Mister Pterodactyl
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Update to my last post:

In the comments JB wrote,
Usually, when I talk to people about my atheism, I turn things around and discuss the reasons they believe first. 1. That's what they grew up with. Most of their friends believe, their families. There's no reason to think any differently. Indeed, most don't want to think about any alternatives. 2. We are going to die. That scares us. We want to believe we won't. The existence of god gives us comfort and in most cases, if we are good we can be with god and if not... 3. An all powerful, all knowing being gives us an explanation for things we can't understand. God made us. In more primitive times gods guided the wind, rain, anything we couldn't control or overcome. 4. Everything must have a beginning and end. Our lives, the universe. We can't understand that perhaps a parallel lines do go on forever and never cross. The Universe does go on forever and will last forever.

Okay, first, in all probability the universe will eventually succumb to its own gravity and collapse back into itself, thus will not last forever. Outside possibility that it will, after reaching a certain point, then begin expanding again. Will that be the same universe 'lasting forever,' or will it be an entirely new universe?

Second, and more importantly, reason #1 is a cause for belief, though one that I discounted in my own case. The other three reasons are not cause. They're fringe benefits of belief (assuming that belief is in fact warranted). Religion may provide some comfort, but that's not enough to make one believe. It's the 'hedging your bets' idea: profess belief and go to church and whatever, then if true I reap the benefits, if false I haven't lost anything.
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