Has anyone here every thought about what if there happened to be a god. It doesn't really matter what god or what religion just if there is one. When you die what do you think they/him/her would say and how you would react? If they were a god that passed judgment, do you think that they would understand your reasons for not believing and forgive you or would they punish you without question?

I was raised Christian and while I don't believe anything they say, the above still crosses my mind quite often. I'm a musician and I get a lot of gigs playing for church services, especially around Christmas and Easter. It's hard not to listen to the sermon and try to understand their way of thinking during these times and these questions always pop into my mind during and after the service.

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Mel - you make the point far better than I did.

Especially as atheists taking the intellectual high ground, we shouldn't be jumping on the OP's innocuous "what if" question to say he therefore must not be an atheist. It was the courage and integrity to ask "what if" which enabled most of us here to break free of religion in the first place.

For some, the idea of their god has been so masterfully ingrained into their psyche they can't even conceive of positing the "what if my god doesn't exist" as a hypothetical. We on the other hand, if we are taking the intellectual high ground, should be embracing the psychological freedom to ask such questions. Even if only to illustrate that much further just how ridiculous the idea is. Or to better explore how best to approach a response when a religious person asks us this very common question for real.

Incidentally, as someone who has watched/read a little too much scifi, I play the what-if question all the time to great entertainment. What if I had superpowers? What if the Vulcans made first contact today? What if I were the astronaut making first contact? What if there were really were a whole planet of unimaginably hot alien guys like Keith Hamilton-Cobb on "Andromeda?"

Or, putting it another way, in a discussion we are asking the religious to be open-minded enough to ponder the potential non-existence of their god. It is only fair then that we return the favor. Even if it feels to us as if we are responding to a toddler about the hypothetical monsters under his bed.
wow, it's been a while since I checked this and it's great to see all the responses. After reading all the responses I definitely feel better about things. The existence of any god given the evidence is pretty ridiculous so I don't know why I let the questions pop into my mind initially.
Thanks everyone. It's nice to be able to discuss such things when practically everyone I know is a believer.
What if there is a god? Nothing we can do about it really. If he is going to "judge" me, I have no idea by what standards he is judging me. I'm not perfect - some days I'm good (helped save a life Thursday, thank you very much), some days I'm bad (screamed at my 5 year old at the top of my lungs making him cower and cry, shame on me). If I met God at the end of my life I'd ask him to send me back, retaining lessons learned so hopefully I can be a better person next time around. For people like me who make mistakes we regret, the idea of reincarnation is tempting, if I wanted to delude myself. Ah, wishful thinking...
We may learn lessons, but being human we often do the same thing over even when we know better from the lesson...follow?

You are human, don't be too hard on yourself...try for excellence at best.
Some christian asked Bertrand Russell this question over 50 years ago.

He answered: "I would say, God why did you make it so difficult for me to believe in you?"
There's another point.
What are these god-believers, if their choice of god happens to be true, going to do with themselves for the first billion years of their after-life.
If they are capable of answering this question, ask what they will do in the second billion, and the third billion, and so on.

Most people could hardly manage to fill their time usefully for a few days or a few months, let alone many billions of years.
I used to laugh at the drove of Catholics that left en masse as soon as the priest reached a certain point in the mass...I forget what it is called, but it releases you from the spell...laughter. Priests detested this mass exodus and mentioned it often from the pulpit. Didn't do a darn bit of good. Catholics interpet what will get them in hell according to their immediate needs and hope thay can confess transgressions before they get killed...laughter. Such hypocrites they are.
A lot of what you said applies to me. I could almost say the exact same thing actually.
I would start with three words:

How dare you!
"How dare you!"

I so love this!
I'd ask him how he can call himself just and merciful.
And why did he like that sleaze bag Lot so much?
If there was a God, he would have killed Jerry Falwell a long time ago.



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