Former Congressman Allen West: ‘People Who Possess No Deep Faith Are Not Happy’

Former Congressman and right-wing blowhard Allen West was in Washington, D.C. today and he saw something that disturbed him: One of the bus ads from the Center for Inquiry’s new ad campaign:

West wrote on Facebook:

America has a Judeo-Christian faith heritage and promotes the free exercise of religion. However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Yeah, we do need a Values Voters Summit and probably another Great Awakening in America.

Despite his presumably limited experience of hanging out with non-religious people, he feels perfectly comfortable making bold, untrue pronouncements about what we’re thinking. Which I guess makes him as irresponsible and ignorant as the current crop of House Republicans.

I would urge you all to let West know that atheists and others without “deep faith” are perfectly happy without God… but I don’t think he’s capable of changing his mind no matter what the evidence says.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I think this guy just opened the bible and pointed to any verse. Even if you did think a bible verse could be used as evidence that atheists are miserable, what in the name of FSM does “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” have to do with anything?

    • Mitch

      Took the words right out of my mouth.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

      It might have been an allusion to service of “the Lord” as a source of happiness.

    • Andrew B.

      I think our approach to Christians that endlessly quote bible verses should just be to shout random verses at them, too.

      • Pepe

        I vote for the one about donkey sized balls!

        • momtarkle

          Maybe verses from Dr. Seuss books, or Ginsberg’s poems, or stuff like that?

          • The Other Weirdo

            Would they be able to tell the difference?

      • Art_Vandelay

        Or just make up your own.

        “As for me and my house, we’ll serve Hendricks martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives.”

        • Maisha

          Can I come to your house?

          • Art_Vandelay

            Absolutely…but you may want to take a cab.

      • Ron

        Here’s my favorite:

        “You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16… Austin 3:16 says, ‘I just whipped your ass!’”

        • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

          “Somebody said they threw their copy of Dungeons and Dragons into the fire, and it screamed. It’s a game! The magic spells in it are as real as the gold. Try retiring on that stuff.” — The Book of Gygax 5:734

    • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

      It’s especially absurd right after he refers to his “experience in life”. Apparently, his life experience consists of reading random bible verses to confirm prejudices.

      • trj

        Well, it seems to make him happy.

    • Alex

      I don’t think he is saying that the verse is evidence of atheists not being happy, but saying that he will serve the Lord in response to the website name being “living without religion”

      • Art_Vandelay

        However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

        I don’t know how you interpret this any other way.

    • Jennifer Beahan

      He wasn’t referring to secular people with the bible verse – he’s saying that HE and his house (America) will serve the lord – that was inward directed to the religious.

  • Mitch

    I agree, a great awakening is exactly what we need in America. People need to wake up and see that living without religion does not equate to living without hope, morals, happiness, etc.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” —George Bernard Shaw

    Many faithless people are obviously happy. And, I’ll add, that the actions of the deeply faithful are often the cause of unhappiness they see in the faithless.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Swami Allen West, Who Sees All and Knows All, does not need to do anything so prosaic and mundane as actually getting to know people who possess no deep faith. He can read their minds! He just gazes into his crystal ball and there before him parade the innermost thoughts and feelings of millions of people he has never met.

    Oh great Swami, who knows me better than I know myself, tell me how unhappy I am because I am deprived of the pompous, pretentious, arrogant, self-aggrandizing POPPYCOCK that your flatulent, obese-as-Jabba-the-Hutt EGO gorges itself on every day!

    I am so goddamn sick and tired of Christians who tell me what I think, feel, and do, but have not a shred of the courage, courtesy, and common sense to get to know me first! Am I happy right now this second? No, I’m pissed off at another conceited self-styled mind reader, but in a few minutes I’ll be happy again.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I saw you comment, started to weigh in, saw the level of insanity on there, and backed away. I try to make my voice heard, but that’s just insaneville.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Yeah, lost in the lunatic chanting. On his Facebook page, in ten minutes there were over 100 comments after mine, most of which are atta-boys, saying atheists can’t be happy because of some irrelevant nonsense in the Bible, or apparently because they’re also psychic psychologists who know others’ minds remotely. West has a well-earned reputation for being even crazier than Michelle Bachman, and apparently he still has a following who love that. Some of these people don’t seem able to read their OWN minds, much less someone else’s.

      • Art_Vandelay

        I must be a masochist because even after you warned me, I checked it out anyway. This country is absolutely infected with Christianity.

        • momtarkle

          I blame the parents.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      SEE?!? You’re unhappy! You proved him right!

      Oh my DOG.

    • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

      Funny how we never see Joe Klein making baseless statements about athe- er, wait…

  • Frank Key

    One thing I’ve learned in life: classifying people as being happy or unhappy based upon their group identification is a sure path to being proven wrong a million times over. :) :) :)

  • trj

    People like Allen West make me not happy.

    • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

      I think that is the point that he is missing. It’s not that nonreligious people are always unhappy. We are just unhappy every time that we have to interact with Allen West.

  • C Peterson

    I’m so happy to learn that I’m not happy. Wait…

  • ben

    I grew up in a Christian home and went to church regularly until about age 18. It was my experience that Christians love to feign happiness for fear of being ostracized or judged. If you ever did show glimpses of discontent or depression, there was never a helping hand in sight, only admonitions to “get right with God”. Maybe Christian men are happy, but Christian women, Christian children? I don’t think so.
    Just my experience.

    • McAtheist

      Aaaaarrgghhh…………….flashback.

      When I was a kid the minister used to tell us that we should be seen to hurry to church as if we were anxious to be there. But leave slowly, as if we were sorry to leave.

      • momtarkle

        O. M. G.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      It was a real shock to me, in late adulthood, to meet other ex-Christians and discover I wasn’t the only person who was totally miserable. Since leaving I’ve met men, women, children, you name it, who were just faking it and hoping that eventually reality would catch up with their smiles. Being unhappy was seen as a major weakness–what did we have to be sad about? We were saved! Meanwhile, the moments of true happiness for me–always sparing to begin with since joining such a repressive religion–got further and further apart until toward the end when I spent most of that last summer in a haze of fear-sickness, doubt, and self-hatred.

      I think there are more men who are unhappy in the religion than one might think. Men at least are the top dogs, the trump card in any fundie family at least, but it’s been encouraging to me to find out just how many men reject that mindset.

  • LesterBallard

    So glad the word former is used.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      It’s a miracle, clearly.

  • daryl carpenter

    Of course, the Book of Joshua is full of religious people being happy and doing all sorts of lovely things, right?

    • Librepensadora

      It is also the source of the prophecy that after Joshua “fit the Battle of Jericho” the walls of that city would never rise again.

  • Timothy McLean

    I don’t suppose you could offer some method of contacting this Allan West and letting us tell him how happy we are without God?

    • Mitch

      The Allen West facebook page works fine. I just did the same thing.

  • Rip Van Winkle

    Last I heard, people of deep faith often suffered from clinical depression as a result of guilt derived from that same faith.

  • Itarion

    As a psychiatrist, it has been my experience in life that nearly all people [regardless of creed] are not happy.

    You all have issues. every last one of you.

    • God’s Starship

      Mine are particularly juicy. I take pride in this.

      • Itarion

        It’s always good to be proud of something.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      “I don’t have issues; I have subscriptions.”

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      As a counselor, it has been my experience that most people spend most of their time in an emotionally neutral state, and for limited times they will feel happy, for limited times they’ll feel sad, or bored, or lonely, or anxious, and so on. People who get stuck feeling any particular emotion all the time end up in mental hospitals, and are seen by …psychiatrists.

      It’s a mistake to think that we, myself included, personally get a proper random and representative sample of people to observe. It’s a mistake for a dentist to think that all people have rotten teeth. It’s a mistake for a gastroenterologist to think that all people have upset stomachs.

      It’s a mistake to think that “having issues” means that people’s widely varying and frequently changing emotional landscapes should be given an overall characterization of “not happy.”

      Happy people are only happy when they’re happy. Sad people are only sad when they’re sad. Etc.

      • Itarion

        Ummm. Thank you. I guess. (I’m not really a doctor.)

    • C Peterson

      You’re working with a biased data set. People who consult with psychiatrists.

    • Matt D

      I had some issues that made me very unhappy, but I learned to embrace who I am flaws and all, without any professional help. Not only did that make me happier and boost my confidence, but it saved me a lot of money to boot. Still, it’s not possible to be happy 24/7, and “issues” can appear even in the most well adjusted person, which is why you get business in the first place.

    • Oranje

      But I take a lot of meds for them. And seek acceptance in others. And…

      Oh hell…

  • Taz

    ‘However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. After all, as it says in Joshua chapter 24, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”’

    How is that verse even relevant to the point he was making?

    • Pepe

      It’s relevant because, Jesus.

    • Itarion

      He was rushed for time, it was the best he could find.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    ……

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    I just read through several of Mr. West’s FB page posts and he appears to be the sort that likes to stir the pot of hatred. He will take a tragic moment (the death of U.S. soldiers, Black on Black crime, etc) and turn it into a political point. His base seems to be ultra-conservatives and Christian fundamentalists. Plus if the FB posts are any indication, he is also a frequent guest on Fox News.

    There’s definitely a manor “Us vs. Them” vibe in how he talks. If you’re not with him, then you are condemned as one of “Them.” He also seems to be incredibly intolerant of people who hold differing opinions and religious views. Especially with an apparent hatred towards Muslims and the Islamic religion in general.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Sz21ekZ8aM

    There also seems to be a heavy hint towards Dominionist beliefs in some of his quotations and political associations that can be found online. If so, that’s also dangerous for the U.S. since their main goal is to turn the country into a Fundamentalist Christian theocracy and to start the Rapture via war in the Palestinian region.

    With all of that in mind, I’m not surprised about his inflammatory posts deriding those who are non-religious.

  • IAmAGuest

    “it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy.”

    MAen… you need to get out more, coz your experience in life is severely lacking.

  • God’s Starship

    “You can’t be happy without my holy book. It says so right here in my holy book”
    Thank-you, fountain of perpetual joy that is Allen West. What would we do without you?

  • Cattleya1

    He’s just another psychopathic git there to get in front of the value voters crowd – hoping to soak up his share of the money stream which seems to flow endlessly from tea baggers. The tweet is just to keep him on their radar. He cannot change his mind because he does not have one to change.

  • Brett N

    Ah, the time-honored polling technique of pulling something out of your ass.

  • smrnda

    So… if you want to find out if non-religious people are happy, you go to a piece of religious propaganda. Somehow, I just don’t think that’s how you make that call.

    Our constitution does not promote the free exercise of religion, it permits it. Big difference.

  • Darth Beige

    I was on the FB page. Saw a lot of loving Christians agreeing with Allen West, screaming it’s an attack on Christianity, and spewing a lot of hate. In other words, typical.

  • HK

    If people without religion aren’t happy then it’s not their lack of faith that’s causing it; it’s how they are treated by people who claim to be religious.

  • Mottfolly

    Allen West is NOT a happy man. I have never heard a comment from him that was not complaining about something? Please share something positive he’s said, I’d hate to think he was pure misery.

  • TheShadow

    That explains the high divorce rate among Christians.

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      …………..

    • Itarion

      Ooh, SNAP! It’s on now!

  • BioWonk

    My standard response to the citing of ambiguous and irrelevant scripture is simply, ” ‘Yaba Daba Doo’: 1Flinstone 1:1 . So what? ”

    West’s assertion is just as deliberately ignorant and nothing more than an ad hominem as the assertion that atheists are without faith because they have never read the bible, or because we are angry with their god. They cannot acknowledge the fact that most of us came from religious families and are atheists simply because we cannot rationally reconcile their scripture with reality and we’re not willing to compromise our intellect.

    • Rescuer_2003

      I have read the entire Bible, and now I am a non-believer. I cannot say I have read the Quran, or the religious texts of other religions. But based on what I saw in the Bible, where I saw some common sense and guidance, I also found a lot of contradictions that make it plainly obvious that it is an imperfect work, written by people. It cannot be the literal words of an omniscient, omnipresent god. I find the creative interpretation of some passages to reinforce people’s beliefs to be an offense, as inevitably it leads to petty disagreements or even wars. What a waste of the human capacity for good!

  • Jane Williams

    One of the comments posted to West is below. One big face palm. I’m disturbed that intelligent people will soon be in the minority.

    (see: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/09/are-americans-dumb-no-its-the-inequality-stupid/ )

    “Monique Shanabarger These probably are an Atheist movement to influence the weak minded in our society to soften us and turn us into islamists,faschists and or communists.This is a. CALCULATED propaganda.The socialists and communists did exactly this tactic and you see the results,they lost their moral compass,threw caution to the winds and started LA VIDA LOCA.Sex,drugs,indulgenceand selfishness;always seeking pleasure and deviousness like the greek and the roman empire.The muslems being poor,hungry inundated all Europe and multiplied themselves at a fast pace.Today MOST OF EUROPE IS ISLAMISED AND SCARED TO DEATH OF THESE MASSASES WHO ARE FANATICS AND THEY STOP AT NOTHING TO CONQUER AND TAKE OVER THOSE NATIONS JUST BY THEIR SHEER NUMBERS AND SAVAGERY.NOW THOSE SAME PEOPLE ARE SCREING US
    AMERICANS WHILE WE ARE NAIVELY TRYING TO PLAY NICE.god help us wake up before it’s too late! “

    • midnight rambler

      Right, communists are all about hedonistic sex, drugs, indulgence, and deviant pleasure. Just ask anyone who lived in the Soviet Union or North Korea about what a wild place it was.

      How the hell do these people come up with this stuff?

      • allein

        Well at least now I know who to blame for Ricky Martin.
        .
        Also, in all that idiotic mangling of English spelling and grammar, she manages to spell “naively” correctly. Amazing.

      • Rescuer_2003

        It’s called cognitive dissonance. Make up crap to defend your obviously false beliefs.

    • Spuddie

      “One of the comments posted to West is below. One big face palm. I’m
      disturbed that intelligent people will soon be in the minority.”

      Why? Judging by the rest of your post, you will be in good company. =)

  • Jeff

    As a former member of the United States military, regardless of branch of service, there is a code of “once military, always military”. Allen West served, and from most accounts, he served honorably. For that, I do thank him. But it, in no way, makes up for bat-shit crazy.

    • midnight rambler

      Actually, from most accounts, he was forced to retire in lieu of being court-martialed after torturing an Iraqi policeman who apparently was working with the insurgents.
      http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/12/12/sprj.nirq.west.ruling/

      Sounds remarkably like Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. You can argue about whether he was in the right in that incident, but honorable? Hmm…

      • Jeff

        Sadly, as in any group of humanity, there are always a few who test whether all members of humanity should be allowed to join in the reindeer games. Like I said, for his service…except for the bat-shit crazy part.

  • Reasongal

    I am so in the shit on FB. Went to West’s page and did what I never do, engage self-satified commenters because…Crown Royal. So:
    Christian Fautz, how specifically do you establish that only through
    Jesus that happiness is to be found? Have you surveyed other religions’
    level of happiness, or looked for studies which do? Alan Dockery, how
    have you established specifically that what you describe will occur
    after death, and why are you worried about it if you are exempt – I
    would imagine that such condescenion is not a favorable trait. Finally,
    Vinnie Howard, II need no “copout” to take responsibility for my life.
    I simply do it. Your specific belief system is not a guide for me, and
    yet I am capable and willing to make choices that benefit existence for
    humantity in terms of the tiny influence I have. Knowledge should not
    ever be associated with fear.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      Out of the fullness of the booze, the mouth speaks.

      Wonder how many atheists and Nones this guy’s going to have to talk to before he starts wondering if we’re all just lying to him or if any of us are totally being honest?

  • AtheistLib

    Well, Allan West…. I’m an Atheist living in South Florida… and the thing I’m happiest about is., You are no longer my Representative!!! Sucka………..

  • Ed

    The greatest thing about West’s post is that it involves a bunch of Christians who claim that they’re happier than nonbelievers proving the opposite to be true.

    Yeah, guys, I totally wanna join you now that you’ve once again demonstrated that your religion fills you with anger, hatred, and fear. Let me get on that.

  • fjpor

    Funny you think we Atheists have nothing about which to be happy. Had a perfectly super evening yesterday watching a young Atheist performer and she even had the audience doing a sing-a-long. we were quite happy as are the people watching her tonight. You are the one who does not find anything about which to be happy. Every time I see/hear you you’re always complaining.

    • Itarion

      Concerts are the best thing ever. Especially with sing-along bits.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    It also seems to me that he is implying that only those that follow jesus are truly happy otherwise he would not have posted a bible verse after stating that the non-religious are not happy.

  • JL

    I heard something similar at work yesterday. One co-worker informed me that nobody who “loves the Lord” can be unhappy. When I mentioned a highly religious worker in a different department who is always in a bad mood, she was forced to admit that some people can be unhappy and still “love the Lord.” Wooooooooooo

  • Yoav

    There is always the possibility they were unhappy because they were stuck somewhere with an asshole like Allen west.

  • James

    Maybe the reason we’re miserable is due to the religious fanatics constantly trying to impose their beliefs on us.

  • Aguz

    “All this happy non religious people? They’re just pretending!”

  • Alex

    I’m happy that he at least said, “it has been my experience…”

  • Spuddie

    I am happy he is former Congressman. The man was one of many embarrassments Florida elected. Not to be too trollish, but one should not be getting lectured on faith and good feelings from a man who was one step away of being prosecuted for war crimes.

  • freemage

    Well, he does say, “In his experience…”. Of COURSE every atheist he’s met has been miserable. How many atheists do you think would be happy talking to this asshat?

  • Kodie

    They don’t believe atheists can have deep happiness, we can only have the fleeting, shallow happiness of sinning. You know, we do the drugs (not just for fun, but to self-medicate), we have all the sex with anyone (not because we like it, or we love someone, but because only marriage makes sex meaningful), etc. It is just propaganda for his followers. They understand atheists as denying an obvious god’s strict rules and having fun but not happiness. Like when you stay home while your parents go out, and you do something against the rules, like stand on the couch. Standing on the couch isn’t fun, but it’s fun because you’re not allowed to, and nobody will find out, but it doesn’t make for lasting happiness. They think only god can fulfill one’s needs deeply enough, and that atheists are just floating aimlessly looking for the next empty rush. They actually fear becoming atheists on a profound level because of what they’ve heard atheism is like, which reinforces their desire to stay in the faith.

    What I really wanted to say was happiness doesn’t make god real. And it is possible to be without god and be happy, since they are, so it is possible to be without god, know it, and arrange your life with just as much substance and not just chase empty rushes.

  • Sylvan

    Y’know, if he’d said “people who don’t believe in anything are not happy”, maybe I could get behind that … a little. With or without any god doesn’t even factor into it. People who believe in things greater than themselves (a philosophy, a general belief that makes them feel more connected with their world, the actions of a family member or friend, the work of their community, etc…) tend, in my experience, to be happy. But none of those things rely upon god.

    And we already know from the context of his post that he wasn’t talking about this. And, of course, he wasn’t just talking about any religion in a general sense, he was quoting from the Bible and, on top of that, talking about specific scripture. When you get down to that level, you’re pretty much advocating a specific interpretation of the specific religion you’re quoting.

    So, sorry: you were within spitting distance of the goal but let yourself veer off into the land of the intolerant, bitter, petty, and insane.

  • Rescuer_2003

    I am very happy as a non-believer. I am spared the cognitive dissonance of believing in something without any evidence (e.g. Allen West’s false assertion about non-believers). I accomplish a lot by performing volunteer work, and I have a loving family and friends, all without religion. I believe humans can be very good, with common sense morals and ethics, without religion giving them excuses to kill, suppress, control, or abuse others.

    I cannot believe in something just because someone else tells me it is so. If I did, I’d be taken in by fraudsters and liars. If, however, a deity chooses to show some sort of active participation in our lives, instead of remaining a totally silent mystery, when there is so much benefit to be gained from being active, I will reconsider my position.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X