Friday, 7 January 2011

Do you really believe?

Imagine you have a blue pill and a red pill, and you must swallow one of them right now and not the other.
If you take the red pill, you will die immediately. If there is an afterlife, all your sins will be pardoned and you will spend eternity there. If there isn’t an afterlife, you will just be dead.

If you take the blue pill, you will live a long, happy, and fulfilling life on Earth. You won’t die early of illness or injury. You will be an asset to society. But if there is an afterlife, you will not partake in it when you die. When you die you will cease to exist, even if there is an afterlife for everyone else.

Which pill will you choose?

If you are a Christian would you really take the red pill in this situation? Do you really believe there is an afterlife?

Or would you take the blue pill?

I’ve wondered before whether Christians really believe all the stuff they claim to believe. Maybe they don’t really believe some of it, but rather have what Dan Dennett called “belief in belief.” Belief in belief refers to a situation in which someone claims to believe something, but this belief doesn’t actually fit with their behavior or determine their anticipated experiences. Instead, this “belief” appears to be more of a belief in belief: a belief that believing in the afterlife (or God, or whatever) is good, or that one ought to believe such things.

Christians: given the thought experiment above, do you really have a belief in the afterlife, or do you merely believe in belief when it comes to the idea of an afterlife?

(The analogy above brought to you by 4chan via Common Sense Atheism.)

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