I have been having some interesting chat over at the blog run by DL Foster called, Gay Christian Movement Watch. In this conversation, I have heard from Christians who claim that those who do not believe in god have chosen to reject god. I would suppose that this claim is not only false, it is impossible.
Now the following will be deep and philosophical. You have been warned…..
I find it impossible that anyone could just “choose” at will to believe in god and more than they could choose to believe a tea pot is orbiting the earth. Like all of our beliefs, our belief in god is a conclusion reached by examining evidence (regardless how faulty that evidence may be.) Christians examine the evidence and then come to a conclusion that the god of the Judeo-Christian bible is the one true god. Muslims examine the evidence and come to the conclusion that Allah is the one true god. Atheists on the other hand look at the evidence (and the multitude of choices for a god) and come to the conclusion that none of these are god. Thus the belief is not a choice but a conclusion.
This all becomes more complex when we look closer since we find that a belief in god only scratches the surface. If one were able to just “choose” to be a Christian they would need to suddenly, believe in not just god, but a set of beliefs. First of those being that there is a god followed by the belief that this god is actually involved in our lives, followed by the idea that there is an afterlife and the god choose who gets what in that after life. After all of these belief are now chosen, you would have to choose that the bible is actually written about god, and that historically Jesus existed (which I would agree he did) and that Jesus is actually the son of god, etc..etc.. etc….
Bottom line is that no one could possibly choose to believe all of those things at the drop of a hat anymore than they could believe that Elvis is still alive. To test this hypothesis, I would suggest to you that you “make” yourself or “choose” for yourself, right now to believe that Elvis is alive. Can you?
If you were able to convince yourself, at whim, to believe Elvis is alive then you can now take my theory and toss it out the window. If you were unable to just suddenly “choose” to believe Elvis is alive, would someone be able to say your reject the living Elvis? Of course not, that would be ludicrous. How can you reject something you do not believe exists?
If I said to you that it was snowing outside and it was July in Rhode Island would you be able to “choose” to believe me? Of course not, based on what you know about the universe and the weather, you would conclude I am lying and that it is not snowing in July. This is the same concept as a Christian (or Muslims) telling you believe or else….even at the threat of damnation, no one can just “make themselves” believe in god. It is just impossible. It would involve a process of abandoned reason in order to believe in the god of the bible (or any other god).
To say that I choose to reject god therefore damning me to hell is also a matter of free will. I would suppose that either free will doesn’t exist or that god is not all knowing. You cannot have it both ways. It would make god one sick and cruel creator if he knew before creating me that I would end up in hell, yet he created me anyway. That would make god an asshole! Since I have been told my entire life that “god is love,” then the fact he would knowingly send his creations to a pit of fire means one of two things: 1) He is an asshole after all or 2) He doesn’t really exist. After years of anguish about this, I have concluded on #2.
For the record, if I were a god and I were to create a being, and claim I loved it, it would never have a tortured end. If I, being all knowing, knew my creation would suffer in a fire pit for all eternity, I would simply not create it. I instead would go out for coffee with the other gods or create something that I “knew” would not have a tortured after life.
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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