A month or so ago I was doing some research for something non-religion related and came across a website that was a clearinghouse for every kind of conspiracy theory. They also had a page dedicated to attacking religion in general and Christianity in particular. This got me to thinking: It seems many atheists are awfully unhappy. I’m currently re-reading Fulton Sheen’s Your Life is Worth Living and came across the following passage:
Let me tell you the story of an atheist in London, England. I used to do considerable work in St. Patrick’s Parish, in Soho Square. One Sunday morning I came into the front of the church to read Mass, and found a young lady standing in front of the communion rail harnaguing the congregation. She was saying, “There is no God! There is too much evil in the world! Reason cannot transcend sense! It is impossible to conclude to his existence!” “Every night,” she said, "I go out to Hyde Park. I talk against God. I circulate England, Scotland and Wales with pamphlets denouncing a belief in the existence of God."
As I reached the communion rail, I said to her, "Young lady, I am very happy to hear you say you believe in the existence of God."
She said, "You silly fool, I don’t!"
I said, “I understood you to say just the contrary.” Suppose I went out every night to Hyde Park and talked against twenty-footed ghosts and ten centaurs. Suppose I circulated England, Scotland and Wales denouncing a belief in these ghosts and centaurs? What would happen to me?"
She said, "You would be crazy! They would lock you up!"
I said, "Do you not put God in the same category as these fantasies of the imagination? Why would I be crazy attacking them and you not crazy attacking God?"
She said, "I don’t know. Why?"
I said, Because when I attack these phantoms of the imagination, I am attacking something unreal, but when you attack God, you are attacking something as real as the thrust of a sword. Do you think we would have any such thing in the world as prohibition unless there was something to prohibit? Could there ever be anti-cigarette laws unless there were cigarettes? How can there be atheism unless there is something to atheate?"
She said, "I hate you!"
I said, 'Now you’ve given the answer."
Atheism is not a doctrine, it is a cry of wrath.
Fulton also wrote that there were two kinds of atheists, one who concludes there can be no God based on reading a smattering of science, and the militant atheist who does not so much as deny the existence of God as defy God.
Now, I realize I am generalizing a bit. I’m sure there are many happy atheists out there (probably the first kind of atheist that Sheen refers to). But it seems there an awful lot of them out there who are unhappy (usually the militant atheists). I’m thinking of the Madelyn Murray O’Hair variety who campaigned to have prayer removed from schools, and those who file lawsuits to have ‘In God We Trust’ removed from currency, state flags, to have 'under God’removed from the pledge, who campaign to have all public displays of religion (crosses, manger scenes, etc) banned, or those who who write books attacking belief in God (like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins). I find it rather ironic, because these people who attack believers for proseltysing and attempting to convert people to their religion are themselves shoving their beliefs down others throats. Ironic too, in the fact that atheism is a belief in a negative, while religious believers, whether Christian, Jew, Hindu, Moslem, pagan etc. (in fact the majority of the people on this planet) believe in something, whether it be a deity or deities (I’m inclined to believe there are no true atheists- they worship something other than God, whether it be themselves, sex, science, nature, etc).
So if atheists are right, and they are free from the bugaboos of religious ignorance and superstition, they should be the happiest people on the planet. But it seems to be otherwise.