Why are atheists so unhappy?

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.

Because happiness requires self-deception. For the serious person, being an atheist sucks, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, because it leads to meaninglessness. Some people can get away with pretending to believe in nihilism (if you ever probe them far enough, however, you will likely discover that their nihilism is a fraud) and still be happy. I cannot.

You got any stats on that?

I know lots of atheists and they don’t seem more or less miserable than anybody else but, of course, I live in society where the ‘totally indifferent’ are in a huge majority.

I am what most of you would call a ‘Militant Atheist’. I’m also a fairly happy person. I love my children, 3 boys and, I’m proud to say all Atheist. I’m more or less happily married, my wife is Catholic and we agreed to not push our beliefs on them other than to express our views and answer their questions. I guess they liked my answers better. I also have a lot of Atheist friends ‘all very happy’ This “atheists are unhappy” stuff is just another religious lie trying to keep the sheep from wandering to far from the flock. After all, who would want to be unhappy?

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IMHO, I don’t think atheists are necessarily more unhappy than anyone else. I’m come across several in my lifetime and they all seemed balanced, upbeat people. Like everything else, it’s the fringe elements that give them a ‘bad’ name.


Why are atheists so unhappy?

We’re not. :smiley:

Was that a worldwide study?

The thing is that being an atheist in the US (where people, in general, rather care about religion) is probably an entirely different experience from being an atheist in, say, the UK (where people, in general, don’t).

To answer the question, consider
HOW some become athiests.

I personaly know some that were
damaged a great deal by there
religion BEFORE they became athiests. So if they are unhappy, this was the end effect of when they WERE religious.

But in general, let me ask you a question. Why would an athiest
not damaged by religion be unhappy?

They have everything that makes
people happy. Family career hobbies etc…etc…

They are just probably not extremely worried about what happens after death.

Tough, ground-in stains? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure I’d agree with the premise. In my atheistic phase I was extremely happy :smiley:

And the feeling, when it came, that there may be something more to life, than simply living and dying, didn’t make me unhappy either :smiley:

However, some so called apologists and so called christians/catholics really do seem to have the gift of making anyone near them want to run a mile :stuck_out_tongue:

OK, you got me there. tough ground in stains do make me rather unhappy. :smiley:

How would you react if your children became Catholics (since you’re proud to say they’re all atheists)?

I guess that’s hard to say since they are Atheist. I’d like to think that as long as they’re doing well in school and don’t turn to a life of crime and drugs then I’m proud of them still. The important thing is that they follow their own path and that that path leads them to happiness. If I’ve done my job right ‘as I believe I have’ as their father then they’ll be OK.

Perhaps I should have titled by thread “Why are atheists so angry?” Again, I realize it is a bit of a generalization. Many are as Kaninchen said, indifferent. But it seems there are many who seem to be as aggressive in spreading their belief system as they claim religious people are in spreading theirs.
For years I was an agnostic. I thought religion was a bunch of foolishness. But I could never understand the radical atheists who went around forcing their beliefs down others throats. If you don’t believe in something, fine, but live and let live (I think these people seem to forget the Constitution guarantees freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion). . A good many people in this country are at least nominally Christian and celebrate Christmas in some fashion, so why do these radical atheists get their knickers in a twist when a manger scene is put up? I could see their point if they were compelled to attend religious services or display religious items in front of their home, but this isn’t the case, so why be a dog in a manger? I think such actions are hypocritical.
For those here who are atheists, may I ask what brings you to this forum? Not trying to be rude, just curious. It’s just that when I was an agnostic, I would have had no interesting spending time on any religious forum.

If being an atheist makes you happy, and my being a believer makes me happy, why then can atheists such as yourself who proclaim to be militant not understand that we (believers) are happy as we are?

I’m not in the least angry.

You can’t have one without the other.

How would you feel if the Satanists down the street displayed a sacrificial lamb slaughtering on one of their holy days? Or if the Moonies ran naked through the streets on one of theirs.

Why not hangout with the Catholics? They’re a nice bunch for the most if not a little to dogmatic in their approach to life.

If someone want to believe in god and live his life by the bible that’s fine. More power to ya, I hope you’re happy healthy and wise. It’s when people try to impose their religious beliefs on me and my world that I feel the need to fight back.

When was the last time someone imposed their beliefs on you? Unless you live in certain countries (like in the Middle East) where you are forced to observe a particular religion, in the West you are free to believe in any religion you choose, or to belief in nothing. Now, many religions have a missionary nature to them to spread their faith. Christians in particular belief their faith is “Good News” and desire to share it with others. Of course, there are some groups or even individuals who adopt a “hard sell” approach that turn others off. But if someone shows up at your door waving tracts in your face, you are perfectly free to slam the door in their face. There is no law compelling you to join their sect or even let them in.

That must be the same for both sides. I had a math teacher that was athiest, and constantly attacking the Church during class.
both ways we should be more respectfull.

But I understand why Christians do it, they mean no harm. Its just that they get the warm bubbly feeling
when they read the bible, and they assume you will get the same if they convince you.

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