In today’s society, atheism and various nihilistic or agnostic points of view are on the rise. This may not seem like a big deal but, when happiness is on the decline, I believe it is pertinent that we look at the relation between religious views and happiness.
Now what exactly do I mean? Well, happiness in America is on the decline currently. And while we have never cracked the top ten on the world happiness index by country, we have dropped lower slowly but surely in the past few years. In fact, in 2017, we dropped from number 13, to number 14. And that number is likely to reach number 15 in the coming years.
With the population becoming decreasingly happy, we have a less motivated and less functioning society in many ways. With unhappiness, comes an erosion of the people caring about moral principles or traditions. After all, if life is meaningless, doesn’t that mean that these principles and traditions are also meaningless?
There is a startling rise of nihilistic atheism in particular amongst young people (particularly millennials). Regardless of how you feel about religion or God or any religious institutions, there is one thing that you must realize: religious people are happier on average.
But why exactly is that? It’s really quite simple, to be honest. Coming from someone who was an atheist for most of their life up until this past year or so, I can attest to the fact that, well, reason and logic and facts (things often touted by atheism to be the absolute most important thing in beliefs), just aren’t a very good reason to get up in the morning and actually aspire to be something greater.
There are of course those who see life’s inherent lack of meaning as something motivating but, those are fewer than those who see it as an excuse to not give a shit about anyone or anything.
Sam Harris, a well known atheist who I actually respect quite a bit, once asked Jordan Peterson in a debate, “So the stupid or poor people need their myths?” To answer Sam Harris’ question, yes. Yes they do.
Regardless of whether or not they’re myths or true, is irrelevant. Religion provides a reason to better yourself and to try to be good and the best you can be. The very belief in something greater than yourself is actually quite humbling and can give many a greater appreciation for life itself.
In conclusion, what this entire issue comes down to is this: The lack of belief in younger people may not be the root cause of their unhappiness and their nihilism, but it is most definitely a huge part of it. Though I don’t believe atheism makes people morally bankrupt. I do know from experience that believing in something more that watches over all of us, provides me and many others with a better reason to be a moral and good person than just science and reason.
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