Do not be deceived by the title, for atheism does not promise ecstatic happiness, and in a way, it brings a sorrow into life but one accepted as part of the parcel. The joy that it brings, and the sadness, are so entwined they cannot be separated as though some kind of sadistic payment for the many benefits received. The deeper the Atheism, the greater the pain and the greater the pleasure. There can be no escape from this, nor do Atheists wish to, for the alternative would put us in the ranks of those who are unwittingly the enemies of the human race. Why would a sane person choose that option?
It is a considerably good feeling not to be amongst the soldiers of the enemy but a very bad feeling knowing that the enemy does not see itself that way, nor does it see the harm of the battle. There lays the sting in the tail of the joy. The heavy price accepted, proof in itself of the profound nature of the benefits that Atheistic thinking brings.
That humanity does not envelope itself in a no-god mind-set, makes by far its greatest error when rational thought stands available for use. Self-denial is extremely likely to end the human race and maybe the planet well before its time and surely that’s something to be somewhat despondent about. These thoughts alone are well comforted by having an understanding as to why, as well as producing an incentive not to be part of. In fact, Atheists are driven to fight against religions in every legal way possible. Fight against religions, not the religious.
To understand the concept of the joy of Atheism, let me run you through a thought experiment: A flying saucer lands on the Sydney Opera house. The whole world being awe struck by the incident takes on a feeling of wonderment about such a happening. A couple of aliens step out and tell us they are going to give us the technology for all to use. A generation later everyone has a personal flying saucer. Most people have an inkling how the proton thrusters and other stuff works and the flying saucers are now taken for granted, especially as nearly everybody has at least one.
The above mind story shows that when there was mystery, uniqueness, the unknown, strangeness, wonderment etc, people were awestruck. In other words they were experiencing joy. Later on when flying saucers become common place, a great deal of the before said elation disappeared. The questions, rather than the answers were the wonderment.
Religion offers answers, albeit, the wrong ones. Atheism asks questions and they are evidentially the right ones.
What joy can the workings of a universe bring if already believed that a god conceived and made it. Where is the wonder in that? It has been replaced by an iffy wonder in thoughts of an afterlife that is inexplicable. The rest taken for granted.
To look at nature and have the thought that it exists because God made it, takes away the mystery and the grandeur of unbelievably numerous natural processes at work. Infinitesimal particles observing immutable laws, joined in harmony of reaction together to make up all we can see and that which we cannot. No predetermined outcomes for our benefit alone, in a system, which has us as a thinking incarnate part of the whole. We live only because of coincidence of beneficial circumstance. A many faceted science strongly indicate that to be so.
Imagine all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the planet and try and picture they represent all the stars in the universe. A reasonable assertion, even considering the variables. Pick up a handful of sand and separate one grain. There you have our Sun, then imagine the Earth and the other planets revolving around it. Imagine then you are one of the six billion humans on this miniscule rock that takes a year to orbit the tiny grain of sand. Are you not completely blown-away by your insignificance? That we are so nothing certainly makes it a foolish and arrogant exercise to have notions of a personal god on side and even more arrogant to believe that others have the wrong god. Seen in the light presented, elicits possibly the biggest joy of Atheism.
It is so amazing that we exist and so more than misfortunate that we are misled by our evolutionary fears and hopes to a state of non-recognition of our extra-ordinary lucky position of being a conscious part of the universe. Our senses have been dulled by repetitious childhood inculcation and adult-made social structures built in support of our most basic instincts. If such confusion had brought happiness to most people most of the time then it may have some kind of excuse for its continuance, but the opposite is true. If the planet and all life forms somehow were also beneficiaries because of a primitive outlook, then maybe, it could be tolerated.
The pervasive harm, unhappiness and fear wrought by the religions of the world, so obvious to those who have escaped its clutches, is akin to a blight and unfortunately one invisible to the victims of a fraudulent ideology. Not only unseen in self, an acceptance of the misfortunes of others is swept under the mental carpet with quaint sayings such as ‘its God’s will’ and the like. Humans have made themselves slaves to God, instead of possessing empathy for their fellow humans and other sentient creatures. Religion has not ennobled humanity, it has thoroughly debased it and its use-by date, or ours, is nearly up.
As stated, we, the religious fugitives, have our lives enriched by a joy not accessible to the unfortunates of spiritual entrapment. We may share the pain of life in common with them but our escape takes us not into fantasy, rather into reality.
Atheist know that this be the only life they will have and to see existence in the raw and not in a fog of induced mindless inwardly orientated self-delusion brings a giant of a joy that only we can experience. Our equally gigantic sadness is not only that the fervent are totally denied possible joy, but also they deprive others of it, and in doing so, place the planet and its other life forms in unnecessary jeopardy.
By David Nicholls