Muslims have the highest belief in oneness, a German study has found, with higher levels of belief in oneness corresponding to higher levels of satisfaction with life, according to the researchers.
More than 67,000 people in Germany participated in a study by the University of Mannheim which looked at the correlation between oneness beliefs and life satisfaction.
The study, published by the American Psychological Association, proved the hypothesis of the main researcher, Laura Marie Erdinger-Schons, that oneness beliefs might explain people's life satisfaction better than religion.
"The results of this study reveal a significant positive effect of oneness beliefs on life satisfaction, even controlling for religious beliefs," she said.
Oneness, or tawhid, in Islamic thought refers to the indivisible oneness of God and is a central tent of Islamic religious belief.
Erdingor-Schons recognised oneness - "the feeling of being at one with a divine principle, life, the world, other people or even activities" - as a central idea in various religious and philosophical texts.
"In my free time, I enjoy surfing, Capoeira, meditation and yoga, and all of these have been said to lead to experiences that can be described as being at one with life or nature… I was wondering whether the larger belief in oneness is something that is independent of religious beliefs and how it affects satisfaction with life."
The survey looked at a range of religious affiliations and found oneness beliefs were very different across various religious affiliations, with atheists having the lowest levels of oneness beliefs and Muslims the highest.
The large survey followed Erdinger-Schons's original survey of 7,000 people. It asked participants to respond to statements on oneness as well as life satisfaction indicators.
While this study looks at broader notions of spirituality, a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found that participants who described themselves as "highly religious" were also more likely to say they were "very happy" with life.
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