While giving an exam today, I powered through the grading of just over twenty short papers on the existence or non-existence of God. I was in a zone and I want the semester to be over. It was the second set of papers about the same topic I had read this semester, and I was reminded of two things: 1) it is unwise of me to teach two versions of more-or-less the same class with totally different structures—granted they are taught at different institutions, but...; and, 2) I ought not to assign God as a paper topic, as it always depresses me.
The one that hit me the hardest today, was the one that informed me that the author's life was eternally happy because of her belief in God and that I, too, could be happy if I were to believe in God. So, I learned from this that my student believes that theism is a guarantee of happiness—apparently not all Bibles still contain Job and not all Christians were raised in the same tradition of 2000 of thinking over problems like suffering as I was—that she believes that the self-deprecating manner I affect in class is truly a reflection of a deep and abiding unhappiness and she assumes that she knows that I am an atheist or at least an agnostic. I take it that they teach youngsters in certain types of churches to evangelize all people at all time, but I wasn't in need of it—and it won't make me happier.