I think anyone who truly values knowing the truth will routinely critique their current beliefs. It is important to me to continually refine my beliefs, picking out the weak spots and making them stronger, or changing them if necessary.
In the process of self-examination, a question that often is brought up is: what if I’m wrong? What if Christianity is false? What if God does not exist?
As I’ve said before, I want Christianity to be true and I’ve studied enough to know that it is highly unlikely that I will change my mind on the matter. However, it is possible and I find the hypothetical scenario interesting to explore.
What if Christianity is False?
Basically, to arrive at the conclusion that Christianity is false, one would have to be convinced that Jesus did not rise from the dead. The Resurrection is the central claim of Christianity. Without it, as Paul says, the whole cathedral of belief falls apart.
In my experience with skeptics and atheists, many that I meet (I live in the U.S.) are former Christians. When they tell me their de-conversion stories, something always strikes me as odd. They seemed to have gone straight from Christian to Atheist.
How is this logical though? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist. After all, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and plenty others believe in God(s). Not to mention, one could opt for deism, or some sort of theism.
In fact, if I came to the conclusion that Jesus did not rise from the dead, I would not move an inch on my belief in a theistic God. Presumably, I would still not believe in Islam or some other religion either, in this thought experiment. For that reason, I would probably be some sort of theist if I came to the conclusion that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
What if God does not exist?
This scenario is even harder to imagine because I am all but certain that God exists. I really don’t think anything could convince me otherwise, though of course I have to leave open the possibility.
If God did not exist, I would have to find a way to be an atheist without affirming materialism, or physicalism: all that exists is material. I don’t know how I could ever affirm materialism, given the impossibility of rationality and reason on such a worldview.
If God did not exist, I would not become suddenly immoral to a high degree. Of course, I already sin and do things that are not moral. What I mean is that my morals would not change much.
I am not a theological voluntarist, that is someone who believes morality is grounded upon God’s commands. This is the assumption behind “Without God, you would have no grounds for morality.” I do not believe that.
Morality describes human action. An action is good if it leads to the flourishing of our human nature, and bad if it does not. I already believe this as a Christian and I could affirm it as an atheist.
The trouble would be with “Where did human nature come from?” Evolution is going to cause problems with rationality and therefore morality. For example, objections like Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
One final thing on what if God does not exist. If God did not exist, I would completely lose interest in the subject. I would not be someone that tries to debate or cause doubt in believers. Why would I?
One question that atheists often get asked is “Without God, what objective purpose in life is there?” The most common response is that the purpose is whatever you make it.
It would seem to follow that if someone wants to make up a god and make this god the purpose of their life, even if this god does not exist, they would be doing the exact same thing that the rest of us would be doing.
“Well, the problem is when they try to present their god as true and push it on others.” This is no objection at all. We just decided that the purpose of life is whatever you make it. If I want to make the purpose of my life to “present my god as true and push it on others” then I am doing nothing different than you are. There is no objective standard here, all is subjective, and therefore it cannot follow that you should feel compelled to tear down someone else’s belief.
There is nothing to gain or lose by believing in a false purpose. We are all just living lives according to a subjective purpose that we ourselves have assigned. There is no “wasting our lives.” On this paradigm, whether Christian or atheist, no one’s life has any objective purpose, and no one’s life was “wasted” either. There is no meaning either way, we just sort of exist and that’s it.
So these atheists who say there is no objective purpose in life and we just assign a subjective purpose to our own lives, undermine themselves by critiquing religious believers. Religious believers, on the atheist paradigm, are just assigning a subjective purpose to their lives like everyone else. Whether it is true or not, is wholly irrelevant.
If Christianity were not true, I would not become an atheist. If God did not exist, I would not become a hedonist, nor an evangelistic atheist. That so many people who have left Christianity immediately became atheists astonishes me. The conclusion “Jesus did not rise from the dead” has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the proposition “God exists.”
At any rate, I always like to run my mind through scenarios like this and self-critique.
Whether you are Christian, atheist, or other, how would you change if you came to see your current worldview as false?
50 thoughts on “What if I’m wrong?”
Always good to be soul seeking…
LikeLiked by 1 person
”They seemed to have gone straight from Christian to Atheist”
Atheism is simply an awakening that no gods exist, but is not necessarily the last stop on the tracks. If you read the Bible through the eyes of a Hindu, a zen master, or a shaman you see there is something else to the story besides the Abrahamic style. The universe is a happening and we are all participants in an everlasting play. Those that see it tend to interpret it through their cultural upbringing, but the gist of it is life is eternally happening, and their is no I AM, other than each of us as equal participants.
I was indoctrinated from birth to Christianity. My particular denomination was High Church Anglican (like Catholicism, but without the insense). I, like most other atheists of Christian background, didn’t wake up one day being a Christian, and the next morning woke an atheist. Most I have come across, it was a gradual process.
For me, I was a closeted agnostic for a long time. I did try other denominations for various reasons in my teenage years, (I did quite like the lefty-woolly vibe of the Quakers for a while). It was only when I was in my late teens would I say that I was fully an atheist. I started to have doubts about Christianity at around the age of 11 when I started high school. Up until then, I had never met anyone of any other Christian denomination, let alone other religions. I started to question the whole “one true god” that all monotheistic religions claimed to have (but that would be impossible for all religions to have the one true god).
I had been brought up to believe the whole Bible to be the literal truth. However, I became friends at high school with a kid who laughed at my belief that man was made from dirt, and woman from man rib, etc.
Also, during biology, I developed an interest in carnivorous plants. I learnt about the evolution of such plants, and it made me appreciate and understand evolution in other lifeforms. It was about this time, I would define myself as agnostic.
I think if the internet had been around when I was a child, I would have been atheist much quicker. Access to different ideas and new knowledge is much easier on the internet, then just having access to other people of the same belief system as myself.
Strangely, I am the youngest of 3 siblings, my older brother converted to Islam in his late 20s, and my sister became an evangelic Christian when she married.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thanks for sharing!
The serpent is the most subtle of the beast and his tactics are little by little changing us into his own. Beware of his merchandise within you for he will come to reclaim what is his with you. I will be talking for you my friend, Ive been where your at and beyond, its another dead end in the Matrix Neo.
That’s a bit too cryptic for me. Care to put it in layman’s terms?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Our life here is like a treasure hunt, either we find the Gold or we find the sacks of coal. The Kingdom of God can either be outside us or it can be inside us. Is what we want in the world or in Jesus.
Thank you for clarifying. In the world is the answer for me.
LikeLiked by 1 person
And as true ambassadors we are to accept ones choices, as grievous to our heart as they may be.
My hope is that you too will have a change of mind and heart my brother.
It’s already changed.
LikeLiked by 1 person
there is no serpent or god. but if you want to go there, why does this god fail to destroy the serpent?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good question 💕
do you have an answer? One would think you would since you claim to know other things.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The only thing I know for sure is Christ on the cross for us and even more now is his resurrected life within me.
and you don’t know that for sure for you are one more Christian desperate for any “evidence” you can make up. So, much for “faith”, eh? That same pathetic cartoon.
There is much to be taken from your premise. Would not the thought that life, itself, is the proof that there is a God and that all who enter into the Rhelm are welcome. And may I add, Right.
While I know quite a number of atheists whose transition from Christianity took several more steps before moving to atheism (ie, Fundamentalist Christianity to liberal Christianity to agnostic theist to atheist) my own experience is more similar to what you describe, so I’ll offer some elucidation.
When I first came to realize that some of the religious beliefs which I held could not be reconciled with the best data from history, physics, geology, and biology, I decided to put all of my religious beliefs to the test. I thought that I would start from first principles to build up my religious beliefs rigorously and deductively, the way Euclid’s Elements builds advanced geometry out of simple definitions and postulates.
So, of course, the first and most important principle that I looked at was “Does God exist?” I realized, much to my surprise, that I could not uncover any arguments for God’s existence which I found to be very convincing– despite the fact that I had been a life-long believer, already. Upon that realization, I could no longer bring myself to believe that any deity exists; and therefore, I went straight from Christian to atheist.
I don’t see any good reason to think that rationality and reason are impossible given materialism.
I don’t understand why one should think that the subjectivity of purpose implies that all subjective views of purpose are therefore immune to criticism. I think we can all agree that musical taste is very subjective. That does not make any particular person’s taste in music immune to the criticism of others. It simply means that we have to do the hard work of justifying our criticism in some way which will actually matter to our intended audience. “Purpose” and “meaning” are no different, in that regard.
If there is no God than eat and drink for tomorrow we die.
But of course there is a God, Why? because…………………………….pi
and yet one more theist desperate for evidence for their nonsense.
LikeLiked by 1 person
End of conversation
I’m glad you agree with me.
Our evidence is faith itself.
The shamans. holy men, mystics and con men have really made a mess of it, that is the mass and mess of religions. As the angel Moroni told Joe Smith, they (religions) are all false. Too bad it didn’t end there. All religions are scams and the monotheistic are the worst. They pray for the end the world.
Religions require that a supernatural realm exist so that gods and spirits have a place to reside. This supernatural realm was created in the minds by our very early ancestors to explain what early humans didn’t and couldn’t know. Humans have been chained to this delusion forever since. The supernatural, a mental construct, does not exist, unless you think about it. GROG
LikeLiked by 2 people
“If God did not exist, I would not become suddenly immoral to a high degree. Of course, I already sin and do things that are not moral. What I mean is that my morals would not change much”
On what scale are these ‘sins’? Are you talking murder or just wearing mixed fibre fabrics?
LikeLiked by 1 person
As Christians, I think it’s important to think about what life would be like to not have a belief in God. I think it really allows us to be in the mindset to better communicate with those who don’t believe in God. Do I hope that all will end up having faith in Jesus as their Savior, yes. I really think that needs to come out of someones own experiences and witness of God in their life and those around them through those people evangelizing to them. It is a personal decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you believe in God, it should be an all-in thing rather than a half-hearted solution to a current problem.
so, when your bible, via Paul, says that this god intentionally prevents some people from accepting it and damns through no fault of their own, how does that work with your claims on how people would become Christians? Your god doesn’t allow it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I appreciate your question, and I want to answer you with the best information possible and I don’t believe in just answering to answer. Based off your own blog, I see that you are a person of reason and science. I respect that and the fact that you ask questions. I will gather what I can to answer this question because it is a good one. When I have everything, I will do a whole blog post about it because I think it is that important. I will try to contact you when it’s ready.
please do. you can reach me at velkyn at comcast.net
Many Christians insist that the bible doesn’t say this at all. When I point out Romans 9, then they often vanish from discussion. Another tactic is that they claim I am reading it wrong, but when I ask how should it should be read and how they know their version is right, they also often vanish.
What version are you using to read Romans 9?
Which one would you like to use? I’ve read it in about a dozen different bibles. My favorite website for bible stuff is https://www.biblegateway.com/ They have a bunch of versions so we can use whatever you’d like. I grew up reading the KJV and the NIV. My favorite now is the NRSV.
Of course, this shows that the bible isn’t quite what Christians claim it is if there are so many different versions and it matters which version one looks at. If this god can’t get itself understood, what is the problem since most, if not all bibles claim that they get their version right from this god/holy spirit?
I like to use NIV and NLT. Most versions, if not all I believe, are looked over by theologians to authenticate that what is written is truly the Word of God. Since the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, there are many different words in those languages that have don’t have a direct translation into modern languages. So that is why the Holy Spirit is relied on. the Bible is what Christians claim it is, you just need to ask the right questions when reading. No bible is more right than another but rather a personal decision on what makes sense to the individual. Some people believe some are better than others, but I don’t think it’s based off truth but what is clearly translated. Study bibles have helped so much. This one that I’m looking at now says that Paul uses this argument to show that salvation is God’s work, not man’s. God’s power is what should be glorified, it’s not God only wanting certain people. God is not meant to be understood. We will never understand Him fully while here on earth. I kind of like that. It really challenges us to have faith and not rely on humans who are flawed through sin. Thank you for challenging me with your questions. I did get your email, but I only answer after prayer.
Yep, theologians make claims about every version of the bible being the “best” one. There’s a lot of “most accurate” claims. Nothing to show that these claims are true.
They were written in Greek and Hebrew, and probably some Aramaic. And you are correct, translation is a problem, especially with Hebrew and its lack of vowels.
Every Christian says that they asked the “right” questions, and every other Christian that doesn’t agree with them says that they didn’t ask the right questions. You want to claim I haven’t asked the “right” questions if I don’t agree with you. If your god is benevolent and wants me to accept it, then why is it up to me?
So, when you claim that it is a personal decision of what one to use, I agree since every Christians makes up a god that agrees with what they want.
For instance we have Christians who don’t care if their bible says slave but some Christians who are desperate to make believe that their religion and god doesn’t support slavery so they intentionally change the meaning of words.
Yep, the bible you may have can give that spin to romans 9. That’s not what is said on the page. It does show that salvation only comes from this god, and that this god damns everyone else thorugh no fault of their own.
Christians always go to the “we will never understand Him fully while here on earth”. Why not? Why is that excuse only brought out when you find something less than palatable in your bible? For example, some Christians have no problem with claiming that they understand Romans 9 for being literally what it says (Presybyterians are confident that it means what it says since it deals with the predestination they want to have). They had no problem with understanding but you do?
“You want to claim I haven’t asked the “right” questions if I don’t agree with you.” Maybe you have asked the right ones, but there is faith that comes into it as well. That’s why it’s very difficult for a skeptic to read the Bible. If you go into the reading process with an expectation of not believing or having faith in what you are reading, you will find yourself continuing to be skeptical.
“So, when you claim that it is a personal decision of what one to use, I agree since every Christians makes up a god that agrees with what they want.” That is something that tends to happen when you read without desiring understand the intent behind verses. People will misuse the Bible like how other religions misuse their texts. It’s because we are human and desire satisfaction under our own control. (Side note: slavery was completely different to what it is now and what it was during the United States horrific use of other human beings)
“Why not? Why is that excuse only brought out when you find something less than palatable in your bible?” It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact of not understanding anything that is not physically visible. Science has things that we do understand fully and others that are believed based off theories that can only be tested but not always proven. Even when we do prove it, it’s using measurements that are humanly assigned. What we know about God could be completely wrong but that is where faith comes into play like how we put our faith in gravitational pulls to keep us from floating away.
If your god is real, faith e.g. the belief in things you have no evidence for, should have nothing to do with it. This god had no problem in providing evidence in the bible, so why does it now? A skeptic can read the bible as well as a believer. The believer must claim otherwise because you need to pretend that only your version is the right one. You again try to blame me, which is what every theist does when it comes to their god’s failures. What you want is me to accept your god without consideration aka read the bible with the presupposition that it is true with no evidence for this claim. Shall I recommend that you read the qu’ran without the expectation that it isn’t true?
You falsely claim that you understand the intent behind the verses and no one else does correctly. Please show how you know the correct way and no one else does, Christians who make the same claims as you. People will indeed misuse the bible just like how other theists just like you misuse their holy texts, and you all claim those “others” are the ones who misuse it and not you. Yep, it is because you are human and desire satisfaction under your control and to claim that only you are right.
The claim that slavery was different to what it is now is an intentional falsehood told by Christians who don’t like admitting that their perfect god supported slavery and other horrible things. We know that because theists have used the bible to support slavery since it was written. We have these words from the bible that slaves were only property, not humans. We have this god giving rules that a slave has to make a choice between staying with his family and his freedom We have Christians who gave slaves a bible that convinces them to remain as slaves: https://www.history.com/news/slave-bible-redacted-old-testament And funny how this god does nothing at all about slavery.
Let’s look at what the bible actually says and not what a Christian wants to ignore:
“44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. 45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.” – Leviticus 25
“7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.[b] 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money.” – Exodus 21
“20 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.” Exodus 21
“18 Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. 19 For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20 If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.” – 1 Peter 2
And JC himself advocating slavery and beating slaves “3 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” Still beat people who are ignorant. What an abusive character. And it shows that this claim of yours “slavery was completely different to what it is now and what it was during the United States horrific use of other human beings” is false.
Again, you claim ignorance only when you find something in your bible less than acceptable. Science certainly does have things we understand fully and it has theories that can be tested and thus shown to be true or not. You also try the common Christian claim that we can’t know things because we are humans, which is again something false since us humans have devised ways to check ourselves. Theists come upon their beliefs and then deny anyone who disagrees with them, even when those theists are using the exact same claims as the original theist. What you claim to know about your version of your god has nothing to support it, no evidence unlike science. You are correct in that it does take faith, the belief in things with no evidence to support them, to accept your version of what you want your god to be. And no, we do not put faith like you have in your god into gravity. Gravity always works. You have yet to show your god to even exist, much less to fulfill its promises. All theists have faith, and all theists make up excuses when their claims fail.
If we only had faith in gravity, like a theist’s faith, we’d be tying ourselves down since Christians don’t trust that their god will do what it says, they always have a back-up, insurance, modern medicine, etc.
You wonder why people don’t help you understand. It’s because you end up using statements like “you falsely claim” and start blaming me for you not understanding. I’m a simple blogger, not a theologian. I’m a simple Christian who has faith that God is real, that He has a plan, and through my belief and faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, my death on earth won’t be the end. A Christian’s job as disciple is not to explain everything. That would be like me needing to know how the entire world works on a subatomic level in order to live. You don’t need to know everything about God. And you don’t need proof given to you to know that He exists. That is why not everything is revealed. Some people are content with that. You, clearly, are not. I will be praying for you. I have experienced the proof that I need. I hope you experience yours since it isn’t a proof that can just be given to someone. It needs to be experienced.
What are you praying for? I would like to know so I can tell you if it worked.
I hope that all will end up having faith in Jesus as their Savior.
Why?? Of what benefit would that be to you? 😕
LikeLiked by 2 people
Haden my friend, Your too funny, I love it.
The Truths’ name is Jesus and he sets us free.
Seek His Face, Seek His Kingdom and Righteousness and you will see and know.
No more knowing of Him or about Him or how too with the minds tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Time to take and axe to that old tree. Thats mixed fruit.
But now we knowing Him intimately, eating from the tree of life and drinking living waters with Him Now. Learning directly from Him, Personally, Fulfillingly, Powerfully, Rewardingly, Lovingly face to face, here and now.
Our Kairos with and within Yeshua is here and this is the Way. Amen Brother
Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. (John 7:18 NIV)
You and I are going to face God sometime. We are going to come face to face with God literally in eternity and then the question is going to arise, has God at any point failed us? Shall we be able, on any detail, to say, “Lord, You failed me, You were not true to Your word”? Such a position is unthinkable, that ever any being should be able to lay a charge like that at God’s door, to have any question as to God’s truth, reality, and faithfulness. The Holy Spirit has been sent as the Spirit of truth to guide us into all the truth, so that there shall be no shadow whatever between God and ourselves as to His absolute faithfulness, His truth to Himself, and to all His word. The Holy Spirit has come for that. If that is true, then the Holy Spirit will deal with all disciples in the School of Christ to undercut everything that is not true, that is not genuine, to make every such disciple to stand upon a foundation which can abide before God in the day of His absolute and utter vindication. But in order that this may be so, you and I, under the Holy Spirit’s teaching, have to be dealt with very faithfully, and have to come to the place where we are perfectly adjustable before God, where there is all responsiveness to the Holy Spirit, and nothing in us that resists or refuses the Holy Spirit, but where we are perfectly open and ready for the biggest consequence of the Holy Spirit putting His finger upon anything in our lives needing to be dealt with and adjusted. He is here for that.
The alternative to such a work of the Holy Spirit being allowed to be done in us is that we shall find ourselves in a false position, and it is far, far too costly to find ourselves in a false position, even though it only be on certain points. This is a false world we are living in, a world that is carried on upon lies. The whole constitution of this world is a lie, and it is in the very nature of man, though multitudes do not know it, but think they are true. They are trying to build the world on a false foundation. The Kingdom of God is altogether other. It is built upon Jesus Christ, the Truth.
By T. Austin-Sparks from: The School of Christ – Chapter 2
““Lord, You failed me, You were not true to Your word”?” so, Ourkairos, how many people have you healed of physical ailments since your god promised that any baptized believer in Christ as savior could do so in both Mark 16 and James 5. Why has this supposed god not given any of you self-described Christians this ability? Why think your version of Christianity is the correct one?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Please stop your incessant whining
Your breaking my brain
“Please stop your incessant whining
Your breaking my brain”
aka I don’t have an answer and I’m angry about someone pointing that out.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The answer may lay in the mystery that we do not follow miracles but to the contrary miracles follow us. So that the Lord receives all Glory.
and more excuses from a Christian on why he can’t do what his god promised. How not surprising.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I was a Christian (Presbyterian) and now I’m an atheist. I read the bible and realized that even if this god was real, I would never worship such a horrible character. Add to that the fact that there is no evidence for the essential claims of the bible and I left Christianity behind. Not with out a fight though, I prayed for this god to help me not lose my faith.
That didn’t happen. I spent some years looking at other religions and came to the conclusion that they are just like Christianity: a lot of claims that aren’t true. There is no reason to believe in deism for again there is no evidence for some entity that started reality and then wandered away.
You ask “what if Christianity if false”? Well, we get the same world we have now, since there is no evidence of a god working in it. There is no evidence of a resurrection nor of any of the other essential events in the bible. You can ask the same about all of the other religions: what if “x” is false”, and get the same answer. No god evident, no god needed as far as we know.
Why are you certain a god exists and particularly your version of the Christian god since Christians vary widely on what they claim their god wants, does, etc? And why does it scare you so much to accept that all is material? Is it the idea of death? There is nothing rational or reasonable to believe in what amounts to magic since that has never been the answer to any question. We have no evidence for anything but materialism.
That you claim if your god didn’t exist your morals wouldn’t change is interesting. This indicates that morals come from humans, not any god as most theists claim. There is no problem with evolutionary theory and rationality and morality. Plantinga’s argument fails since it depends on his willful ignorance of what evolutionary theory is which leads him to entirely make up probabilities that fit what he wants to be true. All he ends up with is an argument from personal incredulity. We know we have reliable (although occasionally faulty) faculties is because we can manipulate the world as we want. If our faculties were unreliable as Plantinga needs them to be, then we wouldn’t be much above the other animals.
You also seem to be trying to argue that atheists shouldn’t argue with theists about their god. You ask “why would I?” You ignore the fact that belief in gods aka religion causes harm and that harm needs to be countered. I don’t much care if I cause doubt in the believer, but I do care if I can stop someone from acting on and spreading their religion based hate.
Why is an objective purpose to life better than a subjective one? And yes, that if someone wants to make up a god, which each theist does in their own image, then yep, they are doing exactly the same as everyone else is, finding a subjective purpose.
That you try to claim that it is “no objection” to point out that people shouldn’t force their nonsense on others is just an excuse so you can have a reason to allow Christians to do so. Your rights end where mine begin and no your purpose to spread what could be hate and ignorance is indeed different from someone who doesn’t want to do so. Yep, it’s subjective but we humans tend to share ideas when they work to enhance civilization. We’ve found that people who want to proselytize, or worse, convert by the sword, don’t do that. We tear down harmful beliefs like slavery, considering women as property, the idea that humans can do whatever they want with the earth, etc.
You turn to what is essentially Pascal’s wager when you say “There is nothing to gain or lose by believing in a false purpose.” You have plenty to lose by believing in a false purpose: time, resources being the main two. Atheists who point out that no one has an objective purpose in life given to them by a god doesn’t undermine ourselves at all. We wouldn’t have wasted time on building useless churches and cathedrals to supplicate a god that doesn’t appear to exist.
Most atheists aren’t hedonists and most atheists aren’t “evangelical”. Some atheists, like me, stand up against the misinformation that theists try to spread about us. That misinformation might be intentional lies or just ignorance.
I could not worship a god that has worse morals than I have even if it was shown to be real. I’ve read the bible, as a believer and as not, and I know what things this god is claimed to have done and to supposedly do in the future. It isn’t much of a god. I could see myself worshipping a better god, even if it weren’t omnipotent/omniscient, etc, like the polytheism gods but only if I liked it, not because it just was powerful. I don’t hold to a might equals right morality like so many theists do, excusing anything as long as they think their god did/wants it.
LikeLiked by 2 people
The first line: “I think anyone who truly values knowing the truth will routinely critique their current beliefs. It is important to me to continually refine my beliefs, picking out the weak spots and making them stronger, or changing them if necessary.”
This is very good for everyone to do. That’s what did. It took awhile as I began as a skeptic raised in the world of Mormonism. From my viewpoint I was able to see the scam of religion in general, and of monotheism in particular. Religion has a sordid history and is the great divider of humanity and is supported by the delusion that there is something more than just this life and the belief that there is an additional realm. This is the realm of the supernatural. Where is this other realm; this other world of spirits and gods and eternal souls? It exists only in the minds of human beings. Early humans created this other world to explain what they didn’t and couldn’t know. It is a mental construct and humans have been chained to it forever. It is a type of mental illness whereby we convince ourselves and each other of the dream of eternity. We humans will never realize our full potential until we accept our true place in the universe. There is but one life, not two. GROG
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m a Muslim and I’d probably feel lost if I didn’t believe in Islam. That’s partly due to being born into it but more importantly because I read a lot about other faiths and haven’t seen anything equal to or better than my current faith. I guess I’d be a theist or maybe believe in another Abrahamic faith, I don’t know but I would feel lost.
“Morality describes human action. An action is good if it leads to the flourishing of our human nature, and bad if it does not. I already believe this as a Christian and I could affirm it as an atheist.”
If there is no God then there is only space-time-matter out of which arose a complex organism that takes in nutrients and stimuli, processes these in a part of the organism that has been labelled as the brain, and then for the most part seeks to do what will led to satisfying thoughts – what might be called pleasure.
Those satisfying thoughts will vary over a VERY wide range, from a person who gets pleasure from helping others, from food, from sex, from hurting others, from popularity, from a “legacy”, from fame, from “success”, from wealth, from killing, from hurting themselves, from power, from fitting in with their society, from standing apart from their society, etc.
In a non-God morality, “good” can be defined by a herd morality, where many people decide that something is good, but that ignores the existence of different herd moralities as well as individuals who have their own independent morality, as well as variations over time.
For example of herd morality, in some parts of society less than a century ago a white person who tried to do “good” by preventing a lynching of a black person would be viewed by much of society as an evil “n…r lover” who was preventing the removal from society of an “uppity n…r”. Today the person doing the lynching would be viewed by much of society as an evil racist – who knows what will be the herd morality in a few decades from now.
I see no objective basis for an atheist morality that can define “good”, “flourishing”, or “bad” across all societies, all times, and covers individuals who stand apart or even opposed to society.
“Do unto others …” is universal, all times, all places, all societies, all individuals, ONLY because it was said with authority by Jesus
“Human flourishing” is objective and universal. If you are a human being, there are actions that lead to your flourishing and that do not lead to your flourishing, irrespective of whatever culture you find yourself in, and irrespective of whatever you may believe.