Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happiness Beyond Belief

I have heard the faithful express a disbelief that someone can have a fulfilling or happy life without Jesus/God/L. Ron Hubbard (although usually Jesus). Why do some Christians have it in their heads that a life without the divine is a life without bliss?

The most elementary model of Hell is a place of fire. However, most people who have a college degree (sadly only about 25% of the US population) can tell you that Hell is probably not a literal place, more of a metaphor.

One of the most common descriptions of Hell among the more developed believers is an absence of God. To them, Hell is literally the place shut off from God’s love, so to be sent there is a horrible existence because they lack God.

In a previous post, I tried to explain that myth helps dictate how we perceive reality. It is the lens which distorts – or corrects – our perception of reality. The myth of Christianity has the believer perceiving an absence of God as agonizing, so the choice of the atheist appears to be an illogical, masochistic one.

If one digs deeper into the mindset of the believer, one encounters another strange connection. Sunsets, babies, flowers, talent, victory, food, health, and all kinds of great things seem to all be “gifts from God.” I’m sure some imagine that either an atheist cannot enjoy, or even possess, such things or they do not enjoy them to the fullest. Perhaps we atheists even hate these things because they’re God’s gifts!

Are atheists happy? It clearly depends on the atheist, but I would imagine they are as happy as religious people. Besides, what is happy? Is it a continuous feeling which never goes away? Happiness to me has always been a series of little joys experienced over time, with large periods of neutrality punctuated by moments of sadness and despair.

I often hear from believers that one cannot be happy all the time, which is a sentiment I tend to agree with. However, aren’t these the same people who conceive of a place called Heaven where happiness is constant and eternal? Is happiness of this sort possible, or is some degree of suffering required against which enjoyment can be measured?

So what makes an atheist happy? Reading a book about science? Denouncing other people’s beliefs? Child sacrifice? Serotonin?


  1. I've often wondered, if hell is simply an absence of God, then what's the difference between Gods complete absence now vs the after life?

  2. The religious believer again makes the mistake of assuming that everything comes from their imaginary god. Happiness is not a separate thing, it is simply what results when one fulfills ones values. As such, happiness is within the reach of almost everyone, and beliefs about gods have nothing to do with it.

  3. Now my question is: Can belief make one happy/happier?

  4. My Old TKD master used to say, " The purpose of life is to be Happy"

    He was a christian. However, he believed this stated purpose of his transcended religion, culture an geography. A christian's purpose may be serving God, a muslims purpose serving Allah, a hindu serving Ganesh, a parent may find purpose serving their children.... No matter what they percieve their purpose to be, they are seeking happiness in the pursuit.

    Can belief make one happier? Sure, just like being drunk can make someone happier - they are still intoxicated, but remain happy until it's time to awaken to reality.


If your comment is too long, break it into multiple comments and post them all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...