Question from James:
Why must atheists be just as equally hard core biased about their beliefs as Christians?
I do not believe in the existence of a deity. Although I do highly condone God. As no one can logically argue that “God” is not simply the best thing for mankind.
I just want to know why despite your beliefs you can fail to see reason, and even if there is no God, why shouldn’t we all just pretend for our own sakes?
Some non-believers are nevertheless very supportive of religion, like you. They argue that believing in gods is beneficial even if the beliefs themselves are false. Philosopher Daniel Dennett calls this position “belief in belief”. Biologist-blogger Jerry Coyne calls it “faitheism”.
When trying to logically determine whether belief in gods or in a particular god is ultimately beneficial, you need to look at both sides of the issue.
Pros: There are in fact several studies which show small but significant differences in happiness, health and longevity between theists and atheists, always in favour of the theists. (Atheism is generally favoured in studies which focus on certain other attributes.) Fear of God may very well encourage good behaviour, though it’s not the only way to encourage this.
Cons: believers may devote huge amounts of time, money and effort to their churches which might be spent more productively, they tend to antagonise members of other churches and religions, and they live their lives by laws which may not in fact be backed by an absolute authority, and therefore may steer them wrong.
Atheists aren’t entirely blind to the possible benefits of religion. Its perils, however, are substantial enough to make any judgement of its ultimate worth on its own merits very difficult. In the absence of a clear verdict, atheists like me tend to encourage people to be atheists, simply because there don’t appear to be any gods.
“Atheists aren’t entirely blind to the possible benefits of religion. Its perils, however, are substantial enough to make any judgement of its ultimate worth on its own merits very difficult.”
Question from James: