This post from Pat got me thinking:
[quote]That’s precisely what I meant. Leading a good life has no ultimate value if nothing happens when you die or are killed. This true for anybody, theist and atheist alike. Problem is, leading a good life is damned hard, it’s far easier to lead a narcissistic life. I’d like to think in the end, hard work and sacrifice mean something more than “He was a nice fellow, to bad he’s worm food now”
Contrary, I’d like to think assholes like stalin got more than a peaceful death on a comfy bed. There is no real justice in this world, but justice does come in some way or another.[/quote]
I have a sincere question for the believers out there. Please take a few mins to think about it rather than shooting from the hip, because I’m genuinely interested in what you would do.
What if you learned that there was no god, and no afterlife? I realize we can’t know this, but let’s say you did.
How would this knowledge affect the way you live your life?
Would you start murdering people, robbing people, lying to people, etc.? What if you knew you could get away with it? Would anything stop you from doing it?
Would you still love people? Would you try to help others, even if there was no reward for doing so?
Would you spend more time with your loved ones, or less? Would you tell them you love them more, or less? Would you care about their happiness more, or less?
I’m genuinely curious, because I asked myself all of these questions after stepping back from my religious beliefs. I asked myself how the possibility of this life being all there is would affect my values, and the way I live my life.
Obviously the realization would be shocking, confusing, and dismaying. But what about after that? What would you do with the rest of your life?[/quote]
If there is no god, good and evil and love don’t exist, so your question is meaningless.[/quote]
Would you be ok with murdering people? Would you still try to help people?[/quote]
It’s like asking to pretend the background music isn’t playing in our head. We’re this way due possibly to nature, and most certainly from nurture (from ealier or later in life).
Ask me if I’d own slaves in the old South. Sure I could say no, but I couldn’t really mean it with any certainty. This is just as pointless.[/quote]
It’s not an abstract thought experiment, I’m genuinely interested in knowing how that realization would affect the way you treat people.
I know how the belief affected my own perceptions and my own behavior, but I’m curious how it would affect yours.
For myself, I realized that not believing in a god didn’t translate to feeling free to do whatever I want, as long as I could get away with it. I still valued honesty, treating others with respect, etc.
How would it affect you? Are your values 100% dependent on your belief in god and the afterlife, and would you toss away all of those values if you realized there is no god or afterlife? Why or why not?