Atheists have it wrong.
The recent atheist bus ad campaign that cheekily states, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” has been a success in stirring up the age old debate on whether or not the “Big Guy in the Sky” exists. Atheists are entitled to their God opinion but the notion that if people stop believing in God they will be happy and enjoy life is paper thin.
Even if there is no God, the fact some people believe in one and this belief has helped guide them to a healthy and productive life, the concept is a success. So what if there is nothing in the afterlife, the fact people have lived a good life, whether guided by religious belief or not, is what really matters. Also, who is to say that believing in a God leaves you unhappy, especially if you never believed in one? How would you know about the level of happiness it does or does not provide?
Here is my take on this: I do not like working with numbers and I am thoroughly convinced accounting seems boring and think happiness can only be found in writing. However, I would never think of telling an accountant they should quit their job because I am so sure they will find happiness writing prose. Who am I to judge about the possible happiness carrying the decimal can bring to an individual?
I was raised in a Catholic family but I am pretty much non-practicing and consider myself more of a worldly spiritual person. Thanks to my job as a reporter and a constant travel bug, I have been introduced to a variety of wonderful religions, which all eerily have the same framework to me. What I have come to understand about a belief in God is this, it generally inspires good in numerous countries, from food drives, to volunteer work to providing the necessities of life. All this delivers happiness along the way.
Now, of course, believers are not exactly all that saintly. Extreme religious belief has caused thousands of wars and killed millions over the course of human history. Religious followers have done awful things, spreading hate and ignorance and generally been evil all in the name of their particular God. However, I challenge anyone to definitively say atheists do not have such twisted animals among their ranks as well.
If believing in something “gets you through” whether it is a death, dealing with illness or the tragedy of life, it is a valid fibre to have in your life. Yes, this also applies to atheists, if their belief in not having a belief is what gets them through, all the power to them, as long as they use it in a positive manner and do not disparage others- which they unfortunately seem to do consistently, whether in general conversation or on the side of a bus.