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The Fox 5366
 
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The difference between Belief and Understanding

20 June 2012, 14:31
Allow me a chance to bring my own take on the religious debate which is raging - predominantly between the atheists, ironically - and ask one question: If God (not necessarily the Christian interpretation) undeniably revealed that He existed today, would you change the way you live your life in any way?

Many atheists like to scoff at religious people by asking them to prove the existence of God scientifically. This is a bit of a false request because it firstly assumes that God's presence can be captured by current scientific measurements and secondly because atheists love to point out that for themselves it is impossible to disprove that something that has never been scientifically recorded does not exist.

That said, imagine if the sky opens up, and a booming voice is heard to say, "Hark, I am God, I exist. ktxbye"

What would happen? Would all atheists drop to their knees and repent? Well, to the atheists here - would you, seriously?
I doubt it. What would more likely happen is that the highest concept of 'God' would almost be dirtied by becoming associated with the reality we're all mired in, and I think that 'God' would be treated like an alien. Goodness knows, the Americans would probably overnight transform from a religious society to one which is seeking a way to defend itself militarily from this 'God' person.

Belief is central to religion, so once belief is replaced with worldly knowledge religion itself would change.

There is something about being open to nuance in the world and placing value in spiritual occurrences which cannot be easily explained to an atheist, and which would be completely lost if there was no longer any point in religion's central credo of 'believing without having seen'.

I've often speculated that it is this appreciation of nuance which results in behaviour which is different from the alternative, and that is a reason God might be deliberately concealing His presence. Or it might be because God doesn't want to paint a smiley face on his pinky finger and display that to the little ants scurrying around on this planet, just so that we can conceive his presence.

In a Post-Revelation world, it would all depend on whether or not God was going to force His will on humanity concretely, and if not there'd be very little change. People ignore their parents all the time, so this would just be the same concept on a very existential level: if God simply gave people a Bible v2.0, the polarisation of humanity would still exist.

Some people would live by those rules because they feel that the rules themselves make sense to them, and others would not.

Of course, the question of Heaven and Hell also becomes relevant. If Hell was a concrete concept, and it turned out that humans had no way through their limited earthly means to escape it, you'd still have hedonists and criminals.

This is just a thought, because it serves to advance the debate out of its deadlock. We move away from 'Does God exist or not?' to 'So what does it mean firstly to me, and then to other people, if He does?'
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