New research shows religious people are less likely to feel isolation than atheists.
When people establish social relationships, it has a positive impact on their lives, as it gives them a purpose. However, people without social connections won’t have the same drive. Is there anything in the world which can compensate for this feeling? Will it be possible for divine beings to be a substitute? Relationships are important, as they make human beings feel connected and motivated.
Researchers from the University of Michigan had the same question, which propelled them to conduct a study on this topic.
Journal of Personality published this study, which shows that religious people who feel lonely are less likely to feel isolated than those who are atheists. The researchers organized three studies where the sample size of the population was 19,775. Despite being lonely, they consider God to be their friend, as faith has the power to fill in the void. According to this study, people who believe in God won’t feel that they shouldn’t be living on this planet.
Authors of study clarify findings of the study
The lead author of the study and doctoral student, Todd Chan, said religious people see God as a companion. Even though religion has a positive impact, it isn’t enough to provide all the advantages which come with human interaction.
The co-author and psychology graduate, Nicholas Michalak, said their research was helpful in understanding how belief in God is beneficial for certain people. From this study, one can understand it is helpful for human beings to connect with anything. The researchers found this type of connection will give people a greater purpose in life, which will be beneficial in the long run. People want someone or something to look out for and please.
In the case of atheists, being lonely can take a toll on their mental health. However, the researchers stated believing in God isn’t enough to replace the positive effects of having actual friends . The professor of psychology, Oscar Ybarra, said that in no way does the study suggest that human beings should prefer having a relationship with God over other people. If people have to ensure that there is a purpose in their lives, they should maintain quality connections with other human beings.