It is a question I can’t help thinking about even though I am an atheist. Although, to get technical about it, it is a question I think about because I am technically an agnostic. I do not know if God exists or not. So, when I pray to him and ask the question, “God, are You real?” He says loudly, “Don;’t be stupid, Mickey! That is the least important question in the universe!”
I have to wonder at that. If God will punish me forever in a firey pit where I will have to listen to Ben Shapiro talk endlessly while I am lying naked on a bed of broken glass and maggots for not believing in God and not using the proper name for God or not singing the right songs and not talking about the right holy stories about God’s chosen people, then I might want to avoid that outcome.
Then God declares from on high, “Stupid Mickey! There are no rewards or punishments coming from God. How hypocritical would I be if I declared myself a God of Love and Forgiveness and then set the universe in motion only to destroy or torture sentient beings who do things I don’t like, or reward behavior I do approve of? If I really exist, I am beyond trying to correct any supposed flaws in creation. If I did that I would not be God, and therefore not real.”
So, if that’s true, and admittedly I got that truth from loud voices in my own head, then how can I be good without religion?
“Stupid Mickey! You simply do what you know you should do due to the totality of your experiences and education.”
But that pronouncement from God leads me to wonder, “What if my experiences and education lead me to decide to do bad things? I did turn myself into a nudist after I retired as a teacher.”
“But if you believe that what you have done is evil and wrong, you would correct the behavior, would you not? You drew that portrait of a nudist girl with love and care for what you should not violate about her young life. She was pleased by it. Nothing you did in the process was sexual.”
“Are you saying, God, that what I did was actually good?”
“You are the only one who can answer that question, Stupid Mickey. After all, if God had wanted people to be nudists, He wouldn’t have had everyone be born fully dressed in clothing.”
“Is that supposed to be a joke, God?”
“Stupid Mickey, I am just a loud voice in your head, remember?”
Several moments of silence follow.
“So, is it okay with you that I believe I am an atheist who believes in God?”
“You need to tell me.”