Certainly, atheism is hopeless, desolate, ugly. How much better are the sermons you've said you've given where that deceased adult or even youth -- still loved and cared for in a real and tangible way in the minds and hearts of the living -- is suffering unendurable torment for all eternity merely because God felt it necessary to remind His Elect how fortunate they are? I find the latter infinitely more awful ... but that's just me ..
Yes of course, the common riposte against eternal nothingness is comparing it favorably with eternal torment. Actual biblical merits of the eternal torture chamber view aside, I believe Czeslaw Milosz puts the finger on this view precisely: "A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death - the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.”