I have asked many religious people the same question. They always dont want to answer, but some give the the answer if god isn't real then what does it hurt in me believing. They say i would rather believe just to make sure.
As to what would it take for them to end their faith. If the evidence already given by science has not done it then it would take extreme measures to kill it completely. I guess maybe a alien encounter or the discovery of the fear gene which could be found in all believers and not in atheist.
Being a realist, if my choice was "say this prayer or burn in hell forever", I'll bet I'd say the prayer. Call me weak. Modern religion's made-up god may be horrendous but, if a god actually appeared, I'd pretty much do what it takes to make the best of it.
That, by the way, was my initial conversion story. My kindergarten christian school teacher told the class about "salvation," with enough gory details to make an adult cringe. I was 5.
Lets see, "burn in hell forever" or "say this prayer."
It's one of the reasons why we can honestly say that religion poisons everything, especially young minds.
If the god I was raised to believe in turned out to be real, I would seriously tell him to go piss up a rope and get the hell out of my life. When I was a believer I used to say that I was walking around with a sign on my back that said "god; kick here"
How could he be so cruel to innocent people who were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing according to our particular sect?
How could he come down here (as Jesus) and mislead people so horribly? Couldn't he have dropped a few hints about the germ theory of disease, instead of telling people that their illnesses & infirmities were caused by their sins?? Couldn't he have managed to leave some real evidence instead of just a few parlor tricks? (water into wine, calming a storm)?
The god of the bible is a jerk and I would want nothing to do with him
I often use the argument, when jesus walked on water, was just a parlor trick. I was in the navy for awhile and in the middle of the ocean in some places you can get out of the boat and walk on water. Sand dunes are all over the ocean so it would have been very easy for jesus to appear to walk on water. Changing water into wine, i never have seen the point in doing this. If jesus would have done that in front of me i would have just laughed and said is that all. All the miracles of the bible could easily be broken down and explained with modern science today. But that is saying they would have to be true which they are not.
Joann, I felt exactly the same way you did when I was a believer. I felt I was the butt of some big cosmic joke even though I was always trying really hard to do what I should. And you ask some very good questions! If Jesus were so hell-bent (pardon the expression) on proving he was the Son of God, he could've enlightened us in ways that might have actually helped us!
I wouldn't want anything to do with him either. 24 years was a enough for me.
I did believe with all my being. What I doubted were the intentions of other Christians, and I doubted the need to be ultra legalistic. I never doubted the existence of God, however. What eventually led me to atheism was actually a desire to get closer to God. I definitely had questions; I was sure there were answers and that He would want me to find them. I couldn't imagine that God would've created me to be as analytical as I am just to squelch that huge part of me. If He knew the number of hairs on our head, and made us all unique, why not celebrate the gifts He gave us?
And... yeah... so, in that line of thinking, my Christianity was doomed. Once I allowed my self to ask, the whole thing fell apart like a house of cards.
I'd end up tying my brain in a knot, crying, then comfort eating.....because just to ponder why a real person/being/whatever, would do some of the things the Christian God has done, is nothing but depressing. I'd be truly more let down than I was when I realized the whackjob doesn't exist. His "holy" actions prove me nothing but the creation of "evil," for lack of a better word. He is a murderer, a narcissist, a judge with no law degrees and not the faintest idea of justice, and don't even get me started on a parent with not the slightest love of offspring. That damn "love" they loooove to preach about. If I said anything at all to him, it would be thanks but no thanks, you, existing or not, I cannot define as automatically "good" --maybe powerful, maybe my only shot at eternal life, whatever, I can't spend it with you, you're a barbarian.
I guess it would mean nothing to me... I would no longer be an Atheist... because then "God" would be proven of course... but I couldn't go back to such a tyrant. If he wanted me to "not even be able to comprehend" his reasoning, then he brought it on himself didn't he? Furthermore he caused the separation of the belief, the cause for no belief, he caused war and famine and millenia-old discourse in the world, I really don't think I'd be the one in so much trouble if she showed himself. I've been pretty damn good, ESPECIALLY in comparison to my very religious family. Wooo, don't get me started on them.
My non belief is based on a mix of both scientific information, and personal experiences and ideas (not beliefs). If I am presented with proof contrary to an idea then I have to change my idea. The real question is would this knowledge change who I am as a person? I don't think that it would. I consider myself a good person and if that's not good enough then it's not good enough.