I have been an atheist for nearly 15 years and thought to myself are non believers more open to depression knowing there is no afterlife religious people don't seem to as much
Honestly, I unburdened myself from a majority of my stress, anxiety, and situational depression when I left religion. No longer was a worried about what might happen to me AFTER I die. I started actually living in reality, and experiencing life, without the fear that I "might" upset my absentee landlord.
I still suffer from depression, but thats biology, not situational.
It has been my experience, that I feel more secure since I left the Christian Religion. There is an energy in this Universe, that supports life and it is open to everyone, who 'knows' it. It isn't jealous, punishing or even handing out 'treats!' It just is. And, it may even go on forever, as far as we know! Just changing in forms! In that case, we too...will go on forever...I am not worried about what form, my evaporative energy, will take after my body stops functioning! Even if i see energy as living on forever...I am only concerned with using my presence in the 'here and now,' for it's best use!
Can an atheist be happy for the future? yes. As a Science Fiction writer thinking about the future is my job. I feel that we as humans will get our collective heads out our asses and start working for the betterment of mankind and for Earth. In this dream humanity is fairly happy. As for the afterlife, I figure that I'll figure it out when I get there.
I find that we appreciate ‘the now’ far more than the religious.. I’ve marveled at the mundane conditions suffered daily by religious people ..only to find they’re expecting their ‘payoff in heaven’... That’s too much of a gamble for this Atheist
I’ve experienced diffic, make that hard times.. and as torturously hard as they were ..would not have traded that pain for a moment of ignorant religious bliss. We exist on a higher plane and are willing to pay the price, some aren't...
I'm happy for the future! I love life! Just because you don't believe in an afterlife does not mean that passion does not stir your heart or that you lack the ability to get goosebumps when something thrilling happens. No, in my opinion, I believe that non-believers are happier than believers after all, we don't have to constantly be looking over our shoulder wondering when god will punish us.
What a huge relief it is not to have to live forever in shame and sorrow. Just what do those devout believers think they will be doing for all time? Man, if I thought I had to keep slogging through existence for all eternity... Now that would be depressing!
The religious believe that they'll be chosen to go too a perfect place with no suffering and yada yada. They don't need hope for the future to be better in the real world. We however do, we're the ones most keen on a cleaner better future. If it was all left up to the religious we'd all still be substance farmers under God's ordained form of government.
I view my future as being on this earth. As for a future afterlife who knows, there's no evidence to suggest one but I don't control what happens after I die.
As for atheists being more open to depression, I would have the opposite was true, but depression itself I wouldn't have thought was normally based around religious (non) beliefs.
I don't see any reason the presence or lack of religion would cause more or less depression. It would be very difficult to measure, especially given that non-believers do not occur randomly in the population, but are more common in better educated groups and probably in more prosperous groups. Find a way to eliminate all other factors and you may be able to study this.