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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> "Jaimie, don't worry. God is only a belief. Just because many people believe something exists, doesn't mean that it does. And even if he does, he would never send a good little girl like you to hell."

It is so wonderful to hear about somebody's parents trying to free them from that fear, rather than (at best) just ignoring the issue or (at worst) actually reinforcing it. I've found so many cases to the contrary, it just makes me happy to "hear" a dad say such a decent, sensible thing.
I was schooled from the 5th grade on, in rigid Catholic schools... nuns and brothers...shudder. I understood what they were saying in their religious instruction but I didn't take it very seriously. Too many questions, questions they bristled at. DO THIS...or else get beat, was an unreasonable demand so I just kept quiet and endured. They were quite sadistic.

Catholicism captures children with unrelenting discipline, cathechism, and looming disaster.

Christianity, all Christianity...is based on LIES, fear, intolerance, and hatred.
What if there is some sort of god? What if there really is a Force, and you're missing out on all the Jedi powers? What if we are all living in the matrix? What if we really are being ruled by shapeshifting reptilian aliens?

The crux of all of these questions is not the consequence of any of these ideas being true, but the likelihood they are true. Once we've determined that the subject of any of these questions are likely to exist, then we can accurately ask what the consequences of their existence is. And since there's no good reason to believe in reptilian aliens, the matrix, the Force, or any deity, then these questions are pointless, aside from as a fun piece of speculative fiction.
Awareness of a new or previously unconsidered possibility leads any human with a degree of curiosity to investigate that possibility, experiment and attempt to verify whether indeed his or her hypothesis has any merit. You know that as well as I do ... as surely as we know there are no midichlorians in our cells, that if we ARE in the Matrix that the programming is one hell of a lot better than that dweeb of an Architect was able to code ... and the reptilian aliens? They have an open invite to dinner, which curiously, they've yet to accept. They can bring the salad; I'll bring my 12-gauge.
I don't know about all this "you're not really atheist" stuff, but I'll try to answer your questions honestly.

First, I honestly haven't entertained the thought seriously -- it has crossed my mind, but it is one of those fleeting things that I quickly dismiss. The reason I haven't seriously thought about it is the same reason that I am atheist; I find it impossible to believe in something that I have no REASON to believe in. This makes the concept of faith incompatible with my mode of thinking. As a result, I simply don't take even the idea of God very seriously.

I must point out that I did NOT have a religious upbringing, however. The fact that you were raised as a Christian probably has a lot to do with why you have these thoughts, and I would imagine that a great many other atheists who came from a religious background also have these sort of concerns.

As to your other question, about what God would say to me?
Well, that depends greatly on what you think God would be like. I must point out that the very fact that you think that God is interested in JUDGING you is a very, very Judeo-Christian idea, so you're kind of inserting a particular religion in there already (even if you don't intend to). There are a great many religions that are unconcerned with whether people believe in their Gods, everyone goes through the same thing. That said, here is what I think for myself:

- If God were only interested in whether I believed in him (a narcissistic God indeed), I'd be going to wherever he sends people he doesn't like.

- If God is only interested in whether I performed the correct rituals and such (also a bizarre concern for a God), I'd similarly be doomed.

- If God were interested in the sort of person I was, I believe I would be in good standing, assuming that he values compassion.

- If God just set the universe in motion and doesn't give a damn what we do, then belief doesn't matter; he isn't going to be doing anything with us anyway.

Lastly, I'm going to address your question about whether God would understand our reasons for non-belief. I'll approach this from a Christian perspective, since that seems to be where you're coming from. I must point out from the outset that your question is a little non-sensical. This is God you're speaking of... he could not possibly fail to understand our reasons for doing anything. Presumably, if he is truly omniscient, he already knew how we were going to think before we were born. So the only real debate here is how God would react to us, given our beliefs. There are a couple of possibilities:

If God is a compassionate being: I fail to see how he can condemn any of us for using the mental facilities that he provided us, especially if we are good people. Being God, he could not possibly fail to understand the reasons for our thoughts, so the only concern is what he thinks of them. Any truly compassionate, loving being would value our goodness towards others more than pandering to himself. If God were truly a 'perfect being', as Christians are wont to call him, he does not need our devotion; he needs nothing from us, and so he only judges us based on what we give each other, not what we give him. For him to do otherwise is contradicting his 'perfect' nature.

If God is selfish: God is more concerned with worship and vindication for himself than anything you do, so it probably doesn't matter what your reasons are; you're getting the axe. This seems very contradictory to the loving Christian god as it is usually portrayed, and closer to the "jealous and vengeful" Old Testament deity. However, Catholics have taken the odd tact of being a Christian (New Testament) faith that still believes in a jealous God who punishes you for being a non-believer, no matter how nice you are. Actually Baptists seem to do that, too. This God is not only imperfect, he is guilty of several of his own deadly sins. I personally find the idea of devoting myself to this sort of being distasteful, even if I could be sure he existed in the first place.

What I'd like to point out here, though, is that choosing between any one of these possibilities is simply a question of preference. We have NO proof that a God exists at all, and even LESS idea of what that God would be like if he did. In the case that he exists, he very well may be nothing like any of the things I talked about. Maybe the correct religion hasn't even been invented yet? Why choose one over the other? If the decision is arbitrary, or based on whim, why not simply choose to believe that no God exists at all? We have no idea, so considering what God would think of us and our thoughts seems like an exercise in futility, and a concern only given voice because of your upbringing.
Funny ... 'cuz there seem to be a LOT of atheists here considering it ... me included. I just refuse to WORRY about it!

If there is some deity modeled after the Judeo-Christian tradition, hidden for the better part of human history, then all of a sudden revealing him/her/itself to humanity, he/she/it is one of the larger schmucks to inhabit this three-space! Inconsistent, self-contradictory, apparently favorite-playing ("Why did god reveal himself to Johnny and not to me?!?"), the list goes on and on.

It's a game to play ... and intellectual exercise, if nothing else.
Never confuse faith or belief with anything intellectual.
Oh, I don't. I've gotten a HUGE kick out of listening to James' account of the trial resulting from the attempted assault on him and now his talk with the pastor in church. It's wonderful to hear him relate the dichotomy of his knowledge vs. their faith, and as much as I would have loved to have seen the video of them going at it, a reverse angle view of the congregation might have been equally entertaining if not instructive. Just how many of them ARE firm in their faith ... and how many were squirming in their seats?

But that debate WAS an intellectual exercise, very much worth the effort and energy, if only to say that there's another opinion out there.
I certainly consider the possibility that there is a god, and I'm an atheist. But I never consider the consequence of that god existing, as there's no reason to think he/she/it exists
Who is the Christian God? The only conclusion you could come to after reading the Bible is:

“Arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; an unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

That’s a fact. I read it twice.
"But he LOVES you!"

-- George Carlin
Laughter...I LOVE George Carlin. My enemies enemies are my friends.




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