November 4, 2007

Promise of Heaven

If you knew your death was certain, but all you had to do to keep living was as simple as pressing a button, wouldn't you press that button?

If you had to make that choice everyday, would you continue to press that button?

Some people have faith in an afterlife. Some people pretend to have faith in an afterlife, just in case it's true. Most religious people I've ever met fit in the latter case. They say they have faith, but they aren't "pushing the buttons" that their faith teaches in order to reach the afterlife.

Pretending to have faith, in order to fit into your culture, is pointless. I respect people who can live the life of true faith. Problem is, I've only heard rumors of such people, I've never met one.

From Scott Adam's book God's Debris:

“They say that they believe because pretending to
believe is necessary to get the benefits of religion. They tell
other people that they believe and they do believer-like
things, like praying and reading holy books. But they don’t
do the things that a true believer would do, the things a true
believer would have to do.

“If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will
jump out of the way. That is belief in the reality of the truck.
If you tell people you fear the truck but do nothing to get
out of the way, that is not belief in the truck. Likewise, it is
not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and
hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation.
When belief does not control your most important
decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief
in the usefulness of believing.”

Do you need the promise of rewards, or the threat of punishments, in order to make the daily decisions of your life and those you influence?

Today's Music - Devils and Dust - Bruce Springsteen

1 comment:

Mauigirl said...

Very interesting topic and good quote from Scott Adams. I agree I've only known a few people of true faith who really lived what they believed.

What's interesting is even back a few hundred years ago, they were looking at faith as a wager - like Pascal who said it is to his advantage to believe, because what does he have to lose in believing? If you don't believe and it turns out to be true you lose everything.

My problem is I've never been able to have that willing suspension of disbelief that allows true faith to happen. But that doesn't mean I don't believe in the morals that religion teaches and try to live by them. I don't think you need to truly believe in God or an afterlife to know what the right thing is to do. I may not always do it, but I know what I should do.