I heard some atheists explain that our struggles in this world had nothing to do with our free-will and could be explained by evolution. This reminds me of a story that someone had narrated about how hunters, well more like poachers, catch monkeys in the wild without hurting them. They secure a container with a mouth just big enough for the unclenched monkeys hand to go into. Inside the jar is some food that is used as bait. The monkey grabs the food inside and in so doing, its clenched fist becomes too big to slip out of the jars mouth. It struggles endlessly to pull his hand out without letting go of the food and in so doing, allows the hunters to capture it trapped with the proverbial hand in the jar.
If all of our struggles were in the context of furthering own self-interest or our own survival then I may agree with them but many of our struggles have nothing to do with selfish motives, like for example altruism.In other words, people often struggle to help others with their struggles. Coming from a country that has to deal with floods and calamities every year, I see this in the frenzy of fund-raising campaigns, relief goods distribution and rescue operations for calamity stricken areas. From an atheists perspective the more evolutionary thing to do is to let these people die-off, let the waters recede and re-plant the areas. In fact many of those who donate and give are themselves striving to have enough just to get by and yet do what is counter-evolutionary!
When we read about some misfortune that has stricken a neighbor or a stranger, how many of us have extended a helping hand with no remuneration in mind? The evolution explanation flies in the face of all these. We each will struggle in this life and it is comforting to know that there are more persons than monkeys among us. Yes, even Atheists can take comfort that when they suffer it won’t be only Curious George coming to help.