The idea of heaven is much more of a paradox than it is a paradise. The world would be a better place if people would come to terms with the idea that Earth is an extraordinary place in the universe. It is one of the very few that supports life as we know it.
Does the existence of innocent suffering imply that God does not answer prayers?
Suffering on earth is only a part of a greater system, the same as life, the same as death. As long as the system still works, there is no need for the system to take any action to alleviate or end suffering.
Biblical references do not explain the existence or non-existence of god(s). Only science reveals facts that allow us to reach logical conclusions.
There is no reason why parents cannot bring their children up to choose a life based on fact rather than one based on faith yet, still allowing them to share in the beauty and diversity of other cultures and ethnicities including their differing religions. Although we may not adopt a culture's religious beliefs, we can still enjoy and even share in their customs.
Atheism isn't a choice. It's a realization and once I fully understood that realization, my lack of belief became a cause for celebration. Atheists are often portrayed as doubting, unhappy people, but actually losing religion is a joyous thing, the real light at the end of the tunnel.
You might say that in life the good things are whatever get you through the day. In that respect, for some people, faith in god(s) is a good thing. Yet, one of the main problems in human culture is taking responsibility for our actions.