Posted by: Nito | September 19, 2010

Who has more fulfilling life: the Atheist or the Believer?

Some time ago I’ve discussed with my friend a necessity to believe in God… Essentially, we were discussing if the belief in God is needed for one to be happy. It all boils down to one thing – how many sources of happiness one has available in his or hers life.

We analyzed two hypothetical people, one who does not believe (i.e. an atheist or agnostic) and the other who does. We did set some input parameters for the comparison, and agreed that these two people are pretty much similar in everything else, but in this belief. They have the same age, the same type of job, same earnings, marriage status, family situation, and are going through the same life experiences; but they totally differ in their attitude towards God.

The first person, an atheist, lives his life relying on his own powers and on those who are willing to help him (friends and family). The believer has those sources of help as well, but also one extra source – God.

It is fair to assume, that overall (as life goes by), the atheist would struggle to come to terms with some events in his life and might not draw any inspiration from the negativity that happens to him or his loved ones, while the believer could see in those a need to solely rely on God and a chance to witness a miraculous.

Even, if we assume that God does not exist and that the believer was wrong (in his belief, but not in his attitude), when both of these people die (at the same time) who do you think had a better life? Who experienced less stress? Who had more options and could draw more inspiration from more places? Who experienced greater peace and had potential to experience more happiness?

On the contrary, if the believer was right, who would be better off in the afterlife? The one who was working on his relationship with God or the other one who was ignoring God?

I reckon that the believer is by far in a better position in all scenarios…

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Responses

  1. It has been my prevailing attitude that religion (depending) tends to be beneficial regardless of on what grounds it was founded.

    Similarly, optimism, while not as… well… realistic as realism, will tend to produce better results for the individual in many situations simply because they believe they will get better results and so behave as if they were to occur.

    A self-fulfilling prophesy.

  2. Agree.

    When life’s challenges, problems, brick walls etc. present themselves to the optimistic person he or she is more likely to choose the right response. Happier and calmer person possesses better decision-making capabilities. Better decisions lead to happier and calmer person, so the loop is closed.

    Long-term sustainability of this optimistic outlook on life is the key and i think that a person is more likely to stay positive for the whole life if he or she believes in God’s justice and a perfect plan for oneself.

  3. […] or agnostic. Even in the case that God does not exist (like I’ve hypothesised in the “Who has more fulfilling life: the Atheist or the Believer?” article), a believer IS still in far better position because of his positive […]

  4. I think a believer may have more peace in his or her life. Hope for support is a powerful source for survival in distress. No doubt, a believer has an extra source of help which an atheist doesn’t has. I believe in Hinduism with few worldly privileges. But, whenever I face problems in life with no hope of support from anyone, I remember my deity who gives me hope.


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