I am an atheist and I strongly believe that I have been very happy. I have felt very free and it gives me more meaning to life. Plenty of people think that since they believe that heaven (or hell) is real it gives them more meaning to life because they know that they'll be going somewhere once they die. To me it is exactly the opposite, it gives me more meaning knowing that I only have one chance at life, I wont have anywhere to go to so why not make it the best? I mean think about it, millions and millions of people have died. They all went to either heaven or hell, so wouldn't heaven or hell be packed by now? Does God really have time to visit each and every single person who dies? So there isn't really much to look forward to. There are so many chances, so many opportunities in life, why waste it?
Atheist are happier people in general terms. Christians have the fear that if they act incorrectly that they will be punished, not only by law but by God. Atheists only have to think about the real punishments that they will face in their life. but other than those areas I would say all peoples happiness is about the same.
Since Atheist don't acknowledge a higher authority over themselves, the rules that an atheist live by have to come from their own deliberation. When a person thinks things out on their own, they are generally in agreement with the conclusion they reach, so when they act on those conclusions they are actually doing what they believe is the best and not just what someone else tells them to do.
Religious people are deluded and brainwashed and I don't understand how that could make them happier. Also, atheists are happier because they know that there isn't a higher authority than they, and also they are a LOT smarter than religious people because anyone with a rational mind knows there is no god.
I've been told that I am a number of things. My father told me I couldn't join the Navy because I could never live a regimented life, always being ordered around. I'm currently dating a Mormon and their faith is surprisingly restricting. The movie night I planned fell through because of it and no coffee dates either, I guess. All the rules seem pointless. Not just of Mormonism, but of many religions. Just as drinking is coffee isn't a sin, neither is sex before marriage. Or divorce. Or homosexuality.
Which leads me to another point. How can you be happy knowing that what you believe would paint others, people you may know to be kind, loving, trustworthy people, are evil, sinners, or somehow undeserving? At best you would feel guilty, at worst, you would develop an elitist attitude and scorn those people.
Happy doesn't always mean hedonistic, either, if that's anyone's thinking. I realize that happiness's definition is flexible among groups. If an atheist is happy, isn't because they have no rules, no "moral guidelines," and are out committing blatant acts of debauchery every night.
I also believe that religion acts like a security blanket. You believe that you're not just gone after you die. That you get a second, and eternal, chance. For us, this is all we've got. This one life to live and laugh and cry and choose and fight and play. We can't hold anything back because, for us, this is it...And, personally, I'm okay with that. Of course it's scary to think about, dying always is, but it doesn't make it any less inevitable.
Enjoy what you have, while you have it, and don't let anyone tell you how.
Being religious is like living in North Korea. You're living in the most totalitarian dogma of them all, and you cannot even escape it by dying. With atheism, you use your common sense and your love of life (because atheism leads to greater love of life than religion) to live your life. One effectively frees oneself from this totalitarianism, this embodiment of Orwell's dystopia.
The distorted moralities of religion oppress their populace. Religious people are oppressed by ridiculously strict laws. Religious people have no freedom to speak or even act in certain ways. A religious person does not have the right to speak or even think any form of thought or speech which would be deemed "blasphemy". Religious people are pressed by guilt for simply engaging in sex before marriage or masturbation, and this does not even reduce the frequency of such activities. The suppression of condoms also leads to the spread of deadly disease which kills millions of people every day. Atheists live without this.
Atheists don't start wars with other religions because they don't believe in a god because god is fake. They don't have rapists involved with their beliefs and we don't make up crazy stuff just so people can live good lives. They live good lives by just being good people which makes them happier. I was raised Christian but when I realized how fake everything was, I changed.
The ones on the internet seem mostly grumpy. People who are happy about their worldview don't generally need to spend so much time defending it. While this isn't true of all atheists, I do sometimes wonder if in going on and on about it so much, atheists aren't trying to convince others really; they are trying to convince themselves.
There are four broadly-accepted forms of happiness. Hedonic happiness is the result of pleasurable experiences. Eudaimonic happiness results from striving toward meaning and a noble purpose beyond simple self-gratification. Flow happiness comes from highly-focused activity and intention. Chaironic happiness comes from a feeling of union with divinity. The first three forms of happiness can become unobtainable due to factors beyond the control of the individual, however Chaironic happiness can persist even during periods of severe loss and suffering. This is certainly not to say that atheists can't be happy, but that there is a particular form of happiness that is closed to those who do not believe they can commune with the divine. Of course, very many religious folks don't really feel Chaironic happiness either, but it is a very satisfying and enduring form of happiness for those who choose to pursue it, and it does require some form of theism.
Theists follow religion they obtained from their parents blindly without much thought. That might not be wise but yet they are satisfied and contended with their stance in religion. Atheists ponder over various philosophical topics with no particular stance , frowning on religious behavior of majority of people in the world . Religious festivals like Christmas affect them the most.
From the atheists I personally know and come in contact with, they are definitely no happier and in fact may be more reclusive than the rest. Atheists have no guidance and may let fear and worry take over lives so much that it may send them in a negative direction without knowing they can do something about it.
I lost my faith when I was eight and haven't felt truly happy for years. I feel like one can truly feel happy when one believes there is a plan for all of us, hope for the future, and that someone is looking out for you. However, I cannot force myself to believe in God, nor does it make me feel more lucid or in control.
I am an atheist and have been most of my life. I was actually just talking to a fellow atheist about this and we agreed that our lack of religion actually causes a lot of our suffering. We feel that believing in a god would give our lives more meaning, and a more positive outlook.
It can be a factor though. In my case I believe it most certainly is. I am much happier now as an atheist than I ever was as a Christian. Though atheism may not be the entire reason for this, I certainly feel that it is a contributing factor in my case.
What I would certainly not say is that religious people are happier.
Religion, or lack there of, has no set effect on a group of people. Though it may effect everyone in a different way, it has more to do with the person themselves. Some who are religious are happy, outgoing, etc. Some of these people don't believe in all the things listed in their holy book. They may even have ideas of their own yet still believe in their God(s)/Goddess(es). Some who are religious are not happy, and may very well be controlling (ie: 'God Warrior'). The same thing applies to atheists as well. Some are happy, some are sad. A factor is one's outlook on life; and their will to want to be happy. Some may give in too easily while others would fight for their happiness. How they fight for it depends on the person.
While atheists can certainly have happiness in their lives, there is no greater joy to be experienced in this world than the one that is felt by those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. The further Christians get into their study of God, the more joy they have because they know the truth. Atheists can claim to be happier, thinking they know the truth, but Christians are by far the happiest because they know what comes after that final breath here on Earth.
This is kind of a weird question. Is there a way to quantify happiness? Yes, religion makes some people happy. Atheism also makes some people happy. Religion and atheism are also probably reasons that some people are sad/upset/angry, whatever. Happiness is such a complex idea, that saying a single factor is a reason for it seems simplistic.