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Featured Atheists. Satisfaction? Happiness?

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by Xavier Graham SA, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love, is love, is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    How do atheists find satisfaction and happiness in life?

    A recurring theme I find while studying religion is the teaching that the only way to attain meaningful fulfillment and happiness in life is through spiritual practice. Communion with God. I think the opening Psalm is a good example

    1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

    2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

    3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

    4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

    5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

    6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

    Not to call atheists wicked, but from a theological perspective, to refuse communion with God is wicked.


    In my own life, when I walk off the altar of living sacrifice, and stray into spiritual apathy and darkness, I am never satisfied. I am in a state of disarray and fill my time with meaningless pleasures. The only time I feel truly happy is when I am fully into my spiritual practice and seeking communion with God continually.

    It is this communion with God that is the source of all happiness. For my own life, this holds true. Without God there is no satisfaction or fulfillment in anything I do. I feel like the tree planted by the stream when I am close to God, and feel like chaff when I stray.

    Why is this? I’m not sure how to explain it, this bliss that God offers me, which I often cast aside to allow myself to become miserable in worldly pleasures. But it is there. I’m sure fellow believers in the Almighty can attest to His comforting presence that only He can provide. Without God, there is no happiness.


    So how do you, as an atheist, find ultimate fulfillment in life? How do you find comfort without God? Is it possible for you guys to be truly happy? Atheists refuse communion with God, so I don’t think it is possible for atheists to be truly happy. How do you find ultimate purpose in life without God?
     
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  2. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Chatte Féministe

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    I'm most happy when I'm in the companionship of my family and friends (chosen family), or if I make a connection with somebody new and learn a little bit more about how someone else is experiencing the universe.

    I'm happy when my curiosity is teased or satiated when I come to a new understanding.

    I feel satisfied when I experience things like music, poetry, daydreaming, even ennui when I hunger for something beyond the mundane of the moment; because to be alive is to experience and to wonder.

    It surprises me that people struggle to understand why atheists/nontheists would be happy. I think we are happy for many of the same reasons: we just believe that any altruistic or empathetic things in the world have to come from us (as in humanity, or perhaps I shouldn't be anthropocentric and say sapient sentiences).

    There is no cavalry on the way. If we want a better world to live in and a better one to leave for those that come after us, it's up to us. There is something encouraging about that (though room for disappointment), and that itself is a sense of purpose.
     
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  3. John53

    John53 Well-Known Member

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    By doing things that make me happy, by keeping company with those who make me happy. I'm not sure why it's such a mystery to you.

    I don't know which God you believe in but do you think you are missing out on any happiness because you don't follow the thousands of other Gods?
     
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  4. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    Individuals are all different but in general terms most atheists will find satisfaction and happiness in exactly the same way most theists do.

    I would suggest that very few, if any, people actually achieve all of their satisfaction and happiness from a belief in a deity alone (however much some religions might try to sell that idea to us). Most peoples lives are much wider and more diverse than that.
     
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  5. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Sometimes I think Atheists may live more happily than many religious people, because an Atheist does not worry about what happens to them if they do something a God has told is wrong to do, they do not fear retribution from God. Many religious people fear their own weaknesses in the form of retribution or more suffering after they die.
     
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  6. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    I get happiness from family and friends.
    Also reading, walking, photography, pubs, rail travel, holidays ... I could go on

    You have to understand that atheists don't believe that god exists; he is a made up being. Thus threats of being wicked if you do not go along with the scriptures is meaningless, in the same way that atheists are sometimes threatened with eternal hell - we don't believe in hell either.
    So ... to refuse communion with a made up being is the only way forward.
    I could accuse you of being wicked because you refuse communion with (say) Poseidon or Woden - which I assume you would.

    I am pleased that you can find happiness with a god.
     
    #6 Altfish, Sep 16, 2021
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  7. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Shrugs. I tried.

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    Lots of times I go out in nature, meditate, and exercise. I journal a lot to get my head together and just be grateful that I'm alive and can do the things I do. Gratitude is one of my goals.

    I'm not familiar what "exactly" a christian god is. I get the concept of some gods but as ideas rather than actual beings. I don't see an idea of god benefiting me and I have no concept of god as a being to know whether it should or not.

    Yes. People get fulfilment in a lot of other things. Some people associate atheist=no religion but that's not always the case. People get fulfillment in their religions or just participating in their environment.

    I've never pondered the ultimate purpose as in "this is my purpose in life." It's too much work to think about and work towards. Just live and be grateful.
     
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  8. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
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    I suspect that many of us just have more courage (in confronting the power of religious beliefs) than those more easily placated by superficial explanations, and this latter often coming from times when knowledge was as rare as hen's teeth, and hence where authority (however derived) was often enough to quell the questioning.

    It seems to me that one has to overcome the hurdle as to expecting answers and to live a life which makes sense to one. And the more knowledge one has, often gained from science and associated areas, then life tends to make more sense - as to why humans are so stupid all too often, can be deceived, and often opt for the easier answers. If a religious person said they have done all this then why have they one particular religion over another? That hardly makes sense apart from religions arising locally and hence being the ones most likely passed on.

    As to what comfort I find in life - I don't - given that I think there are more than enough non-thinking in populations to mess up whatever progress the more thinking might want and strive towards. And the religious are hardly helping, in fact they are hindering such all too often, whether it is the Taliban or the fundamentalists from any other religion. The non-believers don't tend to do this.

    So no, I'm not particularly satisfied with life, but I do think I'm more realistic than most. :oops:
     
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  9. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Sounds like you might be describing a flow state.

    Flow (psychology) - Wikipedia

    If so, there are other ways to achieve this. I'll often get it on a long bike ride or when I'm absorbed in my work.

    Personally, I would have never even considered the possibility that worship of God could add anything to my life if it weren't for all the theists I see who say things like this.

    Even with that, I still don't see how worship of God would give satisfaction or happiness in anything other than the "everyone needs a hobby" sense.

    (Edit: or the "I get satisfaction from helping others, but I've been brought up to see my church as the default conduit for charity" sense, I guess)
     
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  10. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Talking only for myself, not for other Agnostics/atheists.
    I think "true" (sustained) happiness is only for the ignorant and the delusional. They are "happy as a clam" - without eyes or ears to perceive reality. Reality is serious stuff. I can have fulfilment, comfort and contentment, but happiness? Otoh, I have chosen reality over dreams and I am happy (see what I did there) with my decision.
     
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  11. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    FYI: I for one have never refused communion with God.

    I've refused plenty of people who promised communion with God, but I would say that's something different: proselytizers aren't the gods they proselytize for, and a promise of a thing with no apparent way to deliver is hardly the thing itself.
     
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  12. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Atheists don't go in for communion with imaginary dieties in the same way you don't go in for communion with imaginary pink unicorns. I am surprised that you consider your faith to have any meaning for an atheist. Well actually it does have meaning in misrepresentation. To know how an atheist attains happiness and satisfaction try walking a mile in atheist shoes rather than imposing your idea faith on them

    How I find fulfilment in life is with family, friends, nature, cycling, canoeing, walking. And the clever thing is, I don't lose any time attaining that fulfilment by chatting with imaginary friends.
     
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  13. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I can't help but notice that you asked a question regarding theists, then posted a psalm comparing those who embrace "spiritual practice" versus "the wicked."

    First of all, if by spiritual practice you mean only paying attention to gods and "souls" and such like things that can't be demonstrated, that would certainly eliminate atheists. But perhaps read The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville, the contemporary French philosopher. Instead of magical stuff, Comte-Sponville treats atheist spirituality as the ethical and moral framework and the interaction of humanity and the individual with his own existence. And that's pretty profound, really.

    And I could as easily ask how you find comfort with God, since all of your interactions together take place in the context of your own thoughts.

    But to answer your question, I -- an atheist -- find fulfillment by working to understand who I am in the context of the world and all that is in it. As Comte-Sponville says: "I cannot help thinking that if God existed, he should be easier to perceive or feel. All you would need to do is open your eyes, or you soul. I keep trying to do this. And no matter how wide I open them, what I see is the world and what I love is humanity."
     
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  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Satisfaction means being without unanswered questions, and I have achieved that.
    Happiness is in the family, among relatives and friends. Happiness is in good food, light drinks, music, reading, films, traveling, whatever one is interested in, and in being healthy.
    I have never felt any lack of happiness because of my atheism.

    @Unveiled Artist talked about purpose. The purpose of my life is fulfilling my responsibilities and not engaging is evil deeds. I have completed my dharma to a large extent, raised my children and sent off my parents. The only remaining thing is to take care of my wife till I live, she has no problem other than some insomnia. Life's purpose is not something unknowable.
     
    #14 Aupmanyav, Sep 16, 2021
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  15. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    Lots of way, I will however say that I would find it extremely frustrating and nerve wrecking constantly having to wonder, whether "big brother" was looking over my shoulder, reading my thoughts every second of my life, whether I would be punished for certain thoughts or actions I did. That alone and not having to worry about it is enough to make up for all the unhappiness I would feel were I to believe in such a God.
     
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  16. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    Much I could say, but I'll limit my response to this:

    Spirituality is not tied to religion. Religious people have made frequent attempts to steal spirituality from the rest of us, but it's not theirs to steal.
     
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  17. Nakosis

    Nakosis Time Efficient Lollygagger
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    I think in the case of Abrahamic beliefs, one seeks relief from the burden of sin as well as provides one with a security of purpose.
    This provides one with comfort from a fallen reality.

    So as an atheist, one usually rejects the concept of sin. Another way of getting rid of the burden. The question of whether we are a good of bad person, I don't have this conflict of self doubt. Also I think one has to find satisfaction in determining for themselves a purpose. For me this is supporting family and friends. Me being able to this keeps me happy. I'd supposed without God providing purpose one has to find for themselves a purpose that will make them happy.
     
  18. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    Setting goals worthy of the self.

    This illustrates how the religious mind can be manipulated and tries to find satisfaction by creating an enemy and you being on the righteous side. The morality of this is questionable. Is there any actual happiness, or just a feeling of comfort being a member in the righteous tribe?
     
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  19. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    In pretty much the same ways that theists gain happiness most of the time.

    It seems that you confuse happiness with comfort and with purpose. Those are three different things and ALL are possible while being an atheist.

    I find happiness with friends, having good conversations. I find happiness exploring this world, having new experiences. I find happiness playing with my dog. I find happiness enjoying time with my wife.

    I find comfort from friends and my wife. I find comfort in knowing that things will change, that there are good times and bad.

    I find purpose in learning about the world, doing my job, helping others, and so many other things. I don't worry about 'ultimate purpose', just 'local purpose'. That is enough for me.

    I have trouble understanding what belief in a deity has to do with any of these.
     
    #19 Polymath257, Sep 16, 2021
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  20. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, this is one place where I disagree with most religions. I find 'spiritual practice' to be meaningless and purposeless.

    Would it surprise you much that I find this Psalm rather condescending?

    First, by saying anyone who doesn't subscribe to that belief system is 'wicked', it discourages real communication and understanding of different value systems. That, to me, is wrong-headed.

    Which is a religious value that I find almost purely evil. By claiming anyone disagrees must be evil, this notion has supported many atrocities throughout history.

    People who disagree with you are NOT wicked simply because they disagree. You can learn something from them, often, if you simply open up your ears. Many are good, caring people who try to do good in the world. Atheists, in particular, often seek to help others. They just don't need a deity to tell them to do so.

    Might I suggest that withdrawal from any intoxicant can be unpleasant at first? I see religious belief as a type of intoxicant: it skews the thinking and values of its adherents. It produces what I consider to be a false sense of bliss by hiding the unpleasantness of life.

    If you really cannot find happiness any other way, I both feel sorry for you (there is so much else to be happy about) and am glad that you found something that works for you.

    Again, this sounds to me like what an addict would say about their addiction: it makes them feel so good, blissful. And to give it up makes them feel lost and in pain.

    Maybe you could look at the universe as beautiful and meaningful while not thinking people are wicked for not agreeing with you?
     
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