Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
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16-12-2013, 10:24 PM
Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
One of the most common responses I get when I tell people that I am an atheist is "You mean you don't believe that there is anything out there? Well, that's depressing!"

I have never understood this argument. Why is it a requirement for me to believe in a god or gods to be happy? Every atheist I personally know is a happy, good-hearted person. Sure, we all go through our bouts with depression like any other human being, but we don't need to believe in a god to justify our happiness. In fact, the most depressing person to be around that I know is my Bible-thumping uncle, who says that this life doesn't matter to him and that only the afterlife matters. I love to learn new things and I like helping people when I can and it makes me feel good to help somebody out. Why do I need to believe in a god to do that? The way I look at it is that we only have one life to live, so why not make the most of it? I feel far better being an atheist and spending my time helping others than I would spending countless hours in a church worshiping some invisible being for which no proof exists, only because I had been indoctrinated with that belief.

What I do find depressing is the thought that without religion that people would have no morals. In other words, that people would run amok because they had no fear of going to hell. So, the reason that people do good is because they want to cover their own ass for the afterlife? Sorry, but that thought is depressing to me.

I can understand why atheism could seem depressing for theists to choose that road for themselves. They've been indoctrinated their whole life to believe in a god or gods, and the thought of that not being true scares the living crap out of them.

Do any of you also get this response when you tell people that you're atheist?

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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16-12-2013, 10:41 PM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
I think the main thought of Christian's who are using that argument is that their belief gives their life purpose. They have the answer to that nagging question, "why am I here?" And that answer satisfies them (in large part, I think) because it gives them purpose; a reason to get out of bed in the morning: to please god.
After my deconversion I struggled with feeling like there's no purpose to life... the main thought that helped me with that was something you touched on when you talked about your uncle. When I was a Christian I was always worrying/focusing on the afterlife and sort of felt like my life on Earth was meant to be a huge sacrifice for the reward I would get AFTER I died. Now, I'm able to live in the moment and focus on bettering myself and living a life that makes ME happy instead of desperately working to please some guy in the sky.
But, to answer your question, I've totally gotten this response from my Christian friends--and, to be honest, even I used to express that if I didn't believe in a god, I would just kill myself because life would be meaningless. That's truly the way they look at it.
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17-12-2013, 01:23 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
You should say "In early childhood, some children who have lower social skills often create an imaginary friend that is with them everywhere they go providing a false sense of comfort and joy that they can't seem to find around other real people. The other kids out on the playground having a great time don't appear depressed at all"

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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17-12-2013, 01:30 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
I occasionally get this. Not often IRL, but I'm in a liberal corner of the country and people don't have to go to the zoo to see an atheist.

My short response: "Don't knock it until you try it."

My somewhat longer response: "You can imagine that non-belief is depressing all you want, but why bother imagining? It's testable. We can actually look at the real world and check if your hypothesis about non-belief being depressing is true or false. Suppose we were to, say, track several thousand volunteer subjects, some atheists and some religious, and evaluate them for depression at regular intervals using standard psychological tests? If you're right, atheists would be more likely to become depressed than religious people. I, on the other hand, think that the tenets of religion are depressing. If I'm right, atheists would be less likely to become depressed than believers. Do you think this would be a reasonable experiment?" (If they agree...) "Psychologists actually did that a few years back. Religious people were roughly half-again more likely to become depressed than atheists. 7% probability for atheists. 10.3% for believers."

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17-12-2013, 01:33 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 01:38 AM by sporehux.)
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
It is quite depressing for a while after you lose your religion, much like an addict in rehab.

But once the answer to everything is taken away.
The awe of reality trumps an unprovable arbiter.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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17-12-2013, 01:47 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
It's depressing from a Christian standpoint because you're knowingly rejecting heaven. And heaven is the epitome of happiness with its gold mansions and songs of worship!
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17-12-2013, 01:58 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
It isn't depressing.

Whenever I am asked what about the greater purpose, the meaning of life, I ask, what meaning? We are an accident of nature through evolution. Show me your proof otherwise that there is meaning. Buddha figured this out before Jebus came along.

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17-12-2013, 02:01 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
Some people can't handle not being at the center of all creation. Well, sucks to be them.




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17-12-2013, 06:33 AM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2013 03:15 PM by grizzlysnake.)
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
But you're disapproving of their surrogate mother/father figureSad Not to mention the huge support group of saints! I mean, you can't call on Saint Anthony if you lost your keys anymore. ( I half expect it's polytheists considering there are all these saints around for specific purposes.)
Sometimes I think that's all that's left, many of them don't fully read the bible or understand it just what is spoon fed by a preacher. All they have is this "relationship" with God. Surrogate mother/father coping mechanism.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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17-12-2013, 06:42 AM
RE: Why Is Lack of Belief In a God/Gods Depressing?
What is depressing to me is that we have famine, pollution, climate change, and no meteor defense system for the planet, and we have morons fighting over whose sky daddy can beat up the other sky daddy. THAT is depressing to me.

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