If there’s any chance that God exists.

I am grateful for many things.

As a bare minimum, I am grateful for my existence. The chance of my existence seems extremely slim.

I am grateful for my children, for their wellbeing, for the fact that, right now, they are not in any sort of trouble, not ill, not struggling with their work too much, not desperate for attention, nor addicted to television. Sometimes when I contemplate the weight of gratitude I have for my children, I forget how to breathe.

I am grateful for my wife, a model of virtue, a delight to my my mind and my senses; God, I love that woman.

I am grateful for many things. But what can I do with this gratitude? At least three things.

  1. Honour my ancestors.
  2. Honour my descendents.
  3. Honour the Creator.

I used to struggle with the existence of God. I don’t anymore. Many of the people who were supposed to be responsible for my religious education and spiritual nourishment didn’t seem to take it very seriously, but that’s another story. Thankfully, things change. And besides…

If there’s any chance, any whatsoever, any small, minuscule smidgeon of a possibility that a Creator exists, then justice, and at least good manners, dictates that my gratitude belongs to Him. I must give God due worship. I mean, what’s lost in a quick prayer before meals and a trip to church once a week? What am I going to do instead? Oh, well, you know, just in case God doesn’t exist, I’m going to make the most of my extra hour a week by watching Netflix and playing online chess. Come on. Really. What if He does exist? Seriously? What if?

My suggestion, in case you’re still reading: Whatever else you think about God, as a bare minimum, offer Him your gratitude. Say a prayer. Say thank you. Drive your Grandma to church. She’ll like the company.

2 thoughts on “If there’s any chance that God exists.

  1. For the sake of discussion, I will play along with this. If there is a creator, then it is extremely vague about what exactly it created. Is it merely the force the initiated the big bang? Did it create the first single-celled organism that eventually evolved into me? Because my life, the people around me, and the world I live in don’t appear to me to have been created by someone. I believe that there is a natural explanation for everything, so if there is a creator, then I don’t have much to attribute to it. In the beginning of time, I was not part of the creator’s agenda. The probability that I (or any other specific individual) would end up existing are unfathomably slim. Sure, I might thank it for creating the universe or the first organism, just to cover my bases. But I would never worship it, seeing as I would have nothing to worship it for. I see general reasons for why and how life works, and I don’t feel the need to grovel or pray to its first cause.

    Given that, I personally don’t see enough evidence of the existence of God to see it worth my time to spend that hour of my week praying. The primary reason is that if I were God, I would rather have people be honest and admit that they don’t believe in me, than these same unbelievers showing great insincerity by praying and worshiping just to “cover their bases,” when it is forced and ingenuine. This is the general atheist response to Pascal’s Wager, which you have described.

    1. This is a common misunderstanding about the nature of God, common not least of all because it (seems to be) held by many theists also, that God is a natural object, a being. I quite agree that this deist Paley’s God is perhaps not worthy of worship (though, as an aside, I still think it would be a legitimate candidate for the reception of gratitude). But God is supernatural, pure intellect, being itself, truth, beauty and goodness itself, first cause not merely in the temporal sense but in the sense of only necessary being. But all this philosophy is beside the point. My (variation on) Pascal’s wager is about What To Do With All This Gratitude, though I happily concede that my wee blog post doesn’t convey that very well. Anyway, I did atheism; it was mightily unproductive vis-a-vis my sense of virtue, my parenting, my ability to act, etc. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Best of luck with your searching!

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