What if I'm wrong?

That question has been asked by many believers with the intent of haunting me into submission out of fear. Fear is a great way to control people. We see it all the time, not only coming from believers trying to save nonbelievers from hellfire and brimstone, but also from politicians trying to convince us that some imminent horror is almost on our doorstep and we best do what they suggest in order to protect ourselves. It works, too!

Yet, this age old question always manages to create a bunch of new questions for me.

You see, even if I decided tomorrow to accept god by faith, I still would feel insecure about choosing a path to follow. What if I find out that sprinkling wasn't enough That, in fact, dunking was required by god. What if I found out that divorce and remarriage were considered to be adultery and that I'd only managed to fool myself into believing that I could get away with it because I was weak and willful? What if the Jehovah Witnesses were right and not the Mormons or the Baptists? What if there really is a middle step called purgatory? What if I'm not supposed to cut my hair or dress in short skirts? Is it possible that women really are responsible for the sin of lust in men by exposing their flesh? What if I'm not supposed to eat pork or drink alcohol? What if the Seven Day Adventists are right not the Scientologists? What if it's a sin of greed to hang on to material wealth? Should I cover my head when venturing into a place of worship? Do I need to be in subjection to my husband as the head of the house? Should I cut my hair and wear a wig? What about the burka? The list of "what ifs" is practically endless, but hopefully, you get the point.

There is no way of knowing if you've picked the right path from amongst the thousands available today.

You might as well draw a belief system from a hat or spin a wheel. You could be devoting your entire life to the wrong belief and suffer the consequences in the end. Supposedly false prophets abound. So beware! But how do we know who is a false prophet? They all claim to be selling the truth. So I ask the believer,

What if you've been fooled into following the wrong path to god?

I'm a writer and I often write on topics that question cultural norms. Here's my most recent publication.

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Comment by John Dumaker on September 3, 2017 at 7:00pm

Unfortunately many people take this view of belief as hell insurance. I better believe just in case there really is a god.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 3, 2017 at 4:26pm

Which really begs the question, Thomas: are there ANY absolutes in this reality?  I tend to think not.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 2, 2017 at 7:00am

My pleasure, Teresa, and welcome to the gang!

I should mention, too, that Bertold's comment is of vital importance, as well as being an indicator of the marked differences between our camp and that of the believers.  An atheist is typically NOT an absolutist.  He or she will evaluate the data on the ground and base their positions on it.  If NEW information relevant to that situation comes to light, it gets incorporated.  Conversely, believers who are determined to believe will do anything they can to ignore, deny, or otherwise negate anything which has the potential to undermine their belief.  "What if I'm wrong" either never occurs to them or it is summarily dismissed as a temptation of Satan or something like.

A genuinely sad state of affairs, from where I sit.

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 2, 2017 at 6:47am

Thanks for the Dawkins reminder, Loren Miller.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 1, 2017 at 3:12pm

Oh, but we CAN'T forget Richard Dawkins!

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 1, 2017 at 1:34pm

Love both of these memes, Grinning Cat.! :-)

Comment by Grinning Cat on September 1, 2017 at 11:27am

On a lighter note, there actually is a rational way to choose your religion. :)

(click to enlarge)

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