Why can't athiest answer this question?

Recently, in disagreeing with an athiest over the existence of God I posed this question;

What if you’re wrong?

The only answer I’ve ever really got was “I’m not wrong”. I offer in return to answer her question as to “what if I’m wrong” but the debate always tends to shift elsewhere.

She also tells me that I need to know my bible better and that the answer is in the stars. Not quite sure what she means by that…anyhow, any thoughts, opinions, arguments to this question? Why can’t I get an athiest to concede for one moment and answer this question; what if you’re wrong in your disbelief in God?

May I suggest that you read up on Pascal’s Wager?


If I’m wrong then I will have lived the best life that I could, I will have enjoyed it to the fullest, loved with my whole heart, dedicated my life to service, and done the best I could to improve the lives of others.

And even if I did believe in god I would in all likelihood still have it wrong. Of the tens of thousands of known religions that are practiced or have been practiced throughout history, what are the odds that I would pick the right one?

I’m an atheist, and I’ll answer your question.

If I’m wrong, then I will have lived a life of intellectual honesty, in which I was true to my assessment of the universe.

If I’m wrong, depending on which god turns out to be the real god, then I may or may not be punished for my intellectual honesty.

However, I’ll point out that if, for example, the Muslim god is the real god, then you, Mgray, will be in the same boat as me: you’ll be in trouble for not worshipping the real god in life.

One can ask “what if you’re wrong?” to anyone, but it’s sort of a silly question because anyone could be wrong about anything. A better question is “what makes you think you’re right?”

What is the point of any of the things you mentioned in the first paragraph if you inherit eternal death?

Even if you don’t find the truth we can surely argue that the calculus is clear: seeking is better than not seeking.


The “point” of them is enjoying them for their own sake. The fact that we won’t get to enjoy them forever and ever and ever doesn’t make them any less valuable and enjoyable to us now.

Even if you don’t find the truth we can surely argue that the calculus is clear: seeking is better than not seeking.

I think pretty much everybody would agree that seeking the true is a good thing. Atheists, however, don’t agree with you as to what that truth is.

Hopefully there would be a point to it for all of the people that I touched. I don’t make decisions based on a possible eternal award, I just do the best I can with what knowledge I have to lead a good life and hopefully make others lives better.

Thanks for the reply. Perhaps I should rephrase the question, or maybe add a piece to understand the fullness of the question.

What happens if you’re wrong in your beliefs about God? What happens if there is an afterlife? What then?

You can in turn ask me the same thing, as if God doesn’t exist. But I think you know the answer. Pretty much the same as the one you gave me with the acception that, I die and that’s it.

Now to your second statement…that is a complete other topic which I won’t go to on this thread. But just to put it in perspective, let’s say since you’re on a Catholic forum…you had picked Catholicism as your religion. Being if you did pick a religion.

That is really easy. Your assessment of the universe is limited.

If you are wrong you deny yourself (usually because of pride) the beatific vision forever.

I think their ability to experience God is lacking. Faith is opening one’s heart and mind to God. Faith is a gift you receive from Him. If you are open you will get it.

Bottom line - keep searching for the truth earnestly.

I don’t see how it’s a silly question if we’re debating the existence of God…

If it’s the Catholic God, under some interpretations at least, I’ll be sent to Hell where I will suffer forever.

The same thing will happen to me if the Muslim god turns out to be real, too. And in that case, the same thing will happen to you.

You can in turn ask me the same thing, as if God doesn’t exist.

Or if some other god turns out to be the real god.

Now to your second statement…that is a complete other topic which I won’t go to on this thread.

It’s not a “complete other topic” – it’s absolutely relevant to the thread. You’re pretending that the only two options are “The Catholic God exists” and “No gods exist,” but that’s a false dichotomy.

There are thousands of different possibilities, one for every god or interpretation of god.

You can’t just pluck out one god and pretend it’s either that god or nothing.

It’s “silly” because it gives us no useful information about the truth of the belief.

“Why do you think you’re right?” is a far better question to determine whether a belief is true.

I am not an atheist, but I find your question insulting.

Do you really want people claiming a religion even though they don’t believe? Simply because they might be wrong? That they should fake it?

I suppose this is not an answer to the original question. But I think an important aspect of considering atheism is asking the right question.

The question “do you believe in God?” is given lengthy consideration by countless books/letters/individual conversations.

If that question means (as it seems to, to many people) “Have you considered the evidence and come to the conclusion that God does, in fact, exist?” then I submit that it is very much the wrong question.

“God” is not something that I attempt to prove does exist


“God” is a name by which I attempt to address existence.

A more relevant question than “Does God exist?” is “Can I have a personal relationship with Reality?”

I am convinced that this is the question that a Christian should be asking. And I am convinced that Jesus would answer this question by saying “You can get to know Reality the way an only and most beloved son knows his own father.”


It’s not that it’s about your making decisions based on eternal reward. It’s that you don’t recognize where that goodness you mentioned flows from.

I don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you just saying that “God” is a word for “reality” or “existence”?

Because I certainly believe that existence exists (it’s right there in the name). But I don’t believe that there is a disembodied mind or afterlife or any of the rest.

If you’re just using “God” to mean “reality,” then I submit we already have a perfectly good word for “reality” and that you’re just confusing things by using another word, with its own set of supernatural baggage, to describe the natural world.

This is irrelevant to the original question. The question was, “What if you’re wrong [and a God does exist and goodness “flows” from this God]?”

And her answer was, basically, well I’m still going to have lived a good life, regardless of the fact that I was wrong.

Sent? No, you choose to turn your back to God. Like any relationship both have to face each other. God is always ready to embrace you.

FYI - Jews, Muslims and Catholics worship the very same God, that of Abraham. The Muslims receiving mechanism is fouled up and the Jews do not accept His son.

Nope - only one possibility. Truth. To parse through religions one only has to start looking at their truth claims. Those that honestly search always find the “fullness of truth” in Catholicism.

How good is your life if you turn your back on truth? It can’t be that good…

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