I once had an atheist accuse me of making my decisions based upon emotion. Honestly, I don't even know what he was talking about but I can tell you that ever since Descartes, atheists have seen emotions as inferior to reason. Only reason, the say, is a reliable guide to truth. Therefore the meaning behind emotions is ignored and that ignoring is seen as a personal strength. Well, I'd say that the results suggest otherwise.
One in four adults in America seek professional help for anxiety. One in six seek help for depression. Seeking escape from our fear and grief and sadness is practically a full-time job in North America. Whether it's sports or mood altering chemicals, or work or relationships, mistaking those things that distract us from life for life itself is ubiquitous in the West. We're obsessed with the lives of celebrities. Tens of millions of supposedly reason-based people watch the most mind numbing crap on television. We join the newest diets and buy the newest gadgets as soon as they hit the stores. We believe the sales pitch that introduces us to a new fear or need that can only be resolved, says the pitch, by buying their product. We'll go after anything that helps us deny that the existence of sorrow and fear and grief are normal parts of life. Being “happy” every hour of every day has become an expectation.
The problem is, distracting ourselves from difficult emotions and/or situations allows those difficulties to grow and metastasize into other areas and relationships. We in the West actually see the development of ignoring our strong emotions as a “skill.” This causes us to treat the symptoms and ignore the root problems.
Christianity, on the other hand goes right to the root of our issues. Jesus was known as a “man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief and suffering.” Jesus did not avoid the hardships of life. He stepped into the middle of reality and then He said, “Follow Me, be like Me, do in your relationships what I did in My relationships.”
That of course is what atheists hate. In fact they rail against God for allowing difficulties, pain and suffering in the world. Rather than pretending to deal with pain like a stoic, Jesus shows us how to endure pain without denying its existence, to transcend suffering without pretending it isn't awful, to escape loss without resorting to addictions.