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Are Atheists Trying to Taking Away Happiness?

Many theists complain to me that I shouldn’t criticize religion because it makes them happy. They accuse me of “trying to take away their happiness.” I find this accusation to be a sad attempt at a conversation stopper.

For starters, I don’t think I am trying to take anyone’s happiness away any more than drug rehab centers are trying to take away the happiness of those people who are high on hard and dangerous drugs. Theistic religion is a drug. In fact, it is the most dangerous kind of drug. Other drugs wear-off over time while god-belief only gets reinforced and more dangerous over time. When someone is on Cocaine, they can become dangerous to themselves and people around them, but when someone is on Jesus, they become dangerous to all of society.

That is a pretty strong claim that I am making here and there is no doubt that believers will be quick to point out all the missionary work Christians do and all the great things that the Church has done. They might even point out particular people who did great things who happened to believe in a deity. But they will just as quickly dismiss all the truly horrible things done in the name of Christianity and theistic religion and dismiss all the truly dreadful things done by particular people who happened to not only believe in a deity, but who have done dreadful things primarily because of that belief. They will talk about people’s misuse of the Bible or religion and they will talk about context and then point out instances of positive teachings in the Bible (ironically out of context).

When all that is done, they might even attack atheism as if atheism was a belief in itself. They will throw out names like Stalin, Mao, and oddly enough Hitler (who was a Christian). But all those things (aside from being intellectually dishonest) are just smokescreens that don’t address the fact that theistic belief is dangerous to society.

It is pretty selfish of a believer to put their own happiness above the well-being of others. A cover-to-cover read of the Bible will quickly show just how vial and evil the character of God is. One doesn’t need to go passed Genesis to see it, but once one gets into Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy it becomes pretty clear that someone would have to be a evil, sick, twisted person to worship that deity. But one thing is clear, while the God of the Old Testament loves torture and death, he at least stops there. The New Testament takes the evil one step further by claims of continued torture for all eternity unless you happen to worship its central character, Jesus.

Running around telling people to worship you or be tortured for all eternity just doesn’t sound like a peace and love kind of thing to do. Besides, while Jesus must have gotten good public relations people over two-thousand years, he still claims in the Gospel that he was not a peace and love kind of guy, but instead was the metaphorical sword kind of guy (Matt 10:34).

Yet, even though many theists will talk about happiness and how moral they are because of religion, the fact is that all the happiness in the world still wouldn’t make their religion of choice any more true. Religion would still be a drug at worst and a mythological story at best. We all know that stories of magic are make-believe and we all know that when we die, we are dead. If we really and truly thought differently, we wouldn’t fight so hard to live.

Real happiness doesn’t come from a god or a religion, it comes from living life well and surrounding yourselves with people who genuinely care about you and you them rather than those who are just using you as an enabler for their Jesus fix. Aristotle claimed that happiness is the end result of a life of reason. I think he might have been on to something there.

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