Shouldn't all atheists die young?

The biggest and wealthiest businesses in the world are those established to manufacture, mould, interpret, advertise and distribute stories about gods. Trillions upon trillions of dollars are collected by these enterprises every year so one has to assume that subscribing to one of them must offer some form of measurable, tangible and evidential benefit not available to those who choose not to belong to any of them.

One of the touted advantages of believing in a god is the peculiar and primitive ritual called prayer where an adherent is led to believe that closing his eyes and then bowing, kneeling, scraping, prostrating himself before and begging assistance from his chosen god, by mumbling and moaning, will result in the god performing some form of paranormal intervention that gives a unquestioned advantage for himself or someone else nominated by him.

I have yet to see this work. Despite all the marketing hype, I have yet to see prayer providing better protection for god believers from disasters, atrocities, wars, conflicts, accidents, crime, divorce, poverty, hunger, disease or any other affliction or deprivation.

Facts are that on average:

  • God believers are no happier than atheists and for many god believers the contrary it true [1].

  • God believers do not live longer than atheists.

  • God believers do not become ill less often than atheists and being religious may well make them more sickly [2].

  • God believers do not recover from illness more often that atheists and may well have less chance of recovery if prayed for [3].

  • God believers are not wealthier than atheists and generally are in fact poorer [4].

  • God believers are not subjected to crime, atrocity, wars, accidents, hunger disease and deprivation less than atheists [5].

  • God believers do not enjoy better partnerships and marriages than atheists and in fact their marriages are more likely to end in divorce [6][7].

  • God believers eventually die just as atheists do and god believers can die in the most appalling, painful and miserable circumstances despite spending their lives believing in and praising a god.

Now we have some very keen type god believers who write articles and comment on News24 making all manner of assertions and claims about the god or version of a god they have chosen to represent. Whenever there is a disaster, war or appalling crime they quickly queue up to tell the world they are praying for the victims as if that will actually help.

The survivors of a tornado thanking god for sparing them is a bit like complimenting a serial killer for stabbing the family next door.

What I want to know is why god believers persist with their beliefs given the clear evidence that praising, begging help from, grovelling before, giving money to and praying to a god has absolutely no effect whatsoever on reality – other than enabling the self-appointed “men of god” to live comfortable lives - and serves only to make the person performing such degrading and embarrassing acts feel better about themselves? Because if prayer worked, we'd all be doing it and if gods existed and did deliver something useful and beneficial we would all believe in them.

Claiming a god believer benefit after you die is, well, patently ridiculous and was debunked millennia ago.

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” — Quote by Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor (26 April, 121 – 17 March, 180)

[1] It’s official: religion makes you miserable and sick

[2] Being Religious or Spiritual Is Linked With Getting More Depressed