This is ironic, considering that very few people may actually believe in God.
You may think that I am being facetious here. After all, billions of people around the world believe in God.
But do they really?
I shall quote a conversation between a certain old man and a certain young man, in a novel which I shall not name. What the book title is, and who the author is, is less interesting than the point which the fictional old man makes:
The old man leaned toward me, resting a blanketed elbow on the arm of his rocker.I shall be taking a break from blogging, to turn to my other writing pursuits. See you in another week or so.
“Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone would be frantic to determine which religion was the true one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives to converting others to their religions.
“A belief in God would demand one hundred percent obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few. The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the underlying reality.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “If you asked them, they’d say they believe.”
“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.”
“Are you saying God doesn’t exist?” I asked, trying to get to the point.
“I’m saying that people claim to believe in God, but most don’t literally believe. They only act as though they believe because there are earthly benefits in doing so. They create a delusion for themselves because it makes them happy.”
“So you think only the atheists believe their own belief?” I asked.
“No. Atheists also prefer delusions,” he said.