(Ninth in a Series on Fighting Depression)
I’m not knocking atheists. Some of the smartest people I know are atheists. A lot of them have high sensitivity and empathy too. It’s just that believing there’s no creator, no one who cares about the universe, no destiny, no afterlife – yikes. No amount of prosac could cheer me up with that worldview.
Agnosticism isn’t much better. There may or may not be a God, is a position with a little more humility; it doesn’t claim omniscience. But still, depressing. Not knowing if there is or isn’t a creator who cares, destiny, afterlife – that’s a quagmire.
Religions – those theologies and behavior codes that set us up for divine approval – those are the most depressing of all, because we can’t measure up. If getting to obedience or holiness or enlightenment is up to me, I’ll fail. I can’t even focus long enough to get the clothes into the dryer, let alone follow long paths or hold up heavy pillars or keep crushing commandments.
So what’s a good world view for depressive types?
I’ve taken a long time to think about this. Here’s what I’ve found to be the most cheerful and logical world view:
- Good is better than bad. We just have this wiring, even when it doesn’t make sense for the survival of the species. Kindness is better than evil, compassion is better than brutality, love is better than apathy. So if that’s how humans are wired, it follows that something or someone good created us. There has to be goodness and love at the heart of the universe.
- Personality is a real thing. No human is a replica of any other human. Even my identical twins have such different spirits that I could tell one baby from another with the lights off. So it follows that our creator is some kind of person. We’re created and sustained by a good person with loving intentions.
- Something has gone wrong. Duh, no need for elaboration there.
- If there is a loving creator, that person would want to rescue us from evil and suffering.
- If a good God wanted to rescue us, there would be a reliable record of some kind of Messiah showing up in a way everyone could understand. That being would have to demonstrate divine love and power, and do nothing wrong. Yeah, you know where this is going.
- Jesus checks all the boxes. Yes, following Jesus makes me much happier than atheism, agnosticism or religion.
It’s worth a try. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest.” (That’s in Matthew 11:28 in the Bible.)
Buying into Jesus’ rescue story has improved my life immesurably. I have found following Jesus to be the best way through and beyond depression.
Homework: If it were true that God loved you and had come to rescue you from evil and suffering, how would that change your schedule this week? Give that altered schedule a try. See what happens.
Anything helpful to add? Click on the title, then scroll to comment after the article. For the first post in this series, click here.
7 thoughts on “Atheism is Depressing; so is Agnosticism; so is Religion”
Thanks for this! I’m always encouraged by clear and cogent apologetics.
You’re so welcome. Thanks for reading.
As one who’s followed Jesus a long time, I can attest to the truth of what you’ve said here. I can’t imagine trying to navigate life without his wisdom, strength, and encouragement, as found in the Bible. And to absolutely know that eternity in heaven is waiting for me after death provides great peace. I use the word “absolutely” because this is not a case of relative truth, where what’s good for me may not be good for someone else. This is a case of absolute truth, because a life transformed and the gift of eternal life come from God and no one else. What a relief! I for one wouldn’t want a system where heaven was earned. How would we ever keep track of good deeds vs. bad deeds over an entire lifetime? And do good deeds count when the motivation behind them is all wrong? No, I am so thankful that God did not leave the way to heaven up to my efforts!
Thanks Nancy. It is a great relief not to have to be God!
Me too Nancy. Ironically, following Jesus sets us free to be good without any longer having to worry about whether we’re good enough!
Wow! I love this!
I just found your blog, thanks to Mitch Teemley’s reblog of your latest post. After reading through several of your posts and pages, I am now a follower and a fan. 🙂
Having barely survived a series of horrific traumas as a child and young adult, I was staunchly agnostic, almost an atheist, for many years. The only reason I did not call myself a full-blown atheist is because, like you said, I knew that I was not omniscient. But after all my traumas, I could not believe in an omniscient, all-powerful, and perfectly good God of love.
I left church and went my own way for years, living according to my own dubious moral standards. Eventually, I reached the end of myself, while going through yet another painful divorce, after a 10-year marriage that I had thought was good. Finally, I had a man who did not cheat on me or beat me. But then the day came when this husband informed me that he had never loved me, and that every time he had said that he loved me, he was lying. My husband said this to me, immediately after a film crew had finished taping us for a beautiful ‘Remembering Your Spirit’ segment, to be aired on The Oprah Winfrey Show. There I was, feeling so good about myself, because I had been chosen to be on Oprah’s show — and as I am sitting there, feeling on top of the world, my husband turns to me and tells me that he has never loved me. I had spent the majority of my life feeling starved for love and desperately searching for love. I thought I had finally found true love with this non-violent, faithful, retired Air Force officer — until he tells me that it has all been a lie!
In an instant, I went from cloud nine, thanks to being filmed for Oprah Winfrey’s show, to rock bottom. I wanted to die. But God had other plans for me, praise His Holy Name.
I am looking forward to reading more of your blog. By the way, my daughter is also a licensed therapist, with a master’s degree in child and family counseling. She is not a believer, however, which I largely blame on the way I raised her and my two sons. I pray every day for the salvation of my grown children and grandchildren. Oh, if only I could go back in time and raise my children the Christian way! But I can only go from here, praying, and trying to be a loving witness to them.