Paganism wins out over atheism because pagans throw better parties.
The Place: A ship in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Year: Mid-Seventeenth Century
The Situation: A SERVERE storm.
The passensgers huddle below decks in terror. Eventually, a man dressed in black closes his eyes and makes his voice heard above the storm: "Oh, Lord, have mercy on us, sinners that we are." The other passengers take up the cry, and soon all of them are loudly expounding their worthlessness in the face of God.
Pretty much the Same Storm.
About 700 years earlier.
The ship is about half as long, and there ARE no decks to hide below; the crewmen are wet and cold and thoroughly miserable. One of the men stands, braces himself with one hand, and raises the other hand skyward in a clenched fist. He shouts, "Is this all you can do, you old Bastard?" And the rest of the crew takes up the cry.
While we live, let us live emphatically.