As You Were, So Shall You Be

Question from Alex:
Once you believed in religion. Then you understood that they are telling you fairytales. You became a so-called atheist. When you look back now, you say: How stupid was I! Can’t you imagine that one day you will look back at your actual state – and say the same?

Answer by SmartLX:
I wasn’t stupid to believe, and neither does anyone else deserve to be called stupid solely for having religious faith, because you don’t have to be stupid to be wrong.

In my case I was raised a Catholic, lived in a majority Christian environment and never really had any reason to question the core beliefs. Once I did eventually start to question them, they didn’t last long. In the absence of external evidence one way or the other, careful examination of one’s own beliefs can cause them to change – and for some they may be strengthened instead.

I can imagine myself believing in a god in the future. Maybe I’ll have some traumatic experience and rationalise it in religious terms while still badly affected, possibly thinking my sanity and my will to live are contingent on the existence of a god. Maybe I’ll have a religious experience under the influence of a drug, a medical condition or sleep paralysis, and think I’ve seen Jesus. Maybe I’ll fall in with a crowd of Christians and talk so much theology with them that I forget I’m taking God’s existence as read for discussion’s sake. Or maybe God will change my heart directly, like He’s supposed to.

There are tons of reasons why I might change my mind later, but hardly any of them need me to be wrong right now. The undeniable possibility that I will one day believe in God again does not make God any more likely to be real. It just means that it’s difficult to stay entirely rational for one’s whole life, even about important things like this.

One thought on “As You Were, So Shall You Be”

  1. Only if there is hard real evidence of god existing would I call myself silly for not believing. And by hard real evidence I mean really real – like a voice from the sky saying “Mind your manners” the next time I utter a perceived blasphemy. And the voice must be heard by others too of-course – my personal testimony is not sufficient for me to take as serious evidence. And it should have been proved beyond doubt to not be a hoax.

    In the absence of such evidence I am likely to remain an atheist.

    I think its best to suspend belief or have no belief if there is no real evidence.
    It’s hard to suspend belief sometimes. Belief gives one surety and surety helps one in times of crises when everything else seems so bizzare and unsure. But I have felt that surety before and found it to be empty and shallow when I scrutinized its core.
    What has helped me in most times of crises is a surety of myself, surety of my knowledge of the world and how things & people work and surety of the knowledge of the limitedness of my own life (which makes me want to get through the crisis so that I can enjoy the rest of the limited time of this life I have left).

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