Religious people better at self control
Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times about how religion seems to help people have more self control. Normally, I would try and tear apart these kinds of articles, but in this case I don’t necessarily disagree with the findings. Intuitively, it seems right to me; I don’t know many people who could fight off the impulse of sex in favor of a relationship with God (I’m talking about Nuns and Catholic priests of course).
I’m curious as to how most people view these studies anyways. Do religious people feel uplifted by the results? Do atheists generally care? I would describe myself as having moderate self control (at least when it comes to matters of pleasure), and I don’t see any reason why I would need more. It certainly doesn’t seem to stop kids from having premature sex, or even experiment with drugs, unless of course their level of devotion is slavish. Even then, it’s fairly suspect.
Imagine I gave you a pill to help you with your impulse control. The side effects included occasional hallucinations, close mindedness, bigotry, intolerance and had a tendency in some patients to cause massive psychotic breakdowns. Would it be worth it?
Sure, when you don’t have a strict guidebook to live your life, you are more susceptible to some of life’s temptations. But so what? I don’t want to spend my life in a coma, content with thinking all the mysteries of the universe are solved, or it’s impossible to attain any higher morality than what we have now. Self control is exactly what I WANT to avoid. It’s the same impulse that make us complacent and sheepish in the face of so many of life’s important challenges. Keep your damn pill. I want to see life through sober eyes.