Theist spend long hours relaying how their god or gods changed their lives for the better, helped them out, cured their toe fungus, whatever. How has atheism helped you or changed your life in a positive way?
Since it's been 45+ years as an atheist, I suppose the most positive way is that I haven't been sidetracked by irrational thoughts and actions leaving time and energy to do something rational or productive. There's never enough time to begin with; I'm glad I haven't had to waste very much of it.
When I was a xtain, I had a great deal of trouble thinking rationally and wasted a lot of time expecting the miraculous when hard work and thinking where what was required. I am happier as an atheist than I ever was as a xtain, because instead of expecting god to cure things for me, I do for myself. I can also enjoy programs about ufos or Ghost Hunters in peace. It may be a silly waste of time, but it is not "sinful", "against god" or anything else worse than a waste of time which is mine to use as I please. I almost always lost arguments and often with that my cool, because I could not formulate rational points. Dedication to god can severely cloud one's judgment and decision making.
I find I am a better judge of people and situations now I am no longer required to forgive everyone no matter how mean and nasty they are. All that forgiveness stuff sounds nice on paper, but in real life you do not let the three time convicted pedophile babysit your kids, because god has forgiven them and you should too. Strangely enough, I am more cautious, but much less judgmental than I was before.
I would say since I was deeply devoted and entirely deluded by woo woo at one time, becoming an atheist has impacted my life in a profoundly positive way. And I actually did cure my toe fungus. I could not afford medical care at the time, but I used my brain and looked up cheap, alternative toenail fungus cures on the internet which did cure my toenail fungus quite effectively. As an xtain, I would have simply tried to pray it away. So yes, in a way, being an atheist cured my toe nail fungus.
The guilt & shame which crippled me enough to not function well with society, has mostly fallen away, & that to me, is a huge change. I feel better about me as well since I always felt bad for not being able to believe the nonsense & hypocritical bs. I did try to believe & tried to be the good mor(m)on for a very short time & gave up by the time I was 17. I didn't really know anything about atheism other than it was ''evil'', so never associated the word with my non-belief until I got a pc & began reading atheist sites. The world opened!
I stopped feeling guilty just for having been born. I can't imagine that someone who was never a Catholic can understand what it's like to know that Jesus was mutilated and tortured to death because of things you've done, are doing, and will do. It's crippling.
I no longer have to live with the odd contradiction of an all loving and all powerful god who doesn't just allow suffering, but appears to relish in it. A god who loves us and yet creates some of us destined to live just long enough to know suffering before slipping into his hands where eternal suffering waits if you weren't fortunate enough to have the right words said over you when you were born. A god who makes things in his image, that he loves, yet will destroy for mistakes that he could already foresee and made no attempt to prevent us for committing.
That kind of liberation alone makes atheism worth it.
I don't have to live up to the expectations of the church! (unless my nagging mother counts)
What kind of a life would I have, if I still believed in God?
Here's the Mormon lifetime-timeline after high school graduation:
Attend Brigham Young University --> Get married to Return Missionary --> Drop Out --> Become pregnant within 3 months --> And again and again and again --> Hit mid-life crisis and start home business making aprons or teaching piano --> Have grandchildren --> Die
Interspersed with intense relying on the church as if it's the crutch that keeps you walking. (And cripples you, incidentally)
I don't have to do that. I can make my own template! :D I know that there is nothing I'm "supposed" to do. I have freedom! I don't have to be ashamed of not being pretty enough, or not being girly enough, or worried that I'm bi, or believing something different! It's pretty damn awesome.
I still get to feel at least somewhat of a sense of community, and I still have an identity. It's not structured though, so I don't have to feel like I need to do "this" or believe "this". When my brother died, I realized I could get through it-- despite complete lack of belief in the afterlife!! It was a horrible thing to happen, but somewhat empowering to understand that things will hurt no matter what you believe, but that you can get through them just as well without "God".
It's funny how some of the religious count God for their progress but when nothing happens... then they ignore it. I used to pray all the time as a kid, about everything from losing the warts on my fingers to wanting to die, essentially.
Science cured the former, and I no longer wish the latter. :)
I am freer as an atheist. Yet contrary to what many theists seem to think, I am not completely free. In that, I am referring to the absence of worrying what "God" or "Jesus" or any other religious figure would want me to do. I am free to choose my own way of thinking. Yet I am not an anarchist or an immoral twit.
I have a moral code, and it is chosen by me. I am free to break my own code, and free to feel good, bad or indifferent about it. But I don't have to worry what "God" or "Jesus" or any other religious figure will be thinking.
Of course religion is not the only other source of external rule imposition. There is the law of the land, and the wrath of society, which can be imposed on me, whether I like it or not. But inside my own head I am free. I choose, I do and I judge - my thoughts, actions and beliefs.