Atheism is a Gloomy, Pessimistic Outlook on Life?

One, rather weak, criticism of atheism I’ve seen lately is something along the lines of “Yeah, well, isn’t that an awfully depressing thing to believe? It just makes your life a pointless nothing in the infiniteness of the universe” and what I’d like to do is argue that atheism is actually a more positive outlook on life than several of the major religions in today’s world.
    First, is it really all that depressing? Sure, at death, the majority of atheists believe that that’s it. You’re just dead. And with most religions there’s eternal happiness in paradise after that. Clearly atheism is the depressing one. Except, that’s not the case: if one of the world’s religions came true (and was as the majority of its followers believed) then while some people would have that eternal paradise, everybody else is burning in a lake of fire forever. Surely those people would rather just be properly dead? Rather than having to suffer forever? Let me make an analogy: imagine two states: one has an elite group of people who are treated really, really well, which sounds nice, except this elite is a minority. Everybody else is strongly discriminated against, forced to live in unimaginable poverty, subject to violent hate crime and has a generally horrible life. Meanwhile, in the second nobody has it bad, and nobody has it good. Everyone lives a perfectly content life and are all treated equally. Surely the second state is the nicer one?
    Secondly, I find it very hard to see how atheism makes your life meaningless. Let me put it this way: in most religions, current life is just an unimportant material existence and, at death, you will be raised up towards the true perfect existence of the afterlife. Meanwhile, most atheists believe that death is the end, but that this, right now, is the ultimate reality. So with religion, once everybody has left this mortal coil, literally everything you’ve achieved in this life, is meaningless (not every bad thing though, they’re on your permanent record!), because it all starts again later. While, with atheism, you really have to make the most of your life because it’s the only chance you have. Your achievements in life will eventually be your legacy after death and, as such, are immensely important!
    Finally, I’d just like to talk a little about morality and human achievement. When somebody does something really selfless or kind for somebody else, is it not much nicer to think “Aww, they did that simply due to the fact that they are a good decent person” then to think “That person is trying to be nice in the eyes of the Lord”? Similarly, when it comes to great human achievements, is it not better to think “Wow, that’s one impressive thing that person has done!” than to think “It was nice of God to allow that person to excel!”? Plus, before a counterpoint of “But that’s just you being a prideful human” I’m not trying to say that I am the one who’s done anything really great like this, I’ve never done anything noteworthy, but other people certainly have done things that are commendable!
    I’m not attacking the theistic viewpoint with this entry, nor do I wish to offend, rather, I am defending atheism and trying to dispel the incorrect view that it is pessimistic and depressing. I welcome all rebuttals!
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