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Should We Believe?
So the question has been identified. The question is no longer does God exist but has moved to "should we believe in a Deity?" As an atheist I, ordinarily, would answer with a quick 'no' but recently I have been challenged by theists that I meet in my everyday life, arguing that belief in their God is beneficial.
Personally, I would like to assure that this document will address religion as a more general matter, not about one religion in particular.
Born in 1623, Blaise Pascal offers a view of religion that most Atheists do not consider, consequentialism. Pascal proposed a theory that states that regardless of our personal feelings, an atheist should believe in the Christian god and worship him due to the consequences tied to this choice.
Picture it: if you believe in God and in the end God exists, you are rewarded with eternal happiness in Heaven. However, if you do not believe in God and God does exist in the end, you will be punished with eternal torture. The flip side of this is that if God does not exist neither party is affected in the end.
On a personal level, this on first sight makes sense and should be considered but on actively looking into this, it starts to fall apart.
A quote from Friedrich Nietzsche
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man?
Was Pascal Right?
Firstly, Pascal started this with one assumption that is not one that makes sense here: the only God this applies to in context is the Abrahamic, Christian god. This is a terrible assumption to make as, since time began, there has been thousands of gods. Based on this fact, why should we presume that the one god that does exist is that of the Christians? It is as likely (or rather unlikely) to be Allah, Zeus, Shiva or even Poseidon is the one true deity.
In addition, believing only because of the consequences is dishonest and would therefore result in the aforementioned eternal punishment and condemnation to the true deity's equivalent of Hell. This would occur as it's physically impossible to just will yourself to believe in something that you don't truly think to be correct.
Nonetheless, if Pascal is right to that you should believe in a god for this reason, that is not to say you would still go to "Heaven". According to most respected theologians, the reason you are condemned to Hell is due to the guilt harboured that you may never lose by yourself. This in itself means you will forever be in Hell if you choose your beliefs for a selfish reason.
Do you believe in a god/gods?
© 2017 Corey Campbell