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Scary question

Hey guys, just started watching your show on youtube a few hours ago and I think it's absolutely awesome! It has shed new light on me on about why I am not serious about my Catholic religion. Although sometimes I still scare myself with the "What if?" thought. Why? My parents raised me to be Catholic, I was forced to go to church on Sundays in exchange for a breakfast, I even did my holy communion and confirmation! Why does that question scare me?

Ana, ask yourself why you believe, not what you believe. Do you believe something only because you were taught to believe it? Based on a flawed ancient book full of obsolete knowledge and scary stories which contradict each other on so many places? Scientific errors and pseudo morality about slave drivers pedophiles wars etc? Do you believe because you have a certain reason to believe it or only because it was put in your head ever since you started thinking? Does it make sense that some being somewhere in the dark spheres of the universe wants you to "believe in it" and love it only because of such a book.. that would punish you eternally just for not being in its fan club? Such things are what made me realize how stupid that concept is.

Don't use your imagination to make such important decisions for your life, I find your reason and rational thinking is to be trusted rather than fairy tales and other people's ancient stories and experiences which support you to stick to such stories... I mean they were splitting seasin the past, had giants and talking bushes, made blind people see and whatnot, we have to take their word for it? You said you had to go to church on Sundays in exchange for a breakfast.. why would some omnipotent being expect you to sit in some room full of people listening to some dude recite from his old book for you to get some food? How much sense does that make to you? Sure one can be scared because one thinks about hell and the punishment.. but that all loving omnipotent being has better things to do than sending people to his basement to get tortured forever by his "evil creature" because they don't stick to some stupid rules like "don't wear clothes woven with 2 kinds of materials" . How much sense does that make? To me, not much.

Such books were written to mesmerize illiterate people into obedience back in time, they couldn't even read to find all the crap in those books, it is more and more difficult to make people just blindly accept so much bull... unfortunately not difficult enough.. but just this much.. if there is really such a being, omniscient and all knowing, able to do anything, would it depend on some old stupid book to tell you what it wants?

you're scared because you just left your comfort zone. my suggestion for you: don't ask "What if", that'll hold you back; i'm speaking in life here, for everything that you do. if all you do is ask "What if", all you have are regrets. try to rid yourself of this habit, if there's something doubtful presented to you, ask; find out and dispel the lies. if you live a good life and have no regrets, do you think you will have any worries at all?

No need to be afraid :)

Here's a quick and easy way to get rid of it:

Just think about how little sleep you lose over questions like "what if Islam [is true]?" or "What if Hinduism [is true]?".

In that same manner, you can dismiss Christianity.

The reason why this question still scares you is because you have been brainwashed from early childhood (thus you are somewhat answering your own question ;D).

Getting rid of something that has used your own fears against you to manipulate you is pretty intense. You did a great job already, by not letting yourself being manipulated by those fears (which have been installed in your mind by religion) any longer. All you have to do is take some more steps in order to rid yourself of those "what if" questions.

Don't get me wrong "what if's" are great! Those are the questions that will expand our horizons. But only if they don't disable and paralyze us!

Ana: "Although sometimes I still scare myself with the "What if?" thought."

I believe it is natural (could I come up with a more loaded term?) for any being that is self aware to ask, "Why am I here?" Religion offers an answer. I think religion is part of an evolutionary process as we try to understand the world around us and our place in it. This is my own personal opinion and should not be taken as a statement for Atheists in general. I am sure many would disagree with me.

Religion serves to explain many things we do not understand. And as our understanding grows, religion is pushed further and further away. Why we are here remains a most baffling question.

My own personal journey led me to simply accept that we are here. I accept that I do not need to answer 'why' to live my life. The meaning of my life is up to me to determine.

If Pascal's Wager is what is bothering you, I am sorry to say, things are much worse than you think. It is not a matter of 'What if Christianity is right?'. It is a matter of what if Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Taoists, Pagans, ect. are right? There are so many religions out there and they are all pretty much mutually exclusive. How can one possibly know which one is The One True Way®.

I believe the fact that there are so many religions is telling evidence that man created god(s) in his own image. If one is a man-made deception, how much of a leap is it to say they are all man-made deceptions? Christians like to say that Atheists are arrogant for denying god. Is it not equally arrogant to deny every other god(s) except the one you happened to be exposed to?

"Religion offers an answer."

It doesn't. It simply asserts one. BIG difference. Anyone can assert something to be an "answer".

-> What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

The fact that any run-of-the-mill average-joe can assert an answer is why we have so many religions in the first place.

There's a difference between a REAL answer and one that is MADE-UP so that people shut up and stop questioning things.

"Religion serves to explain many things we do not understand."

Religion has never "explained" anything* - all it does is putting many of the mysteries under one big umbrella-mystery: God.

(*and when it did, it was usually wrong.)

"God did it!" is simply not a useful answer.

Why does the sun rise? God did it!

Why are there rainbows? God did it!

How do rainbows work? God did it!

Why are we here? God did it!

This "answer" has no explanatory power. It can't even help us in our endeavours to understand how things work, or assist us in making predictions.

There are no predictions that could be derived from "god did it".

"And as our understanding grows, religion is pushed further and further away."

Good observation.

"My own personal journey led me to simply accept that we are here. I accept that I do not need to answer 'why' to live my life. The meaning of my life is up to me to determine. "

This is a pretty sane, straight-forward and rational attitude. It's honest and elegant.

Acceptance and Honesty (Integrity) are the biggest virtues in my book.

You don't speculate or assert something and I admire you for that.

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