It is interesting to read the responses of various groups to what we post on this site. Atheist reactions to our discussions about the futility of atheism have been especially interesting. We have occasionally made the statement that one of the problems atheists face is that they see no purpose in their existence. On the other hand, atheists have responded that their pleasures in life serve as a purpose.
Vladimir Putin recently made a statement published in Time magazine (July 5/July 12, 2021, page 6), “There is no happiness in life. There’s only a mirage on the horizon.” That is a quote from Leo Tolstoy, the Russian Nobel Prize winner in literature. Putin used it concerning the struggles between Russia and the United States. It is interesting that the Russian dictator living in the 21st century would draw on it. But, what did he mean by “happiness?”
Happiness and pleasure are two different things. For example, sexual pleasure is not happiness. A biblical example is the rape of Tamar by Amnon in 2 Samuel 13. After he raped Tamar, the passage tells us, “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred for her was greater than the love by which he had loved her.” Thus, sexual pleasure is not happiness, and neither does having massive amounts of money bring happiness. Unfortunately, the life stories of some of the richest men in the history of America are largely tragic and often ending in suicide.
How does an atheist deal with tragedies and illnesses in life? If the things you think will bring happiness are put out of reach by something you cannot control, what do you do? That is when the futility of atheism becomes apparent.
On the other hand, Christians find happiness in fulfillment. Contentment is another word that that describes the fulfilled Christian who sees a purpose in life and hope for the future. Feeling God’s Spirit working in you as promised in Acts 2:38 will bring contentment. That is something that atheists cannot fully understand because their belief system does not allow it.
— John N. Clayton © 2021