Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You'll believe it when you're irrational

I've had a few conversations with believers lately where I was told that perhaps my point of view on God might change if I undergo some sort of stressful, painful event in my life. I find this interesting for a couple of reasons.

The thing is, this very well may be true. Let's say something horrible would happen to me, and I'd get struck down with a debilitating illness. I just might start to crave the comfort that religious belief can offer. I may no longer care about things like empirical evidence and start to take things on a little faith. What's interesting about this is that it still has no bearing on whether God exists or not. Just because I'd be more inclinded to believe, that wouldn't suddenly poof him into existence. After all, maybe a painful experience might make me more vulnerable to Scientology - does that somehow validate their belief system?

Here's the thing about painful, traumatic moments: they tend to make one less rational. While I've never experienced what I'd call clinical depression, I was going through a tough time a couple of years ago. Basically, I was going through an incredibly self-critical phase of my life, where I felt pretty much worthless. And guess what? I was being completely irrational about things. I still have a tendency to beat myself up and put undo pressure on myself, but the only way that I can get out of that is by being rational, by taking a moment to really think about the reality of the situation. Sure, I suppose that I could have found comfort in the idea that there's a God who loves me whenever I make some sort of a mistake, but again, that wouldn't make him real now, would it?

Essentially, this argument is saying that the case for God becomes much better when you're in a state where you're less likely to be rational. Seems to me that if a God truly existed, you could find him through reason and evidence. (And yeah, I know that there are arguments that supposedly come from reason and evidence, but that's another blog post entirely now, isn't it?)

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