May 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

What makes people happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. But is there a secret ingredient to being happy?

We asked five faith leaders of varying perspectives to answer the question, "What makes people happy?" Their answers showed that happiness comes from meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.

And if you're looking for perfect happiness, it doesn't exist. But imperfect happiness does.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders

soundoff (800 Responses)
  1. Mario

    I bet Deepak Chopra is happy, after getting rich from peddling nonsense. Oh, I'm sorry, make that "quantum nonsense". Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg are spinning in their graves everytime Chopra opens his mouth. It's so bad, there is even a word for it: Choprawoo.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  2. J.Dizzle

    the thing thats nice, is the realising, in 10 billion years or so, sun will burn out, planet will die and noone anywhere will know anything that happened

    relaxing just to think nothing matters

    May 21, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  3. vitru basha

    we are made to be happy!! but ar life is relative!! we never be happy forver !! people who dont like life in real way ther is not happy going on. if people understend why we are so special in this planet !!! stop the war!!!! make love there is happy time is going one!!! war with no balance jest idiots travel a round a glob thay have maney to play with sosaitty !!! we mast stop idiots all will be fine!!! no racizem !!! we are happy 5 minut for day!!!

    May 21, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  4. circusplanet

    @Andrew, I had the same question as well. But, their perception of the world is not same as you and me who are blessed with healthy life. As a human they are superior because they are happy with their situation.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • circusplanet

      And by the way, they dare to live.

      May 21, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  5. andrew

    Its a very simple response of "experts". Whay about if you are sick?? Its impossible to be happy! So ask to people that suffer TINITUS a condition that death body and soul!! Experts: please go to http://www.ata.org to help this people!!

    May 21, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  6. Paresh Premjee

    Been there done that....A very bad rate of return so not sure what Mr. Chopra is talking about....

    May 21, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Vani

      Why do you expect a ROR ? You have to start with an assumption that ROR willbe Zero.Doesn't Krishna say "Dont expect anything from anyone..just do good" GIve the world the best you can and the best will come back to you. Thats all there is to life, easier said than done I agree.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • P Bhagat

      I agree with Vani - If you want to be happy we should all start doing some unselfish work (without expecting anything).. We always see Rate of return in all of the work that we do. As soon as some expectations come in picture we loose the path of unselfish work. Some body constantly pounds our heart, keeps the tongue wet all the time, pumps the blood in th body, gives us memory in the morning, digests our food, gives us peace at night (takes our tiredness out). does that power do all of these activities for us due to some expectations ? .. I don't think so...

      May 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • P bhagat

      I agree with Vani - If you want to be happy we should all start doing some unselfish work (without expecting anything).. We always see Rate of return in all of the work that we do. As soon as some expectations come in picture we loose the path of unselfish work. Some body constantly pounds our heart, keeps the tongue wet all the time, pumps the blood in th body, gives us memory in the morning, digests our food, gives us peace at night (takes our tiredness out). does that power do all of these activities for us due to some expectations ?

      May 21, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  7. circusplanet

    To live in the moment is happiness. Everyone will be a history tomorrow. New knowledge, new technology, new generation. Just we will be not here. Life is like a train. This train has a destination. Don't be hopeless.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • pockets

      We are 'star-dust', we have evolved over the millineum, we crawled from the ocean to eventually stand as primates. We are not long out of the cave. Dust to dust. Nothing more, nothing less.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • Good Reading...thanx CNN

      Circus Planet has the ticket

      May 21, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  8. boucane_international@yahoo.com

    happiness is understanding that – because of intentional school mis-education- (read authors charlotte iserbeyt and john taylor gatto) – true democracy does not exist, and that the real battle in life is the adventure of daily self developement and self improvement. a famous king from france once said "to dominate and govern over the people, then the people must be divide. so, as we see today, the divided people thanks to religion, race, politics, economics, etc... so go become a self-made millionaire, and stay away from debt!

    May 21, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  9. boucane_international@yahoo.com

    happiness is understanding that – because of intentional school mis-education- (read authors charlotte iserbeyt and john taylor gatto) – true democracy does not exist, and that the real battle in life is the adventure of daily self developement and self improvement. a famous king from france once said "to dominate and govern over the people, then the people must be divide. so, as we see today, the divided people thanks to religion, race, politics, economics, etc... so go become a self-made millionaire, and stay away from debt!

    May 21, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  10. TOM


    May 21, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Memememe

      I think I'm capable of taking a shower on my own, God can work on someone else if he wants.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • ThirdWard

      I don't need anyone to wash me, thanks. My showers are private.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • ThirdWard

      No one needs to wash me. I can take my own private showers, thanks very much.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Jessica

      I would be happy if the Good Lord would wash folks like you with some smarts and smidge of an ability to think for yourself. I wont hold my breath.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • pockets

      There is no god, so enjoy your life, religion poisons everything.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • disappointed

      @Pockets – the only "poison" I see here is the poisonous hatred the atheists seem to have toward the Christians/theists.....???? why is that I wonder? If you're so happy with your lives then why do you care so much if others find happiness in believing in their God of choice?
      The way I see it ~~
      Faith: Believing in something (strongly)
      Religion: group of people believing in the same thing (usually a higher being, or God)

      Your "faith" that there is no God, therefore (in a sense) is YOUR "religion." Right?

      May 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Archangel

      Amen @disappointed

      Atheists and the majority of Liberals need to understand that people still believe in God, in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. And I consider it disrespectful people twisting and questionning our beliefs.

      May 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • HappyHeathen

      Christians and the majority of conservitives need to understand that people still believe in free thought and freedom of religion. I wouldn't question Christianity if untrue Christians and zealots alike weren't twisting the religion around and trying to control my day to day life.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • daniel tovin

      The "lord' can wash anything he/she likes, but to remove the dirt of religion you need a bar of atheist soap.

      No Jesus = Know Happiness!

      May 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  11. Prince Valiant T

    True happiness comes where my soul rest to eternity

    May 21, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  12. Susan A

    I loved Greg Epstein's post. We are so lucky to have non-theistic, humanist leaders who can help us form communities of sharing and caring.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:04 am |
    • Common Sense

      Hear, hear...

      May 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • David

      I read that part and my thought was he has a secular progressive agenda on his mind..no thanks

      May 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  13. Kohelet

    Joy is short-lived, like enjoying an ice-cream sundae, or for a warped mind one could get joy from harming people. True happiness results when we connect with our innate good inclination as opposed to our animalistic, selfish evil/bad inclination. Happiness results when we help others, whether by doing good deeds or giving charity. Our conscience tells us when we have done something wrong. Those who believe in God would say that happiness results when following biblical commandments. My secular humanist friends, although they are non-theistic, also believe in being good, kind, compassionate, tolerant and unselfish. All this brings happiness, not just transitory joy.

    May 20, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  14. Love Jesus

    Love Jesus, only one love is exist, it's love in Jesus.

    May 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • ;D

      Other love exists, it's called loving real people. I love my boyfriend, because loves me back and, most importantly, he's real.

      May 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • TsirhCitnA

      Love Chocolate. Only one Chocolate exists. White Chocolate.

      See the similarities?

      May 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Talon6

      Jesus = Imaginary, mythical figure from a primitive culture. Not = to reality.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • mdfar

      Is this the Jessus word?If U love Jessus atleast learn his way of talking....

      May 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Kevin

      Why not word that statement this way: I love Jesus , Jesus is the only love for me , etc. In this way , you're stating what works for you and not preaching to the rest of us that your way is the only way. this is the main problem I have with organized religion. Our relationship with the so-called supreme being is the best and you must be lost if you don't embarce it.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
    • ArtOfBeingHuman

      Nothing can make you happy. Things/events/people can bring you joy and comfort, but you ultimately have to decide to be happy.


      May 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • sibylle

      i can not believe in something that started Inquisition, purposely punishing people who opposed church teaching and burnt women... believe in yourself and make others happy, and you will be happy.

      June 2, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  15. Joel3

    No, we are all born with a huge gap which people try to fill with everything under the sun.

    May 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Implying

      >implying the things I filled my life with don't make me happy

      May 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • TsihCitnA

      Speak for yourself, Joel3.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jessica

      like how you filled the gap with GOD? There's billions of people, just like you roaming this earth, believing in different gods – or the same gods with different agenda's...are they all happy? Or do they just think they are?

      May 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  16. Joel3

    Build a relationship with Christ. He will fill in the gaps and sustain your happiness eternally. You will never find happiness in this world without him, maybe for a little while, but it never lasts.

    May 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Implying

      >implying I left gaps in my life that needed to be filled by a storybook character

      May 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • whatever

      brainwash much?

      May 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • ThirdWard

      So you're implying that I'll be only temporarily happy unless I believe in the same imaginary friend that you do? I'll pass.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Talon6

      How utterly ridiculous. Go peddle your goofball myths somewhere else.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • SCOTO

      Glad you made that clear to me. Here I was thinking that I was a happy atheist but turns out it wont last. Boy am I bummed

      May 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Jessica

      Joel – with or without Jesus, you'll go through periods of unhappiness – thats called being human, real and honest. To suggest those who "find jesus" will never be unhappy again is a delusion and lie, and frankly as a christian, you shouldnt be spreading lies. Maybe for you, personally, you havent ever been unhappy since finding jesus...at all, period, not even for a moment or a day...but im willing to bet in your heart of hearts, even you know that is a lie – and if you really believe in God and Jesus, then you'll know HE knows you arent being truthful. Being unhappy happens, sometimes things happen in our life that cause great unhappiness. Frankly, if you are utterly blissfully happy while you wife, brother, mother or grandfather is dying of an illness, or struggling with a disease, somethings terribly wrong with you.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Terry

      I totally agree! God Bless.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • Mark

      As an agnostic, I am fine with the "possibility" there might be a god, or not, but no need of churches or the word of any other man to find contentment in my life. To read the differing variations though, it did not surprise me that the "faith" leaders idea of happiness was only through their vision of it.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
    • KTM777

      Only retards say their way is the only path to happiness.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • JDinFLA

      Implying the gaps in your life couldn't be filled by a pack of hollywood screenplay writers – its just that un-interesting.
      The storybook characters got one up on you.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • happychappy

      Happiness is a state of mind, from the way you think. Many use faith... pretend their faith/god will protect them and feel secure be happy. Its all how you work your mind with your thinking. One doesnt have to believe in god to find happiness. Many have been killed in the name of religion..along with all the talk of love and happiness religion also spreads hatred. Everyone has their own ways of finding happiness. Most sadness is caused by ones thinking also...reducing that can bring soem happiness.

      May 23, 2010 at 1:05 am |
    • happychappy

      Happiness is a state of mind, from the way you think. Many use faith... pretend their faith/god will protect them and feel secure be happy. Its all how you work your mind with your thinking. One doesnt have to believe in god to find happiness. Many have been killed in the name of religion..along with all the talk of love and happiness religion also spreads hatred. Everyone has their own ways of finding happiness. Most sadness is caused by ones thinking also...reducing that can bring some happiness.

      May 23, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  17. No Jesus = Know Happiness

    The fact that I was able to get out of religions makes me happy every day of my life. Every day when I read a religious comment or pass a church, I'm happy knowing I'm not one of them

    May 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Cathy A.

      The most liberating day of my life was when I had my epiphany that there is no god, no heaven, and when we die, we die. At that moment, I was in complete control and no longer afraid of death. It's an amazing feeling!

      May 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • :D

      Exactly! It was hard to take in myself too but when I finally accepted that it was ME who was in control of my life, it was liberating! When we die, we die, so I better live life to the fullest now instead of drudging along assuming that 'my next life' would be the one that wouldn't suck. I need to work on my one and only life, right now!

      May 21, 2010 at 9:33 am |
    • AndresUppsala

      Each and everyone is responsible for their own happiness.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • Sven

      That's great that you are able to find your own happiness. Some people find it through religion, others do not. To each his or her own...just as long as we are able to live together in respect.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • TsirhCitnA

      Yes, it was a great relief to me when I came to the realization. I don't have to pretend that I believe in something if I don't. Those who question me be damned.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Glorifundel


      May 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Talon6

      Absolutely. You don't need mythical figures to be happy.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Roy

      Sven thinks that atheists need to respect those who would kill him/her if given the chance. Sven thinks I should respect people who think atheists are not to be trusted to the point that they would not vote for an atheist or allow their children to marry one. Sven thinks I should respect delusional people. I don't. I'm polite and courteous and I wouldn't hurt a religious person but respect them, no way.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • john

      I agree. One day I realized that if one throws a hundred pennies into the air and one happens to land on one's head. Not a blessed penny ye penny be.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • Cindy

      Amazing what a sense of peace and a false sense of security Satan can give people!! I'd like to hear what ya'll have to say on Judgement Day! Of course you don't believe in that but that by no means makes it untrue.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • TsirhCitnA

      Cindy, please explain why my disbelief in a "judgement day" does not make it untrue, yet your belief in it does? Seems to be a double standard here.

      May 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Azariah

      There is a difference between joy and happiness.Happiness is conditional like if you loose your job sadness settles in but our joy is dependant on Jesus Christ so whether we have or we do not have sorrow is not part of our life because he is eternal and he lives in those who believe in him spiritually.This is beyond your comprehension.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • JB

      Here's a truth: do good just in case.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • disappointed

      TsihrCitnA you say "Yes, it was a great relief to me when I came to the realization. I don't have to pretend that I believe in something if I don't. Those who question me be damned."
      Yet all you've been doing on here is questioning others for not pretending to NOT believe in something they DO believe in. seems so me that you are also holding a "double standard"– as you accused Cindy of doing.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
    • Davo

      Look at the solar system and how complex it is. Look at the environment and earth and how intricately it works together. Look at your own body and how all those systems, even at the cellular level, all work together so that each breath you take or food you eat keeps your body going....How can you live on this earth in your body without acknowledging that everything is so intelligently and sensitively put together that there must be a God to do it. You are not a random explosion or the great, great, great, great grandchild of an amoeba. To live your life thinking that you will be happier by ignoring God will only result in an empty void in your life. It takes more faith to believe that there isn't a God, than to believe that you were wonderfully made by him for a purpose. True happiness is understanding that purpose and fulfilling it.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's really sad how people look for "a purpose" in life. There isn't any! You make each day the best you can. There is no more and no less. Do good. Help each other. Care about each other.

      There is no "grand design"! Is Earth special? In this solar system it may be, but not in this galaxy. There are plenty of other worlds, teaming with life. We are not so special that some "being" created us...

      May 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • sm

      Some of the most religious people I have known are also the people I have seen who would never hesitate to deceive and ruin somebody's life for their own benefit. Are they 'happy'? Sure they think they live in blissful happiness, because they have everything they want in life (at the cost of somebody else's happiness!). These are the people who are firm belivers in God (not necessarily Jesus), spend hundreds of dollars attending spiritual retreats to learn how to mediate and how to live their live 'better'. But when it comes to treating the people around, I have seen some of them turn out to be the most cunning and selfish people because that is what would help them get ahead in life and that is what would make them 'happy'. Perhaps that is their formula for happiness!

      On the other hand, I have seen several people who do not follow any religion, and hence have no 'guidance in life', will never even think about cheating or doing any harm to any other person for their benefit.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • KTM777

      Cindy is stupid. Only stupid people think their way is the only way to happiness.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
    • Faith, love, mercy, purpose in life = Happiness

      It's pretty sad you are relating Jesus to just being inside a church. You clearly had a bad experience at a church probably because you weren't there for the right reasons. If you just went to a church to have a moment of quiet and to engage in your own moment of reflection that would have been a great experience, but it seems like you were getting involved with what others thought and/or at judging others, and thats not why anyone should be in church for. A happy person can be anywhere on their own and be happy, because that's what their life is full of. It brings happy people a lot of happiness to know what Jesus were and are and has done for humanity and use His example of life to do the same and help other and do things from one's soul, love and mercy and great feelings. It really must be really sad a person that lives everyday thinking that life is just this you see today. That must be depressing. I'm happy to believe I have a soul and not just flesh and that I am living an honest life and trying to help others in the way, seing you can make someone else's life easier and happier brings happiness. And those that share their wealth in this world will gain the real "wealth", the one that matters.

      May 22, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • JDinFLA

      If you came to the realization that you don't have to pretend that you believe in something if you don't. Then why would others be dammed for questioning that?
      What do you know of damnation?

      May 22, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Paul Pena

      The greatest day of my life was when I realized that atheism is completely shallow and devoid of meaning and a faux religion. I wake up every day saying thank God I'm free!

      May 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • daniel tovin

      AMEN! I too escaped the hell known as culturally constructed organized religion. Once I finally broke free of the mind control (which is all religion is), I experienced happiness and joy. If only more people would stop ceding their agency to
      a fictional fairy tale and started using their mind, rather than letting someone else control it be feeding it rot, perhaps more people would truly be happy.

      May 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • King Near

      My own experience with religion was tortuous. Faith, a 'personal relationship', meaning of life, purpose, or whatever your sales pitch is: a load of bullox in my case. For some people I have witnessed the opposite, so I'm not going to say that you can't reach happiness through religion. I think it is relative to what you really believe deep inside yourself. I never really believed in God, so the deeper I went into religious practice, the more tortuous it became. For those who confess that they can't see the world any other way, the more in tune with their beliefs they were the happier they were. In the end I think we cannot definitively answer our questions about life and the universe. All we can do to find fulfillment is build or latch onto conceptions of reality that match how we intuitively see the world. Of course, some see it as inherently negative, and I'm not sure you can be 'happy' with such basic views. Hopefully it is possible for everyone to find some form of contentment, but that may itself be a contestable claim.

      May 23, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  18. Dave24


    May 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  19. kl chipman

    i think that happiness is overrated. people try too hard to achieve it. if you can simply be content, and appreciate what you already have, then you are well on your way to happy!

    May 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Someone

      I would further that I think your definition of contentment is actually true happiness and what 'society' tells us should make us happy is the opposite actually.

      May 21, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Kid G


      May 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Lionel

    its not hard to decide whether you are happy or not al you need is to be honest to yourself and look at your life..and then its simple when something is broken you take it to the guy who made it so when you broken take yourself to the one who created you!God

    May 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • Enrique

      Well said!!!

      May 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • TsihCitnA

      I think you typed "mom and dad" wrong. Or is god a short way of saying that these days?

      May 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Jen

      fasciniating to note that those affiliated with the church believe happiness comes from faith in God, compared with others who state happiness comes from good relationships, family, helping others etc. I think faith in God can lead to happiness but certainly that is not the only path to happiness.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • MD

      TsihCitnA : I think 'mom & dad' are retailers and God is the manufacturer.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Talon6

      Which god? Allah? Krishna? Bhudda? Sorry, no mythical, invisible men for me. Don't need them.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jessica

      MD – does the manufacturer offer warranties? Never mind, his warranty is "FREE WILL"...takes credit...but not responsibility, typical man.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Glen

      Buddha is not god. Buddhism does not confirm or deny the existence of god. Buddhism has "religious" practices that help you to explore your own potential to become happy.

      May 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Vincent

      Lionel, which god though?

      May 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • RxSx

      To Talon6 Budha isMyhical as much as Jesus.. get a history Lesson..

      May 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • John

      '...meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.' Perfectly said without the presumption that anyone(no mention of god here) else but yourself is responsible for your happiness.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • D Nelson

      Actually, Talon6, Buddah is not a god. He never claimed to be divine in any way (he was a real person). The Buddah is not worshiped, his teachings are what people follow in their search for enlightenment.

      God, Allah, Bragwan, YHVH (pronounced Yahwey), and about 70 other names all mean God. All refer to the one and the same God. Whether you believe in that God or not is a completely different matter.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Jemo

      @RxSx -Buddha can refer to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni or to anyone who has attained full enlightenment. There is your lesson.

      May 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Tbyrd


      I agree with your comment. I also believe that happiness comes from within and when it comes to faith, God gives us choices in our lives to find out what makes us happy. Sometimes, we don't see it right away, but the older you get the more you find out about what happiness is all about. It all comes from within yourself and this is about being honest with yourself and to the people that love and care about you, my friend.

      May 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • LS

      Quit fighting about God and go look for Him.

      May 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • iamtheone

      ...some people try so hard and they never succeed, while other try very little and they succeed; is that the kind of imperfect happiness going, or the byproduct talking about? the end result of that purpose and goal in life–what we call luck??

      May 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • Joey

      you have an interesting point, but for those who dont have any beliefs cannot benefit from that statment. The way i look at it is, if your happy with yourself and your surroundings then thats good, if you don't then you have to step up to the plate and make yourself happy. Happieness doesnt come on it's own, live up to your expectations and you will be happy, if you think that god will make you happy, its immpossible, your an individual in this huge world and no one but yourself can make anything out of happiness unless you push your ass towards it. by the way, for those religious belivers take no offence, this is just the way " I " look at this things and look at them perspectivaly.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • banu

      Happiness does not come when you are true to yourself. It comes from realizing your full potential and utilizing your god given talents to the fullest. I have seen lot of honest people mentally tortured and contemplating suicide and even commiting suicide. So honesty is not a factor of happiness. As a human, try to extend yourself to the fullest.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Happy One

      I read a bunch of these posts and I noticed something. Many of the people claiming to have found happiness seem to have hatred for religion. Here is a question to think about.......If anger exists....can happiness? If so are you really happy?

      May 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's easy when there is nothing else to look for. Open your eyes, your mind and your heart. It's all around you.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • David

      Once I stopped letting folks succeed in making me feel guilty for things out of my control or for unintended consequences, I became a much happier person. To be honest, the first step to this was leaving religion (and in the process shock my parents). I was tired of the mantra that we are all unavoidably sinners and supposedly guilty of so many things on a daily basis.

      Am I saying anyone is perfect? Absolutely not. But I am saying a life that de-emphasizes feelings of guilt for doing nothing wrong (intentionally) is one that is happier, and it need not devolve into a life of immorality. Some of the most respectful folks I know are atheists (but I certainly know plenty of fantastic Christians and folks from other religions as well).

      There are plenty of paths to happiness, and my experience (anecdotal evidence) is that religion is not the best. That said, the search for truth should weigh heavier in religious beliefs; my search led me away from religion and happiness was actually just the byproduct.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No one should guilt you into thinking that their viewpoint is correct.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • Lee

      Any happiness that is attributed to a "relationship with god" is a delusional happiness similar to a lobotomy patient or the town drunk. Take your pick.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • jdm

      CNN should do this survey with people who are just people and not ministers of religion, like a policeman, a nurse, a teacher, a construction worker, a grandparent, a homeless person, an immigrant... now that would be more interesting and enlightening. This was very predictable.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
    • Tetris

      Debates on the existence of God are pointless really. Belief in anything we can't see, touch, understand is really just hope. We hope like heck we are right about our beliefs. If you believe in God, awesome! I know so many God-fearing people who are incredibly great people. Don't believe in God, super! I know a lot of people who don't subscribe to a religion who are incredible people. The bottom line IMHO is this.....when we believe something so strongly, we hold to it and defend it because we have so much hope tied to it. This is a good thing because I think hope contributes significantly to happiness. Without hope, you really do have nothing indeed. However you find your hope, religion or otherwise, more power to you. As far as the existence of any specific God, the only RATIONAL thing we can do is to admit that we really DON'T KNOW. In the end, we will all find out if we are right or wrong....or not. Who knows really anyway!

      FWIW, I do think there is a higher power. I am a scientist and think that the level of complexity and order in the universe could not have just happened by itself. Big Bang? Where did the gases come from in the first place? Point singularity? Where the heck did that come from. On the other hand, if you are a Christian, do you really feel that a wonderful, caring, honest and giving person who happens to practice a different religion SHOULD be doomed to hell? Think about that for a minute. If you happen to be born in a culture that does not believe in your religion, oh well, too bad. Really?

      Bottom line for me...while I feel that there must be something responsible for all of this, iI don't know what it is! I subscribe to the Christian God because that is what my parents taught me, however, I refuse to tell someone else that they are wrong when I really DON'T KNOW.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Ramesh

      Generally, we would define happiness as a state of mind or a type of emotion that indicates we are enjoying the moment. We often work hard to reach and retain that state, but we find it is ever elusive. Why? Our happiness is solely dependent on pleasant situations. In other words, something has to happen externally that is favorable to us to keep us happy. Unfortunately, none of the external things are dependable, because of their two characteristics: ever changing and perishable. That means we are looking at the wrong places. That is why the question “where” is more important than “what” in regards to happiness. We all know the lost key story of Mullah Nasruddin. In this story Mullah was frantically searching under the street light, knowing well that he had lost the key in the house. Obviously, he is trying to indicate that we are looking for happiness at the wrong place.

      But truly speaking, happiness comes from deep inside. We experience the glimpses of this happiness now and then, whenever a gap occurs in a stream of thought. The true happiness is possible only when we have access to the inner stillness that is inseperable from the inner being. We can call this as a soul, atman, higher intelligence etc., Names doesn’t matter here. What is preventing our access to inner being? Our incessant thoughts put a veil. The only way to realize joy or happiness within ourselves irrespective of the external situations is by the cessation of the modifications of the mind – Patanjali Yogi. This is possible only when we can free ourselves from our mind.

      I just want to quote Echart Tolle from the book “Power of Now” here:

      “The moment you start watching the thinker (incessant thoughts in your mind), a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.”

      Then we can understand the true meaning of happiness. Bible says “The peace that passeth all understanding”. Adhi Shankara says in Vivekachudamani the state of the awakened one is similar to “Witnessing the sudden stoppage of waves of the ocean”. This peace helps us to understand our true nature which is happiness. Sufi Poet Rumi says: "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." All other definition of happiness is every elusive.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
    • vira Chorney

      very true,
      thank you very much,
      answered a lot of my life questions!!

      May 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • munazar

      yes there is a secret ingredient to being happy that is only try to be happy if u fail try and try again you will become happy jut try it

      May 22, 2010 at 1:32 am |
    • munazar

      yes there is a secret ingredient to being happy that is only try to be happy if u fail try and try again you will become happy jut try it

      May 22, 2010 at 1:34 am |
    • Sarah Almeida

      I am an Atheist and I'm happy! Explain that, HA! 🙂

      May 22, 2010 at 2:43 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      The atheists are pretty persuasive. They prove Lionel's point.

      They seem bitter, miserable, and intent on spreading it.

      May 22, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • Ruth

      Very true!....

      May 22, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Prometheus

      What makes me happy is health, wealth, and doing the things I love to do like sports e.g. surfing-cycling, exercise, yoga, preparing good food, reading, writing (email, books, screenplays), helping others, playing my classical/jazz guitar, travel, fishing, exploring nature, watching movies-TV, studying science, talking with friends, sharing photos, listening to unbrainwashed children talk and discover life, making new friends, debating, making love etc etc. If you ask a Muslim Taliban member what makes them happy you'll get a brainwashed answer just like you'd get from an American Baptist. I am much happier as a Godless American than I was as a Theistic God believing American. Religion is a delusion filter that clouds and distorts, and can poison everything. I suggest trying the reality God, Goddess Mother Nature. John Muir and John Lennon got it right.

      May 22, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • meileen

      Too bad no women were asked to comment...

      May 22, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Barbara Bergdorf

      Don't know your age, Lionel...but YOU have it ALL figured out! God is HAPPINESS. God first, others second, you third.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:07 am |
    • JDinFLA

      Lionel...- Couldn't have said it better

      May 22, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • trumpsahead

      When you know who you are and know you strive to be a good soul; when you are content when alone; when you feel a deep attachment to nature around you; when you express passion through music or painting or other artistic endeavors; all this is an inner happiness and a comfortable contentment. However, when our govt demands that we look to them for leadership by way of granting "permission to act" then refuses to do anything about gigantic oil spills except complain, when technology, equipment and citizens sit idle awaiting govt direction in LA and "need permission" to act on their own behalf, when govt refuses to close our borders when 85% of its citizens demand it and AZ begs for help, when our govt spends so much money we are bankrupt and our currency will be crushed within a year or two, when Katrina victims begged for help and govt did not respond, when false flag terror attacks occur regularly in our country, it is very difficult to feel happiness unless you are oblivious or selfish to a fault. True happiness comes with a deep feeling of Freedom, without and within.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, Lionel is mistaken. My mother and father made me.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Jeff

      Having come from the path of anti-dogmatic religion in my youth into a light of greater peace and understanding, I will admit that at times I leaned towards athiesm. However, my thoughts are more akin to those of the more ambivalent speakers here. For those who have chosen athiesm, I have to beg the question: is it necessary that a relationship with or an appreciation for the unknown force of unlimited energy and its culmination into matter and information be linked to some form of religious insitution? To have disdain for organized religion is not uncommon and I know how that feels, but ultimately your hate burns only you. To deny the social structures which have been formed in an attempt to control sects of society is NOT to deny the possibility that some devine creative force exists. They are separate issues. To inextricably link one to the other only creates a handicap: rather than understanding that faith is a necessary force in dealing with the unknown, especially within yourself, an intentional denial of the value of faith will only prohibit you from reaching your full happiness and potential.

      May 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Paul Pena

      <> Mom and dad enjoy themselves for a couple of moments and they "made the child". And the other 9 months? Oh, yeah that was God (or nature if you're so inclined). Boy people will take credit for just about anything

      May 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • albie

      How about Santa Claus or other mythical creatures? Zeus anyone?

      May 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Mr. Truth

      Happiness comes from self-confidence. Love yourself ... repect yourself ... believe in yourself. You make you Happy!!!

      May 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • SNAFU

      I have to agree with Tetris. There are a lot of questions we cannot answer about the world and everything in it. I also believe that different belief systems (including atheism) have their merits. Most (if not all) belief systems have had periods in the past that have been dark or sketchy, and there are always going to be people who want you to believe the same things that they believe. In the end it is up to you, the individual, to decide whether or not to follow certain paths.
      I guess part of what makes me happy is that I can respect other people's viewpoints. In tuth I don't like arguing about religion...or politics...or other people's mommas..... :S

      May 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Jerry

      There is no proof of GOD. Just be happy because you woke-up and your arms and legs work, as a vietnam vet I an happy everyday.

      May 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mike

      Buddha (or Bhudda, see Talon6 :P)(also for the record there are many buddha's; enlightened people. I am referencing Siddhartha) never proclaimed to be a god nor does the dharmma teach this. Thats a personal or cultural choice believing in a higher being(s). I believe that the above article contains wisdom that all faiths share but that one must have the courage to see it.

      May 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
    • tst

      well i tried to make a comment and couldn't get there – clicked on reply and so i am posting this for everyone. I think at this point 782 people have commented on a 4 word question – with the subject happiness. We all pretty much agree there is no perfect happiness, and that God (by the way capitalize the G when talking about our Christian God), a church, or even doing good deeds make you happy. The message is correct: do loving things for others. Human beings that help others out of love, compassion, and unselfish reasons are actually extensions of God and our Savior...by doing good deeds you are becoming extensions of our Creator. If you want to understand God, Jesus, Christianity – it will never happen until you love others and do good to them. God bless you all who are searching for answers – happiness is just a step and hand away....:)

      May 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • cambridge

      It is not happiness, but the peace of the soul when you accept the realness of THE FATHER, THE SON and THE HOLY SPIRIT in your life. For people who try to interpret the word falsely to fit their lifestyle, to those who try to find God in animals, trees, and sky, and those who claim to come after Jesus to speak for God, their happiness is one of a temporary high, a lie that leads them to ruin.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Jerad

      When something's broken I fix it myself, just saying.

      May 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.