After my last post, I spent a while playing with the GSS’s job satisfaction data.  I tried adding a kitchen sink of regressors to education and log real income: IQ, age, year, race, sex, church attendance, political ideology.  The negative effect of education and the positive effect of income on job satisfaction proved robust.  But so did one other variable: Biblical literalism

People who believe in the Bible’s literal truth (BIBLE=1) are much more satisfied with their jobs than people who believe it’s just a book of fables (BIBLE=3).  Remember that higher numbers mean lower satisfaction.  The results:


Relatively speaking, this is a huge effect. But what’s going on?  It’s not just a disguised left-right effect; Biblical literalism crushes self-identified ideology in a multiple regression.  And it’s not a disguised social support effect; Biblical literalism crushes church attendance, too.  Marxists will no doubt claim vindication for their view that religion is the opium of the people.  But you could just as easily conclude that traditional religion successfully teaches gratitude.