Religion makes people happy because it dumbs them down. Choice is hard to handle. And stressful. Exploration of the new needs one to deal with contradictions and the out of the ordinary without programmed responses. Religious living does not afford that stress. The Choices are made. The results have been deduced. And the sides have been taken. Morality has been coded. So, although you are running around a pole, you keep believing in your progress! You start from and arrive exactly where your parents/grandparents have been for centuries. Here is an interesting study on why humans need “God” and “Morality”. We, inherently cannot handle the stress of the greys. We need black and white. Non-duality is NOT our cup of tea.
Dr Wilson and Dr Storm found several unexpected differences between the groups. Liberal teenagers always felt more stress than conservatives, but were particularly stressed if they could not decide for themselves whom they spent time with. Such choice, or the lack of it, did not change conservative stress levels. Liberals were also loners, spending a quarter of their time on their own. Conservatives were alone for a sixth of the time. That may have been related to the fact that liberals were equally bored by their own company and that of others. Conservatives were far less bored when with other people. They also preferred the company of relatives to non-relatives. Liberals were indifferent. Perhaps most intriguingly, the more religious a liberal teenager claimed to be, the more he was willing to confront his parents with dissenting beliefs. The opposite was true for conservatives.
Dr Wilson suspects that the liberal package of individualism and confrontation is the appropriate response to survival in a stable environment in which there is leisure for learning and reflection, and the consequences for a group’s stability of such dissent are low. The conservative package of collectivism and conformity, by contrast, works in an unstable environment where joint action, and thus obedience to their group, are at a premium. It is an interesting suggestion, and it is one that plays into the question of how morality actually evolved.