RESEARCH suggests those who hold a firm belief in God stand out from all others for their having a higher sense of purpose.
The General Social Survey, which annually takes the pulse of America for the past four decades, asked its random sample of several thousand people if they agree with this somewhat depressing question: “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose.”
The survey has also asked respondents about their belief and concept of God. And a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania recently examined responses to the two questions and found those who hold a firm belief in God stand out from all others for their having a higher sense of purpose.
Even those who believed in an abstract higher power statistically had more in common with doubters and nonbelievers when it came to having a higher sense of purpose in life, according to an article published in the most recent issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
“That surprised me,” said Stephen Cranney, author of the article and doctoral candidate at Penn’s Population Studies Center. “I thought logically if there is an effect, there would be a gradient that led from nonbelief to you believe a little bit to you are firm about your belief. But what’s actually the case is there isn’t any kind of association until you are in the firm believer category.”