Hi, I'm an atheist who was raised secular, but I have attended religious services with people from many different backgrounds. Now, I don't dislike anyone who believes in God. In fact, I love to talk to people about what they believe and what inspires them to follow the God they have chosen. However, no matter how many people I talk to, the conversation almost always ends with the same argument: that, if God does not exist, then what is lost by believing in God as long as it makes life easier?
I've lost respect for many people based of this answer, since it seems to me that these people don't care if they lose their self respect in the process of making "life bearable" . Its like saying its ok to believe in Santa Claus for the rest of your life, even though he never brings you presents, because at any time he COULD bring you presents and you also have someone to blame for NOT getting gifts. And if he never brought you gifts, what does it matter? You apparently were happy about wasting you time waiting for him.
Is there another way to think of this logically? I would like to know what you think about this argument. What, if anything is wasted by believing in a God that doesn't exist. Is there any reason to compartmentalize the pain that exists in life so much that it creates a false God?
First off, I want to start out by saying, as a new member, I am really impressed all of the responses and can't wait to explore some of your discussions.
But now to respond to as much as possible. It is hard for me to pin this question down to one or many gods since the definition of "god"is so broad and encompassing, that the actions of many gods could be interpreted as the act of one. Though I do see how it matters in the discussion. To simplify the scenario, I will treat belief human as a singular point and god(s) itself as a SINGULAR possible force or influence that causes the singular point to undergo a change. This is the closest earthly comparison I can make, since much like the forces of nature, while we can (and should) treat the different forces of nature separately and according to their own laws, we can look at the overall features forces and treat them as one in order to gain some understanding before moving to more complicated issues, or even dividing the forces.
(also, I use this example because, much like religion, science is a system of beliefs, but one with a set of logic that we can, more or less, agree on.)
Perhaps I should make clearer what I mean by "easier" first. Perhaps this statement is a paradox. What about the belief in god is easy and how does it simplify life? I will define this according to what I hear from many believers. That:
A).God(s) can grant infinite blessings, such as eternal life, and can heal infinite sorrows, including anxiety, pain, etc.
B) that God(s) grant a life after this one, explaining one of the most questioned events of a human life.
C) God(s) give a standard in which to live by, taking the guess work out of morality.
Pascal's Wager does bring up a good point that should discussed in the context of what would be the simplest and what would make life easier since...
"There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain."
I like the fact that this both depends on and rejects a full reliance on reason to answer a question. That is the reason that it works as an argument for the existence of god.I can also see how, if one does not know if God(s) exist or not or does not belong to a religious sect, this would be a perfect argument since it assumes the best of the possible situations available, which is what any gambler does when he/she tries to win the lottery. This does make life seems easier, to ignore the negative possibilities.
However, I am not a "betting" type of person, and neither is the average believer. To "bet" seems to, in the nature of betting, reject total faith, which is contradictory many religions (not all, which is why this is not a my main point).
(I have more to say and will update more latter).
This comes across as a variation of Pascal's Wager..
I have a few questions for you ... Why is it easier? Because then they don't have to put any thought into things and just accept?
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. " -- Carl Sagan
The leading motive, conscious or subconscious, for believing in God is that it provides some hope for continued personal existence beyond the grave.