It may seem ironic, but studies show that science-believing atheists are happier after making a leap of faith and taking Jesus Christ into their hearts.
A recent Pew Research study surveyed people in more than 24 countries from different religious and secular backgrounds. The research compared people of devout faith against those who did not identify with a set of religious beliefs. The project used three general lifestyle criteria to compare the focus groups: actively religious, inactively religious, and religiously unaffiliated.
While no significant difference was discovered in areas of physical health such as heart disease, obesity, and others, people who embraced religious beliefs reported significantly better mental wellness. In fact, upwards of 75 percent of “actively religious” people polled said they were happy and content.
The inactively religious and religiously unaffiliated groups did not state they enjoyed the level of peace and happiness of the actively religiously focus group in any of the 24 countries.
Among the conclusions reached as a result of the multinational Pew Research study was the fact that religiously-minded people enjoyed ongoing positive influences from Christian fellowship and spiritual teachings. They embraced the notion that peace and happiness are acceptable life goals and were more likely to work toward them than secular achievements such as excess wealth and materialism.
These positive goal-driven Christians were also significantly less likely to suffer loneliness and depression because they felt an active, ongoing bond with other people of faith and God. The research study indicated that a spiritual connection to God also helped otherwise isolated people adapt and compensate for gaps in companionship.
Psychologists are also reporting that religious-minded people are better equipped to manage stress, anxiety, and triggers to past traumatic experiences. Mental health professionals find that faith and fellowship help their patients feel a profound sense of safety and security even during potentially difficult periods. Simply put, faith in God provides comfort. And that may be why so many atheists are finding their way to Christianity.
An article in the Journal of Religion in Society developed a theme-based analysis to understand why atheists are becoming theists and embracing Christianity. Conducted by Joseph Langston, Heather Albanesi, and Matthew Facciani, the paper culled data from social media sites where people explained their transition from atheism to Christian life.
“I’ve been an open atheist for years, but that doesn’t mean I would avoid academic work on why atheists stopped being atheists,” Matthew Facciani reportedly said. “Basically, our study looked at existing qualitative data from social media sites like Reddit and Quora. We tried to find forums that asked formerly self-identified atheists why they became a Christian. Yes, this is a very limited approach since we don’t know anything about these social media users, but this was an exploratory study.”
The research study uncovered more than 100 consistent conversion narratives. These ranked among the most prevalent ones that motivated conversion to Christianity.
- Ritual Behaviors:53 percent referred to prayer, reading the Bible, and attending a Christian church.
- Intellectualism:50 percent pointed to rationalism, debate, arguments, and critical thinking.
- Numinous Experiences:45 percent often discussed inexplicable and mystical experiences of the divine, i.e., religious experiences.
- Social Ties:44 percent discussed social relationships and networks.
- Hardship:39 percent endured adverse life circumstances.
- Openness to Experience:30 percent pointed to an attitudinal disposition of willingness to examine different ideas; to be open to another view possibly being true.
- Authentic Example: 28 percent found Christians or Christianity to be inspiring or impressive.
- Contra Atheism:24 percent were experiencing a sense of “worldviewlessness,” or of being ungrounded in the larger scheme of existence, e.g., existential despair.
The study reportedly used the following anecdotal example found on social media to develop data and statistics.
“I had an amazing friend who would pray with me every day when I was a freshman in high school. At first, it was a little cringe-y and I would just go along with it out of respect. But as it went on, I really just had an opening of the heart that I can’t explain. It suddenly became obvious how wrong I had been the whole time and my faith began to grow not by my own will. She never even talked about a lot of theology or apologetics or any kind of argument but would just pray for me. I seriously went from being completely convinced of atheism to Christian,” the report stated.
This study, conducted by at least one atheist, confessed that atheists who converted to Christianity were profoundly happier after accepting Jesus Christ.