I've seen Richard Dawkins answer this with astonishing precision. But the answer didn't sound like me. I was sitting down pondering and I finally got my version:

If I'm wrong, I really wouldn't care about my afterlife. If you are a good person to your fellow man, its irrelevant. If the Christian God would sent me to hell for all eternity, for not believing, he would be wrong, because alot of moral people of other faiths would be in the same category as evilest, is that really moral? Having faith in God just to get a pass in heaven is a weak man's choice, I would rather have no faith in God and be kind because I believe in my heart that kindness prevails.

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Comment by Caine on April 2, 2009 at 5:43pm
That's pretty much been my theory.

I've always looked at in a similar style to Pascal's Wager. I believe vs. I don't believe and God exists vs. God doesn't exist with a subset to each of "god cares about actions" and "god cares only about praise/faith/worship. I'll call the former the "good god" and the latter the "bad god"

I believe and he exists, then the good god rewards me and the bad god rewards me. If I believe he exists and he doesn't then nothing happens, neutral.

If I don't believe and he does exist then good god STILL rewards me because I'm pretty bloody ethical. Bad god punishes me because I didn't say "DUDE!!! YOU ROCK!!!! YOU DA BESTEST, FER SERIOUS!!" often enough. If he doesn't exist and I don't believe he exists, again, nothing happens.

So the only difference is the first and third case, where he exists but I believe or disbelieve. In both cases "good god" still rewards me. In one case bad god rewards me and in the other he punishes me.

According to Pascal's wager I should go with belief then because my odds are better, four out of four instead of three out of four. However this presumes that one would, or should, worship what amounts to a big bully who could give a shit how you act or what you do but instead only cares about the fact that you told him how awesome he was on a regular basis. Even if you could conclusively prove to me that that god existed, I'd consider it beneath human dignity or respect to worship him, that's just subscribing to a "might makes right" mentality which is unworthy of any self-respecting sentient being.

Hence I'm fine with disbelief ;) If he is there, great, either he judges based on actions or he doesn't and as far as I'm concerned he can go @#% himself anyway, or he doesn't exist, which is the most likely, and I haven't blown the ONLY nanosecond of existence (relatively on a cosmic scale) hiding in a closet because I was afraid there'd be a giant purple nerve-gas farting dragon waiting outside to eat me if I opened the door ;)
Comment by Atheist Exile on March 31, 2009 at 10:37am
Hi Jennifer,

You know, believers are just as sinful as anybody else. I think most people are basically good but occasionally make mistakes: usually minor ones. The whole notion of sin promotes judgmentalism and hypocrisy. Biblical sin puts us in opposition to ourselves by proclaiming our very nature to be evil. That's a "heads I win, tales you lose" proposition. Biblical sin is a tool to manipulate and control us via fear and guilt.

I'm glad you reject it. And I'm glad you recognize your own goodness. That's a healthy attitude.
Comment by Adam Steele on March 25, 2009 at 6:32pm
I always figure that if you spent an eternity doing something (being tortured) eventually it won't mean anything anymore. "Oh no, a rain of fire. Whatever. *goes back to playing cards*" Also, I'm banking on being reincarnated, or being allowed into some other religions heaven that doesn't care; like one of the Native Americans or, strangely enough, Mormonism. Seriously, a tenant of Mormonism says you actually get to meet god before making up your mind whether to believe in him or not. Really, look it up.



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