Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Americans with a religion have more self-worth



In God and the State, Mikhail Bakunin wrote that since man gives God every positive quality, he becomes the embodiment of everything low. God's possession of all value leaves man worthless. The restoration of our self-worth, therefore, requires rejection of belief in the divine.

So is it true that the irreligious have more self-esteem? GSS respondents were asked if they sometimes feel like they are no good (N = 2,184). Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (=1) to "strongly disagree" (=4). A question about belief would be ideal, but we'll have to use affiliation instead. The graphs shows that Americans with no religion value themselves less than people with a church.

To get another angle on it, I calculated means:


Mean self-esteem score

Protestant 3.24
Catholic 3.26
Jewish 3.16
None 3.10

The no religion/Christian gap is about two-tenths of a standard deviation.

1 comment:

Desmond Jones said...

Are the religious more or less likely to marry outside their ethnic/racial group?