If, God existed... Relevant to Agnostics.

What would you PREFER?

  • I’d prefer not to know that a god/deity existed
  • I’d prefer to know that god or deity existed
  • I’d prefer that a god or deity did not exist
0 voters

If seeing is knowing and by extension knowing is believing (seeing = knowing = believing) what would an agnostic or an atheist choose in the following situation: You have an opportunity to know, with certainty, about the existence (or non-existence) of god/deity. Once shown the ‘proof’ you will be able to provide that proof to anyone and they will, without fail, accept the proof as undeniable. What would ILP members choose, to know or not to know?

Shakespearean accent That is the question. I imagine all ILP members would want to know… philosophy, after all, is the search for knowledge. However, assuming you choose to know, with certainty, what would you prefer the outcome to be? Would you prefer that a god/deity exists? Would you prefer that a god/deity does not exist?

ASSUMING you are shown proof that a deity exists:

  1. How would that change your life?
  2. How would that change the lives of everyone you provide this proof to?
  3. If everyone was shown this irreproachable proof how would that affect the world?
  4. Which religion would you prefer that deity to advance, favor, champion, and/or enforce?

As for me… I would choose to know for sure but would prefer that the deity did not exist. Why? See below:

  1. A deity’s existence would change so much about my life. I believe that selfishness is the driving force of a healthy economy (why else does communism fail? :slight_smile:) Consequently, I choose to be selfish to further my career, my aspirations, my life (the benefit it does to others is merely a ‘side effect’). I imagine a deity would call me towards an unselfish life where I would give more of myself than I am really willing to…

  2. I think that this would drastically alter the lives of many of my friends (coincidentally many of them are agnostics or atheists). Of course, if I have to suffer the truth so MUST they… again with the selfishness.

  3. A world that was certain of a deity’s existence would change drastically… how is difficult to predict but I wager that fewer wars and acts of hate would be tolerated and unity would spread (though not completely–peace would still be far away).

  4. The original doctrine practiced by the first century disciples (A.K.A. true Christianity). I think that true Christianity is a beautiful religion that has been victimized… (see link below for more details on this belief)

ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/vi … t=#1640587

I leave you with the following: “One of Us”, Joan Osborne’s song whose lyrics, in relevant part, are below:

That’s a tough one! :astonished: On the one hand, it would be sort of cool if there was a God. The universe would then have inherent meaning, and you wouldn’t have to figure out how to live or how you fit into the universe. If God was real, and you knew it, and s/he or it revealed to you how you should live, life would be much easier.

On the other hand, if God really does exist, then he oughta get sacked for the haphazzard and lousy way he’s conducted his affairs. I’d just as soon there not be a God, really. S/he hasn’t really contributed much as far as I can see, and really isn’t necessary. Even the concept allows people to defer the need to make their own choices.

On the balance, whichever way it really turned out to be, I would want to know the truth. For the most part I’d always prefer to know the truth, however unpleasant it may be.

errr…I second Phaedrus comment.

I don’t know how it could affect many people, even me, if proof of God’s existence is provided. I mean, surely many people really believe that god exists—they believe it like their belief is proof enough.

So, what about the agnostics and atheists?

I don’t know where I sit. My parents and the priest have planted a “seed of doubt” in my mind—the reasoning goes like this:

I, as a child, was told god exists. As a teenager, the outside world would influence heavily my attitude and beliefs. As an adult, I have formed, and will continue to form, beliefs that most likely would contradict what I have been taught as a child. Here comes the seed of doubt—though I may form a belief contradictory to what I have been taught as a child, there would always be this nagging question “What if god really exists?” “What if there really is eternal life?”

Then, I’m screwed—big time.

Undeniable proof is impossible without submission of one’s ability to reason, compare and contrast. Even if it came to a point where everybody knew this undeniable proof, and one’s ability to compare that truth with things in the future would change everything.

What about people who hear about this " proof " which instantly changes other people and grow premptively hostile to the idea of something that could just be hypnotization and reject it ? ( this alone could spread untold violence and division)

What if you are drunk or on drugs in the future (after seeing the light) and are too distorted to allow logic and reason to justify that once undeniable proof?

If that proof is truely undeniable then it isnt really proof because there is no way to deny it !!! … No way to perceive an alternative means that if you submit to seeing it, you lose your ability to verify it.
So basically you either doubt it or beleive it. Seeing is not beleiving because human beings have a higher standard of proof.

The more I think about this the more I wish I hadnt responded, no offense.

I simply dont demand proof from anybody or anything. I trust myself.
I came to beleive in God through logic and reason… I would never submit that ability because without that ability I would only be ignorant.

Yeah, Pascal’s Wager, for sure. :laughing: Although, if you’d been born in China, Africa or India you’d probably have been indoctrinated differently. Speaking from the standpoint of having grown up Catholic, I’ll confess I still have a sneaking admiration for the ceremony and pageantry of the RCC. I may not believe in it but I still find it fascinating.

RCC = The Roman Catholic Church.

Say something about Pascal’s wager in connection with this topic. Briefly.

I simply mean that, having grown up in a Catholic household, I concede that if my parents are wrong, they’ll simply die forever anyway. But if they’re right, then they will go to Heaven for believing (while I’d be smoking a turd in Hell!). So in that sense, there’s no downside- they get contentment in life and at worst when they die they just cease to be, none the wiser.

In truth it’s a False Dilemma, though- there really could be a God, but a different one, or even several gods. So in strict terms, it’s not a foolproof plan to base your faith on “why not?” :laughing:


Thank you for that answer. I suppose I love my parents and so, if they were wrong—they wouldn’t have to suffer from the consequences. If they were right—they live happily ever after! :stuck_out_tongue:

In a way, I wish I could convince myself that Christianity, or any religion for that matter, was true. It would make things simpler. But no matter how I’ve tried I just can’t buy into it. One pesky fact gets in the way- I just don’t think God’s real. :wink:

I voted to know that a deity does indeed exist. Let’s face it the idea of a Supreme Ruler and an afterlife is appealing. I think this is one of the main reasons why so many people are theists, rather than agnostics or atheists. They would rather not even entertain the idea that death may just be final.

To be honest, it probably wouldn’t change my life much at all except for the fact that I would publish my findings and spread the proof that there is indeed a deity.

No idea, as I do not know what type of deity this would be

Same as above.

This sure is an easy one. None. I believe all religions are insufficient, and some even misguided in their “laws”.

A thought… I am not certain what proof would be accepted by everyone as undeniable other than god in the flesh (I am not referring to Jesus and there is no pun intended). I wonder what would serve as proof that god existed? Is seeing = believing?

If god came down from heaven and spoke to all on earth and performed miracles would some still doubt, even their own eyes? Is there anyone who doesn’t believe the world is round (isolated tribes being the exception). Phaedrus’ comments led me to ponder this: If the proof was suddenly available would many feel angry that the god/deity did not arrive before? Where has god been all this time? Why has the deity ignored us? Had we been forsaken?

I had often pondered the following, I would like to hear opinions/observations on the following:

Is the search for god an indelible part of the human experience? If not, then why is it that atheists continue to plead their case so strongly: see threads “Why is there such an aversion to religion here?” and “In defense of religion, especially for Christianity” as JUST two examples. I think that part of the reason atheists are so adamant about their points is that they must continuously prove it to themselves and partly because in its own way it is a search for god (in that it is a search for proof that there is no deity).

If the search for god is an indelible part of the human experience than could the following be a JUST proposition:

Could it be that god, in his infinite wisdom (or simple wisdom), understands that the search for god is important and vital to human experience and as such god has intentionally ‘hidden’ from us?

Phaedrus makes a strong point above: could it be that god understands that if he revealed himself many (billions?) would abandon the need to experience life? Life, afterall, is about choices: yes; no; believe; doubt; left; right; agree; disagree; etc.

Life grants us free will, free choice. Could it be that proving that god exists is irrelevant? If we removed all doubt about god’s existense then we could not choose to believe in him–wouldn’t we have to believe?! We could not disobey–wouldn’t we have to obey?! We would not have any choice in the matter… life’s purpose could, very possibly, be denied by proving god’s existence.