Atheism and Happiness

So atheism and happiness seems to be bouncing around, as ever, around atheist circles on the internet as to who's happier: atheists or theists? (As far as I'm aware agnostics get marginalised at times; for reasons I'll go into later, the argument doesn't interest me that much.) People put forth study after study, shiny graph after shiny graph, hell, they even whip out some anecdotal evidence if they're feeling a bit lazy. And the flamewars, they burn...They very quickly seem to degenerate into personal attacks and essentially seem to run on stupid.

Call me an idealist, but I expected better from people. After seeing people fuck up so much, I still expected better from them.

I'm an idiot. But I digress.

All these arguments hinge on the idea that whether atheists or theists are happier actually matters to whether atheism or theism is right, which - as the quote in the picture helps to illustrate, and as common sense should show - simply isn't true. Happiness has no bearing on whether something is right or good, and we shouldn't pretend it does. Happiness may make something more desirable, but if we're basing arguments for atheism and theism on which one is more desirable as opposed to which one is actually right, we might as well drop any and all pretences that we're concentrating on the latter. And because I'm more interested in the truth of atheism than its desirability, the argument doesn't interest or concern me.

And while I'm on the subject of atheism and happiness, I might as well talk about something that really pisses me off - theists being patronising about how atheists are bitter because they don't have a personal relationship with God, or something like that. I know not all theists are like that, but the ones that are seem like shitty people. I suppose I'll have to crack out the anecdotal evidence here...

...I'm an atheist. I also happen to be an atheist who has been fairly miserable for much of the past three years, miserable enough to attempt suicide twice and spend much of the rest of that time wishing I weren't alive. Your opinions may differ as to whether I'm just melodramatic or whether (besides melodrama and my existence, of course) there's something wrong with me.

And if any theist says it's because I haven't found God, I will have trouble reining in my anger. I'll admit it now - when I get particularly desperate I wish I had a God to pray to, simply because it would be wonderfully comforting and reassuring to believe that some higher power were looking after me, or that there was some rhyme and reason to what I go through. (If anyone's going to flame me for this they can fuck off.) But I don't turn to any deity because I don't think there are any deities out there. My attitude to life is such that I would prefer to think I'm closer to the truth and be miserable for it than to be happy intentionally believing something I think is false, which is why I stick to atheism. Moreover, I don't know whether I would be happier were I religious, because I've never tried (because I still think religions have got it wrong) and because other people seem to have had experiences to the contrary.

Atheists get miserable. Theists get miserable. Sometimes perhaps we all wish we could think something else and be happier that way, even if it were wrong. That's probably the bottom line here.