10 Reasons Atheists Do It Better

There is a growing number of atheists in the world. There is also a growing amount of evidence pointing to the benefits of non-believing. 

Although the exact number is hard to pin down, an estimated 13% of the world identifies as atheist. While believing or not believing in a God is a complex personal choice, there is a growing body of evidence that points to certain benefits of being an atheist. Being a theist has its own great advantages, but here are some of the reasons being an atheist could be beneficial (not necessarily in order of importance):


 1. HAPPINESS

Scandinavian countries tend to be the least religious countries of the Western world and yet are consistently ranked the highest in the polls that measure a happiness index. Many factors go into such ratings, like economics, life expectancy, healthcare, social safety nets, and the transparency of the government, but it’s hard not to notice a potential correlation between atheism and happiness.

2. INTELLIGENCE

Atheists tend to have higher IQs and have been shown to generally be more intelligent than religious people. Intelligent people also tend to spend more time in school, which in turn leads to greater success professionally.

3. BETTER JOBS 

This follows from the previous reason - more intelligent people tend to do better in the workplace. The same studies that have shown higher level of IQs for atheists, also equated that with getting higher-level jobs and higher pay.

4. SELF-ESTEEM & SELF-RELIANCE

These are two sides of the same coin.  Atheists are not being told that they are guilty and sinful, as is the case with many religious teachings. This leads to higher self-esteem and a feeling of control over life’s events. As atheists do not expect a deity to help them solve a problem, they will address it personally and directly. The increased self-reliance can have a positive effect on their own lives, but also on the lives of others. When there’s no wheel of life, reincarnation, heaven or hell, the responsibility for made choices lies with individuals.

5. PROGRESS

Atheists tend to value scientific discovery more and are less likely to stand in the way of scientific progress as has often happened for religious reasons. An atheistic society is more rational and science-oriented.

6. HEALTH

Atheists believe in science and would not stand in the way of medical treatments on religious grounds. While there have been studies that showed the mental and physical health benefits of being a believer, there have also been recent studies that showed no significant difference in the mental health of religious and non-religious people. In fact, it can be argued that having strong self-esteem and better economic status would make atheists more healthy.

7. PEACEFULNESS

Atheists do not start wars or commit acts of terrorism for religious reasons, just to prove their deity is the correct one. On the other hand, Marxist-Leninist atheism at the core of communism has certainly given atheism a bad name, but it's not necessarily an argument that it was atheism itself that led to the repressions and killings. There were complex historical, social and economic reasons for that. Atheists tend to not kill others for the sake of atheism.

8. SCEPTICISM

Atheists are generally skeptical and tend to look at issues from a rational, often scientific standpoint that demands proof. For an atheist, elements of reality are observable and can be tested. 

9. SOCIAL ISSUES

Atheists tend to be very involved in social justice issues. They do not believe in some higher power or order that could have pre-ordained a human’s lot in life. Everything is of this material universe and can be improved upon.

10.  BETTER SEX

It wouldn't be a worthwhile list if it didn't talk about sex.  There have been studies that showed atheists having better sex lives than religious people simply due to not feeling guilty about it. Guilt about sex is certainly a strong feature of some of the world's religions and the political discourses they generate (particularly in the US). There are also studies out that show a greater satisfaction with sex among the believers, but as it's also not something they should really focus on and discuss (according to religious tenets), it's hard to know where their responses are coming from.

Do these reasons mean you should abandon your faith?  You make the call. But being an atheist needs not carry any negative stigma in a world still dominated by believers. Professor of psychology Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi profiled a likely atheist to be this person - “We can say that atheists show themselves to be less authoritarian and suggestible, less dogmatic, less prejudiced, more tolerant of others, law-abiding, compassionate, conscientious, and well-educated. They are of high intelligence, and many are committed to the intellectual and scholarly life.”  That sounds like a pretty good person.

Michael Shermer of Sceptic Magazine explains how nonbelievers will eventually become the norm around the world.

There is evidence of the growing number of nonbelievers in the United States. According to research by the PEW Research Center,

"the religiously unaffiliated population – including all of its constituent subgroups – has grown rapidly as a share of the overall U.S. population. The share of self-identified atheists has nearly doubled in size since 2007, from 1.6% to 3.1%. Agnostics have grown from 2.4% to 4.0%. And those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” have swelled from 12.1% to 15.8% of the adult population since 2007. Overall, the religious “nones” have grown from 16.1% to 22.8% of the population in the past seven years."

--

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon landing astronauts reveal they possibly infected Earth with space germs

Two Apollo 11 astronauts question NASA's planetary safety procedures.

Credit: Bettmann, Getty Images.
Surprising Science
  • Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins revealed that there were deficiencies in NASA's safety procedures following the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Moon landing astronauts were quarantined for 21 days.
  • Earth could be contaminated with lunar bacteria.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less