Sincere believers are happier than atheists (and I am an atheist)
Debate Rounds (3)
SloppyJoe6412 forfeited this round.
Debater0987 forfeited this round.
I was raise a Catholic, but never really got into it. Like so many others, I attended church as a child, without receiving any strong impression, first I was just bored, then a little more indignant as I learned about the evils committed in the name of religion, finally I grew up, I drifted away from my parents' faith, and I have been an atheist ever since.
My point is, we humans are not as strong minded as we would like to believe. We are full of fears, the most universal of them being fear of death. What support does atheism gives for that? Knowing that death is the end of it all does not sound like much of a support. I believe that we are at some intermediate point in evolution: unlike animals, we know that life is finite and can predict with reasonable accuracy when our own end is near. But we are not mature enough to accept it. I mean accept it in the deeper sense, not simply acknowledging the fact, but being able to live with it without fear.
What does religion offer us in that regard? Peace of mind. And this is when my definition of "sincere believer" comes in. I mean someone who truly believes in God, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any deity you can name. Someone who has the internal certainty that there is a superior being watching over you, and that you -or some part of you, call it soul or any other name- will remain forever in his company. This has nothing to do with churchgoing. Some people may never step into a church, yet they do believe in God. And those who attend every Sunday but only for social acceptance purposes are no different from a non believer.
But church has more to offer than the afterlife. Let's talk about our everyday life. We are permanently anguished, stressed, we don't know what awaits for us in the future, and most of us are unhappy about one or more sides of our lives. Religion offers an explanation where we can find none. Take the Middle Ages: most people lived in physical misery, as slaves without hope for redemption. But that's what life was supposed to be. You were part of a larger community -a community of believers- and social ascension was simply not part of your horizon. How can you be psychologically unhappy then? The uneasiness of modern life is a consequence of our relative freedom and independence: when these are taken out of the equation, being "poor" loses its negative meaning.
Now it's time to discuss the many horrors committed in the name of religion, by any religion, be it current or past, Western or Eastern. Every one of them has, at some point, recommended brutality against others, and sometimes against their own flock. This can not and should not be condoned. However, it does not invalidate my argument. The fanatic whose life is driven by hate is not necessarily more unhappy than the peaceful believer who only wishes well to all of mankind. On the other hand, both get the psychological support we atheists do not get. Whatever they do, they have a higher authority to lean on: we do not.
I think all this makes us unbelievers unhappier. But of course there is no switch we can turn to automatically turn into "happy believers" -I'm talking about sincere beliefs, the kind that can not be faked, and therefore we can not have.
Debater0987 forfeited this round.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.