Spirituality not Religion Makes Tweens Happy

MSNBC.COM cites two recent studies that confirms the link between spirituality and happiness in pre-teens. Interestingly, the researches made strong lines of deliniation between religion and spirituality. Religion, they write, is an institutionalized expression of spirituality. Spirituality gets defined as (meaning and value in one’s own life) and communal aspects (quality and depth of inter-personal relationships.

Research shows that a child’s concept of God or religious practices do little to add to a sense of fulfillment.

A Christian might intially take exception to the research definitons. “Perhaps the language and definitions are slanted to point to relativism.”

Or a Christian might remember that Christianity is a relational religion, its only when one embraces the two Great Loves that one will experience the satisfaction of being human well.


  1. Even as children we can sense the difference between an alive religious practice and a dead ritual. But I would also suspect that the language of the survey was skewed; religion to connote an empty set of rituals, vs an organic encounter with God (or however you define it)

    I heard a pollster talking about language used in polls during the election to get a specific response:
    1) Do you care about the environment and stopping man-made crises like global warming? vs.
    2) Do you think this 'global warming" thing is a load of crap?

    Which also reminds me of "I'm spiritual but not religious." Which is like saying, "I'm emotional but not psycho."

  2. I agree with the skewing of the language. But even with it, there's truth that can't be avoided.

  3. Here's the crux, I think. The source of emotional satisfaction is important, I think. There's that livability test behind truth. People, even those who don't know Jesus, are happier when they live in close proximity, even imperfectly, to the Two Great Loves.

    The problem is that personal satisfaction is not good way to logically test the truth of something. Just because the facts of a catechism can't make me happy, doesn't make them not true and important.