positive mental health, however, I would push back on that assertion. 

First off Atheism is the lack of faith, not just another faith. 

And second, the suggestion that people of great faith have better mental health has irritated me for decades. 

The simple reason is that though they may be less likely to become depressed or to end their lives prematurely, there is nothing mentally healthy about believing that invisible gods, angels, or saints are watching over you, or even communicating with you. 

For instance, if somebody told you that there was a voice telling them to move to France, even if you agreed that it was a good idea, you should worry about what else a voice inside this person’s head might suggest next. 

For that reason, I have always believed that a person with a healthy amount of skepticism about magical creatures and invisible deities is likely to be in a far healthier mental state than a person who believes evil is the result of demonic influence and that all good comes from unquestioning faith. 

As for happiness being used as a measure of mental health, I have certainly seen my share of gleeful people in a manic state of mind who seem to exude great positivity but they are by no means mentally healthy, and in fact, should be monitored closely.  

Remember, just because millions of people think a thing exists without the benefit of evidence is no proof that thing actually exists, nor is it proof of their mental stability. 

About the Author:

This blog is dedicated to finding the truth, exposing the lies, and holding our politicians and leaders accountable when they fall far short of the promises that they have made to both my fellow Alaskans and the American people.

6 Comments

  1. DR December 13, 2018 at 6:57 am

    FB>”For many, this season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for those struggling with loneliness, illness, economic hardship, the loss of a loved one, and other challenges, this time can be very difficult. So please reach out in kindness to those in need of help and comfort.”< Dan the Man Rather

  2. Rugbydude December 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

    As much as I believe that it is extremely unlikely that there is/are gods, calling myself an atheist implies certainty about the unknowable which is arguably a no different thought process than the devoutly religious. I can’t go there, nor should any of us.

  3. Anonymous December 13, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The article never ascertained that atheism is another type of faith. It was emphasizing the certainty of belief or non-belief. Gryphen often makes stupid and nonsensical arguments because he’s so convinced he’s the smartest guy in any room. Which reminds me of a certain president.

  4. puck December 13, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    1:07. go find a web site that fits your lack of intelligent thought. i bet you read the”onion” and find it funny.

  5. anon December 13, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    exactly my sentiments gryph– thank you for the post

  6. Open Minded December 14, 2018 at 12:57 am

    I’m surprised that Uncle G didn’t take issue with the weak atheist/strong atheist distinction, which he has objected to before, without logical support. He’s out of his league, as usual.

    Regardless, Gryphen is a textbook example of a superficial atheist, insisting that he reached this intellectual and spiritual promontory at the wise age of seven.

    Never mind that long ago he revealed his bitter relational difficulties with women who were religious fundamentalists–maybe enough to turn anyone away from literal Biblical inerrancy, but no excuse for lack of existential curiosity, especially from a blogger who claims to question everything.

    Atheists are notoriously misogynistic, reflected in the grotesque attitudes of celebrity atheists (Dawkins, Krauss, on-the-fence Tyson, etc.), and also as we see with Uncle G’s horror of the seductive and reproductive power of the female sex. I’m not an admirer of any Palin, but really, conceiving and bearing children is not intrinsically evil. It happens all the time, to everyone–Christian, atheist, neopagan, and so on. It’s cause for celebration, not condemnation. We are animals, and it’s what we do to continue the species–a principle an atheist should accept without judgement.

    But Gryphen is as judgmental as any religious fanatic.

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