The relationship between religion and happiness has been seriously understudied in non-Western and non-Islamic societies. Taking religious identity and religious practice as strata, the 2015 Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) data were used to examine the predicting power of health, politics, and social relationships with regard to happiness in four different groups, as follows: People with a religious identity and practice, people with no religious identity but with a practice, people with a religious identity but no practice, and people with neither a religious identity nor practice. Multiple regression analyses were conducted using the Ordinary Least Squares method. The results demonstrate the influence of the independent variables in the four groups, thus confirming the expectation that different religious practices, as well as identities, play a vital role in moderating the degree of happiness. Physical and mental health are significant predictors of happiness regardless of different religious situations, with the effect of mental health here found to be greater in magnitude on happiness than that of physical health. Political participation was not found to be related to happiness, but having a left-wing political attitude did emerge as strongly predicting happiness. The results concerning social relationships further consolidate the hypothesis that religious practice should be taken into consideration separately from religious identity. This study indicates the importance of further investigating religious practice as an independent factor in religious studies in the context of Chinese society.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited