While multiple research studies have sought to determine if Christians are happier than atheists, only one has considered this by relying solely on data from tweets. The results of this new study conducted by a research team led by University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter are published in the June edition of Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Ritter and his colleagues focused on over 877,000 tweets written by over 7,500 individuals following one or more of five well known Christians (Pope Benedict, Dinesh D’Souza, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, or Rick Warren) alongside over 1 million tweets written by over 8,700 individuals following one or more of five well known atheists (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Monica Salcedo, and Michael Shermer). The research showed that “Christians express more happiness than atheists in everyday language.”
I am sure this research will inspire others to explore the topic using data from Twitter. It is, however, interesting to note that the findings of this initial study are consistent with studies considering data sets generated from elsewhere (any and everywhere beyond the Twitterverse).
I am intentional about following a theologically and philosophically diverse group of people on Twitter. While my list does include more with positions similar to my own than those that differ dramatically, I do follow people on both lists included in this research.
Whether online or offline, what is your initial reaction to the following remark: “Christians express more happiness than atheists in everyday language?”Tweet