If atheists found out that God is real, what would they do differently in their lives?


I find quora sometimes does have very interesting questions. Notice I say interesting not intelligent.

The first problem( taken literally) with this question implies we believe god is fake or unreal which is a gross misunderstanding of the atheist position. I have no belief in the existence of god or deity.

The second is implied. That the deity we will find is the Abrahamic one who sends you to hell because he loves you very much. Such a deity is terrifying.

If one were to meet, say, the Maori god of earthquakes that Barry was telling me this morning, one could ask them what joy they derived from such destruction? Do they have regrets and can they teach me to create an earthquake?

A meeting with Apollo or was it Bacchus would be a different thing altogether. Maybe we would get so high no meaningful conversation would be possible.

I have digressed.

Atheists live their lives just like other people except they don’t have the tendency to meet on a certain for worship or thank their cats for something that happened to them or that they did and I guess many would continue that way.

Finally, there is an implicit acceptance by this believer that god could as well be real. Or else this believer doesn’t subscribe to an omni god. And I am with anyone who entertains such doubt and I encourage them to move just one step further.

Have a good weekend everyone.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

80 thoughts on “If atheists found out that God is real, what would they do differently in their lives?

  1. If gods were real, I’d ask Thor if I could try to lift his hammer to see if I’m worthy and I’d tell Yahweh what a psychotic, juvenile, piece of shit he is. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. renudepride says:

    If indeed there exists a deity, I most definitely would want to know “What the hell is her/his problem? Why is the world in such a sorry state?” You have a superlative weekend, too, my Kenyan brother! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nan says:

    In my “elderly” age, I’ve gotten to the point of “who cares?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, my first thought was, “which god?” What a person does has everything to do with what we’re talking about.

    In engineering, there is a joke about things being made of polymer. To tell someone that an object is made of polymer is to practically tell them nothing at all, as they are so radically different from one another. Which polymer, and which sub-variant of that polymer, are very important to all that follows.

    Same with gods. There are so many, and they are so different…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Neil Rickert says:

    I deconverted because I came to understand that whether or not there are real gods would not make any difference to my life. It is just one of those unknowable things that don’t actually matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. maryplumbago says:

    I would be disappointed, as to it being just some puny irrational, judgmental god who lusts after animal sacrifices, burning people and has made such a mess of one little insignificant planet…instead of the magnificence, beauty, precision and order of nature itself, occurring by the fantastic laws of physics and incredible lengths of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nannus says:

    And what would theists do if they found out god is real (or is not real).

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Good question nannus.
      How have you been mate? Been quite a while.

      Like

      • nannus says:

        I am fine, but have a lot of work to do. We (some family and friends) are in the process of starting an association to do some help projects for Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria. That takes a lot of my time at the moment besides my professional work (I am going to retire next year, but I am still working full time at the moment) and family stuff. We have the pandemic going on, but I don’t understand how people are getting bored or even find time for watching TV :-). Just had two weeks of holidays. The first week, the weather was fine (astonishingly warm for winter time, but that seems to be the new normal with respect to climate change) so I was able to do a little bit of bike riding, although not at the young man’s level you are doing. I am also having fun with my microscope, getting samples from ponds and looking at the micro organisms. And I have written some philosophical papers to be published in summer. I am going to send you the links when they come out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          I can’t wait for the papers!
          Well there are people who without a structure of what to do with their 18 waking hours fall easily into boredom.
          You are having very busy days soon you might need 32 hour days just to keep pace with all you must do.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Barry says:

    A more telling question might be how would believers of the Judeo-Christian god change the way they live if their god was proven not to exist.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nan says:

      I wish I could “Like” this a dozen or so more times! It would be a GREAT question!

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      Barry, this is a good question.

      Like

    • I would continue living my life exactly the same way if God was proven not to exist. I would still believe in the equality of all human beings, the importance of education, questioning, and critical thinking, and of doing our best and that which is within our means to heal the world and make it a better place.

      Although it depends what you mean by believers in the “Judeo-Christian” God. Within these traditions you have plenty of people (sometimes large minorities) or majorities who don’t believe in the “Judeo-Christian” God in the strictest traditional sense.

      For example, one pew survey titled “American Beliefs’ about the Nature of God” found that while 80% of ALL American answered “yes” to believing in God, ONLY 56% said they believe in the God of the Bible. 80% of Americans who self-identify as Christians believe in the God of the Bible, whereas only 33% of American Jews believe in the God of the Bible, although a majority of Jews (56%) say they believe in a higher power or spiritual force.

      I think there is a lot of variability within the usual religious labels about how different people conceptualize God. You might being asking a certain question and somebody might have a very different perception of what you’re asking.

      Reference: https://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry says:

        Whenever I’m asked “do you believe in god?”, my usual response it to ask two questions:
        (1) What do you mean by “believe in”? That (a) something exists, or that (b) you have put your faith/trust in something.
        (2) What do you mean by god?

        Their response determines whether or not any further discussion can be profitable of either of us. You’d be surprised how many people (and atheists and agnostics are no exception) who become annoyed and consider such questions unnecessary, and that I’m simply trying to hedge my bets. There’s even several blog posts dedicated to criticising my “inability” to understand a simple question or to give a “straightforward” answer.

        Most who get annoyed have a very particular concept of a deity that manifests the very worst notions of an Abrahamic God if they are non-theists, while many theists have similar notions about the same deity, but but make excuses or interpretations that make said deity somehow benevolent.

        What I have noticed is that while the concept of God or gods varies widely in just about every nation, a bell curve chart displaying how that belief is distributed in terms of fundamentalism vs progressivism does vary considerably by nation. For instance, in the US, the spread it towards the conservative/fundamentalist end of the chart, while in NZ the spread is concentrated towards the liberal/progressive end.

        The reason why I made my original comment here was because I’m quite confident that a great many of those at the fundamentalist end of the spectrum would show a more marked change in behaviour than those at the progressive end. It is those who believe ethics and morals rely on divine authority who are most likely to go off the rails if that authority is proven not to exist. It’s the fear of divine retribution that keeps them somewhat in check.

        Liked by 2 people

      • makagutu says:

        This is interesting. I think you would fall on the progressive or Liberal spectrum.

        Like

    • maryplumbago says:

      It might give them license to give them even more meanness and judgemental ways, as they’d have no fear then.

      Like

      • maryplumbago says:

        As far as the conservative fundamentalist types go, that is.

        Like

      • makagutu says:

        Yeah. This is big possibility. Some of them are assholes already whilst believing their god will take people to hell. Imagine their coming to the conclusion such a god doesn’t exist!

        Like

    • basenjibrian says:

      A terrifying question, actually. Our a majority of the American population really deep down inside criminals restrained only by Je-zusssss?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry says:

        I certainly hope not, but there’s a very vocal minority (I hope it’s a minority) that definitely believe the message of Jesus was hate and intolerance, and the only reason they don’t descend into unrestrained violence is they (so far) haven’t been able to find a passage that sufficiently justifies it. But given time, they probably will reinterpret a passage to give them that authority.

        Liked by 2 people

        • basenjibrian says:

          I actually agree with that. I don’t share many liberals “interpretation” of Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild as much of a kind character at all. Hell was a Jesus thing. Saying cheating donors. Spitting those not fanatical enough out of the divine mouth. Cursing out of season fig trees. Being nasty to religious vendors just trying to do some of their traditional business. Sneering at people of the wrong ethnicity. The list goes on. 🙂 The writers who scripted the biblical Jesus took some of the worst aspects of Levantine theology (Greek and otherwise) and put these concepts into Jesus’ words. And Paul was certainly nothing more than a cult fanatic.

          Like

          • Barry says:

            Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild” is something taught to children before eternal damnation and other evils are introduced. But I don’t know of any adult liberals, Christian or otherwise, who hold such a view of him.

            If jesus actually existed, he was a product of his time. What he wasn’t, was a follower of rules if he felt those rules were unfair or unjust. And while the biblical writers put words into Jesus’ mouth to suit specific audiences, I think his overall message was one of fighting against perceived injustices and “othering”. Instead of rules being paramount, it is inclusion and the relief of suffering in all its forms matter most.

            In this respect, I think the Jesus Seminar is correct in claiming only a small percentage of what the Bible puts into Jesus’ mouth are actually his words. And I consider a lot of what is considered “Christianity” should probably be called “Paulianity”.

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              You and I agree. Christianity should he changed to Paulinity to be closer to the truth of what most believers follow or believe. Besides Pauline literature forms, I think, the bulk of the NT

              Liked by 3 people

            • basenjibrian says:

              Perhaps. But I see a “Jesus” who may be skeptical towards “rules” unless He is promulgating them. And for every skepticism towards rules there is thundering condemnation of those who DON’T follow the Master. Like all Cult Leaders?

              I put “Jesus” in quotes because I agree 100% with your last paragraph.

              My comment was partly a snipe towards a common meme on liberalish sites that the religious don’t follow the REAL Jesus, who would vote for Bernie Sanders and love gay people. Given the reality of any real Jesus, this may be unlikely, and I dislike how the liberal tribe try to Cherry Pick from the same Bible to support THEIR stories.

              Like

              • Barry says:

                I see nothing wrong with “cherry picking” if you don’t consider the Bible “God’s Word” and are satisfied the Jesus was just a person like you or I. After all, I admire MLK and Mahatma Gandhi, but I don’t necessarily agree with everything they said, wrote or did. Would you accuse me of cherry picking if I mostly agreed with a speech by MLK but opposed some sections of it?

                Like

                • makagutu says:

                  Me, I would accuse you of disagreeing with parts of MLK speech. I jest

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Barry says:

                    And you’d be correct 🙂

                    I find accusations of cherry very picking hard to swallow. For example I am fully in agreement with much of what you write, partially in agreement with some and completely disagree on occasions. I can’t imagine you or anyone else accusing me of cherry picking for not agreeing with you 100% or disagreeing 100%. Why should it be any different for the authors of the Bible or for the words those authors claim were spoken by Jesus?

                    Of course, if you claim the Bible is infallible and is entirely the “Word of God”, then all bets are off.

                    Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      If people agreed with me all the time, it would point to among other things
                      1. I was always right
                      2. They don’t want to engage with me longer than the nod
                      3. I have not communicated properly
                      4. E. T.c and except for #1 which is highly improbable, the rest are not very interesting.

                      Liked by 1 person

                • basenjibrian says:

                  I guess the argument is that the fundies DO consider it the word of God and so liberals correctly point out the hypocrisy of ignoring some of Jesus’s purported words while ignoring the rest?

                  But even by your interpretaiton of cherry picking, a more positive one, I still dislike the idea of relying on any book as received wisdom. At the same time, religions DO represent a depository of cultural wisdom which is worthy of consideration, but not worship or obedience?

                  Like

                  • Barry says:

                    I’m not sure what yoi mean by “received wisdom”. Wisdom comes in many forms and works such as the Bible is just one of many. The problem with fundamentalists is that they see the Bible as Truth and the only source of truth

                    Like

          • makagutu says:

            The liberal interpretation is to make the Bible palatable for a more enlightened populace.

            Like

            • Barry says:

              I disagree. The liberal interpretation is to acknowledge that the Bible is a product of its time. Much of it is unpalatable because its writers reflect an era that any of us would find unpalatable if we were to suddenly find ourselves transported there. Liberals do not deny that. For this reason they recognise that much of the Bible is a collection of works inspired by beliefs about God and not the written word of God. The Bible only needs to be made palatable if you believe it to be the literal truth.

              Like

              • makagutu says:

                You make a good point, Barry.
                But I think Liberal Christianity is not a very old phenomenon compared to fundamentalist movements.
                I would see Liberal Christianity as similar to the philosopher god- people who believe in a supreme being but are not ready to accept that this being gets involved in our affairs

                Like

                • Barry says:

                  Actually wrong again. Fundamentalism was a response by some conservatives in the wake of liberalism that occurred with the Enlightenment. I don’t know about other countries but here liberalism was lead primarily by religious scholars and the clergy and reached its height in the first half of the twentieth century. In mainstream churches there has been a push back lead by the laity, illustrated very well by the heresy charges against Lloyd Geering.

                  In denominations where congregations have a say in the appointment of their clergy such as with the Presbyterian Church, you can clearly see this where some congregations are more conservative/fundamentalst than 50 years ago while others have abandoned any notion of a deity. The church hangs together for the sake of unity.

                  In denominations where clerical appointments come from outside of congregations the divides are less apparent and the clergy are more generally towards the liberal end of the spectrum.

                  Fundamentalism is primarily found in independent churches and recent arrival of denominations with American roots. Unfortunately they are the churches that are more successful in attracting new adherents. They are also the loudest and more attractive to the media as their notions and actions are more likely to spark controversy, which as always good for news providers.

                  Like

                  • makagutu says:

                    I used fundamentalism for lack of a better word.
                    Are you saying that the bible has always been believed to be the work of men all through the ages? Were church fathers liberal Christians? It is hard to see how with such reasoning, the inquisition would have been possible or the many schisms

                    Like

                    • Barry says:

                      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_fundamentalism for fundamentalism in its modern form.

                      Biblical stories had been accepted as stories and for the most part the question of whether or not they were factually true never entered the minds of most followers.

                      Modern fundamentalism is a reactionary movement that opposes any science that does not conform to outdated ideas about the world around them. As religion is a human creation, it should be in constant revision in light of new knowledge.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      We are both agreed on the modern form of fundamentalism.
                      And I agree also with your final sentence.

                      Like

                  • makagutu says:

                    Or how a Liberal jewry would excommunicate spinoza

                    Like

  9. keithnoback says:

    The divine motive would either be unfathomable or familiar. So, we would have to carry on as usual.
    P.S.: If you do meet Bacchus, don’t get too high with him and watch out for his girlfriends. I hear that they can get straight-up crazy.

    Like

  10. shelldigger says:

    I think my first inclination would be along the lines of “Ok, I have some questions asshole!”

    Like

  11. The atheistic existentialists see the idea of God as obsolete as an explanation of the way things are. in their view, to believe in God is to refuse to confront reality for what it is. To believe in a fairytale as a means of obscuring existential truth of the human condition.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. notabilia says:

    A fun question for some playing around, but let’s get serious – is there “free will” to any of our actions? If we “do any thing differently in our lives,” it’s because of, well, always a massive variety of factors. And this phantasm called “god” definitely ain’t one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      most of the people who comment here are freewill skeptics

      Like

      • notabilia says:

        Yes, i think you are right.
        Why do we “choose” to return here to your vaunted site so much?
        I would say a variety of factors “influence” us, the way all of our brains are subject to the rational presentations or appeals of others. You do the influencing, we are the influencees, simple as that,.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          we all meet here for the interesting discussions. for comradeship.
          there are people who have seen this blog grow from the beginning to this moment here. and to all of them and new visitors, i am always pleased to see them here

          Like

  13. rautakyy says:

    The question is absurd also because “atheists” would each and every one act differently depending on what their former experience in life is. There simply is no one atheist way of thinking. Being an atheist simply means we agree on the one thing, wich obviously would be proven not true if the condition of the question was fullfilled.

    If I became convinced, that a particular god concept is “real”, then my subsequent behaviour in respect to that god would depend on exactly what I would know about that god. I do not think my day to day life was altered very much. If the god was the immoral monster as described in the Bible for example (assuming that is the god the person poising the original question refers to) I certainly would not be very compelled to worship it. Especially, if I had good knowledge, that some of the thigs widely believed about the ability of said god are also true, such as it’s capacity to know, wether or not I am faking my love for it by attending ritual. Joining any service rituals would be totally pointless for me, because I could not find it in me to feel any emotional love or devotion for a character that sacrifices it’s son in agony for the “sins” committed by other people as a direct result of the design flaw in the creation of this god.

    Threats of violence (such as eternal agony in Hell) of course may be seen as appealing motivation, but it is strange and alien to me how they can ever motivate actual love. It seems to happen in abusive relationships and it seems to happen to people who are subject to some form of cultural indoctrination to accept the situation as normal, but however common it is, does not make it healthy or desirable to me. I would deem any such attempt to feel love for the threatening pary, as more likely to be a mere simulation of love, rather than actual love. Perhaps a god that demands love in return for salvation from violence does not care, about the authenticity of the emotion? Should I then abandon my own integrity to survive in the terrible game created by this monstrosity? There would be no way to fight it, would there? One of the angels alledgedly rebelled against this monster god knowing there would be consequences to be suffered. Sometimes we need to take a stand even against impossible odds to not make our own existance hell… “Sympathy for the Devil”.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Is there a god you would be compelled to worship if such an entity were to exist?
      I think I like this stand- sympathy for the devil

      Liked by 1 person

      • rautakyy says:

        Hahaha! I do not know of any I would like to spend/waste time worshipping, but I have sometimes said, that if I had to choose a god for myself it would propably be Turisas the ancient god of war of my people – Because, war is such an extreme situation, that if I ever found myself in it, that would be the time and place where some divine assistance might actually come in on handy, and because as the god of war of my very own people he would be strongly biased to help me and my people against any comers, and because I would prefer I was helped by a true professional and not some handyman jack of all trades.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          This has made my evening

          Like

          • rautakyy says:

            Thanks, I have to add, that for sure, if I were ever to start worshipping a god, I would definately not worship any gods that betrayed their very own son and put the son to pay horribly for mistakes of others (especially their own). Even more so, if the worshippers of such a god would boast this act of betrayal and transference of responsibility as somehow good in fear of etrenal torment and pain, for not accepting such a wrong as right.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Jiggerj says:

    Okay, If I discovered that a god exists, one that can cast me into hell for all eternity, I would be on my knees every day, 24 hours a day, praying and reading anything and everything about him I could get my hands on. Unlike most believers I wouldn’t just leave my eternity to chance. I wouldn’t be so ignorant as to think that whatever I’m doing in this life will good enough to somehow earn me a spot in heaven. This is one of the major reasons why I think most believers are a joke. They believe, but put no rational thought into any of it. Just flip a coin and hope it comes up heaven.

    Like

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