Arthur C. Brooks has written a great series of posts over at Freakonomics about personal happiness, according to politics, religion and the relative extremes of these beliefs. He’s recently published a book on Gross National Happiness.

Among his findings/ conjectures are that Conservatives Are Happier than Liberals

A commenter says:

One possibility that springs to mind: Perhaps people who label themselves as “extremely” liberal or “extremely” conservative are also more likely to call themselves “very” happy. That is, someone who uses immoderate terms to describe his political views might also use immoderate terms to describe his degree of personal happiness — and that might reflect a difference in rhetorical style rather than a difference in life satisfaction.

There’s a correlation here between happiness and faith, it seems.

Earlier in the year I was at a seminar for utopian studies where the issue of religion and utopian thinking arose (this was specifically in relation to science fiction literature, and ‘religion’ seemed a relatively disparaging term in the way it was used).

This led me to wonder, could being an atheist – or at least lacking a belief in the afterlife – lead to an inability to imagine the future?