So while I think that atheists can certainly be happy by times, I know that they can never experience true joy at its fullest because that is only found in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11) and they have chosen to shut him out of their lives.
Really? That’s a little insulting, given that you don’t have a clue about human neurology. Have you ever given birth to a child? While VERY PAINFUL, there is nothing that compares to holding your first born child the moment s/he comes into the world. His/her first steps. Watching them exploring the world with fresh eyes, learning and doing new things, bringing you artwork, flowers, a hug, and seeing them grow up into adults. There is nothing like seeing a sunset or sunrise. There is also nothing like seeing a wolf, standing perfectly still as it observes you, looking him/her in the eyes, as s/he decides you are no threat, and moves on his/her way, leaving you to go where you wish to go. That, is also totally awesome. The awe and wonder of nature and the universe gives the same sort of awe and wonder as what you attribute to your god concept. My grandfather, who was a Xian, also experienced these feelings often, in relationship to nature, and he called it God’s Country, but his reaction was no different than mine. Do an MRI or alike test, the same areas of the brain light up in both the religious and the non-religious.
These are all emotions, including your god concept, and what you attribute to a deity, as well as joy, is nothing more than a neurological reaction. It’s the same thing, except the external stimuli that you attribute to a deity is nothing more music, candles, a preacher and alike, triggering these neurological reactions. The only difference is, we attribute our joy to reality and you attribute your joy to your human concept of a deity. Some people, such as pantheists and naturalists, may say, the wolf is god, but they don’t mean it like you do. Some Taoists do similar. Hindus also have a different concept of deity than you do and some don’t actually believe in the gods, but they experience great joy. Some humanists and many atheists drop the concept of a deity when talking about these things.
I think Neil de Grasse Tyson, an agnostic, said it best in his lecture, when he said that he looks at the universe and says things that sound very much like when the religious talk about their god, the only difference is, he knows his joy, awe, and wonder about the world is at that moment, between him and nature, and caused by the neurology in his brain. I can relate to what he says in this short clip of his lecture very well, which also gives me great joy, because he knows and understands what I often experience from other humans, nature, the earth, and the universe. It’s a little less than 10 minutes long, so you aren’t missing a thing in relationship to your mental masturbation with your god concept and you might end up learning something too.