I posted here earlier today about how 20% of Californians think they need mental therapy. The conversation that ensued took an interesting turn toward religion, suffering, and human happiness. So, per Ursula's recommendation, I'm starting a new post that opens the issue up to the wider Ricochet community and asking ...
Does religion, God, and/or morality help us overcome depression/anxiety/sadness/suffering and make us happier people?
That question came up thanks to a comment made by Ricochet member G.A. Dean:
Humans inevitably face sadness, anxiety and nervousness, and other dark emotional states, and cultures cycle between beliefs on the best cure. Some turn to God, or to the bottle, others prescribe hard work and others just uproot and run off to a fresh start. These things are like fashion. The ancients sought the advice of the oracles; we go to shrinks, or to yoga class.
I'm curious about what Ricochet readers, commenters, and contributers think: do we lose something by finding therapeutic cures in secular sources, like therapists or yoga--or prescription drugs--rather than religious or transcendent ones?
Does religion ultimately help us cope with suffering, leading us to find deeper meaning in life? What are its limits?
Other questions to think about, via Ursula, are: What are the salves provided by religion/God? How does life get better if one "practices" a religion?
I personally think that religion teaches us how to adapt and react to difficult circumstances in a deep and meaningful way. Throughout the history of Western moral thought--until modern times, that is--the question of what makes us happy was bound to the question of leading The Good Life, the morally virtuous life. Our morally good choices, especially in the face of trying times, enriched our lives--and therefore made us happier in any circumstance.